How to Find the Real Control Panel in Windows 8.1 - dummies

How to Find the Real Control Panel in Windows 8.1

By Woody Leonhard

Over on the tiled Metro side of the Windows 8.1 fence, people seem to get to either the Settings panel or the Change Settings (sometimes called PC Settings) screen and figure they’re in the Control Panel.

That’s a bit like getting off a plane in a Rome airport and thinking you’re in the Sistine Chapel. The Control Panel, which lives on the desktop side of Windows 8.1, isn’t nearly as pretty as its stunted tiled-side wannabes — and it has many more nooks and crannies.

Among the dozens of ways to bring up the Control Panel in its understated glory, use one of two methods:

  • With your fingers, switch to the desktop by tapping the Desktop tile on the Start screen. Then swipe from the right to bring up the Charms bar. Tap the Settings charm and then at the top, tap the Control Panel entry.

  • With a mouse, right-click the Start screen in the lower-left corner of the screen and choose Control Panel. Yep, that works on both the new tiled Metro Start screen and on the old-fashioned desktop — although on the Metro Start screen you have to hover for a few seconds for the Start screen to appear.


The real Control Panel looks like that shown. If you don’t see a window sitting on the desktop, filled with icons and a decidedly touch-unfriendly network of tiny hot links, you haven’t found the Holy Grail. Try again, pilgrim.