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Create Your Own Super Control Panel

The Control Panel is a "system folder", which means that although it looks and behaves like a normal folder, it doesn't exist as a folder. The Control Panel utilities are not actually in a single folder on your hard drive. This makes it impossible to customize the Control Panel the way you want.

The goal of Microsoft with Windows XP was not to release a legitimate upgrade, but instead to implement its abusive product activation scheme. Windows XP is really just a glorified visual appearance change and rearrangement of the interface.

Windows XP Control Panel

One of the things they rearranged was the Control Panel, placing the Control Panel utilities in arbitrary categories that make it more difficult to find the one you need. They provided the option to switch back to the Control Panel, but we can do better.

The problem with the old Control Panel is that there are too many unnecessary utilities that we never use. If we locate the utility we need, we still have to figure out which tab contains the control we need. Let's design our own Super Control Panel that contains only the utilities we need, identifies them logically, and takes us directly to the tab we need.

First, create a new folder anywhere on your hard drive and name it "Super Control Panel" or whatever you please. Drag-and-drop the folder on the [Start] button. This creates a Start menu icon for the folder. Next, open the folder and add shortcuts to the Control Panel utilities you might actually use.

For example, I frequently use the "Display" utility to increase my display resolution so that I can "screen capture" a large image. Then, I decrease it back to the lower resolution so I can read text more easily. Therefore, in my "Super Control Panel" I will create a shortcut to the "Display" utility's "Settings" tab. I'll step you though this first one to demonstrate how easy it is.

Select Start | Super Control Panel (or whatever name you used). Right-click inside the folder and in the popup menu that appears select New | Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut dialog box that appears, in the Type the location of the item: text box, enter: control.exe desk.cpl ,4

Create Shortcut dialog box

The space before the common is required. This command line executes control.exe to open the Display utility. The number 4 causes it to open to tab number 4. The tabs in a Control Panel utility dialog box are numbered from left to right starting with 0.

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