Interface Technical Training

Control Panel Command Line Tools

While looking up some modifications to command lines tools, specifically those associated with launching control panel applets, I came across a couple of comprehensive or well written websites.  I bookmarked then as future resources and believe you might find them useful as well.

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The first is a comparison of XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 control panel tools compiled by Tim Fisher. Tim’s list is comprehensive, though incomplete.

Rick Trader is updating a blog to support access to (forgotten) administrative passwords when rebuilding or resetting a system. Expanding the list of tools he reviewed, you also need to consider:

Nusrmgr.cpl On XP for access to control panel User Accounts
Control nsusrmgr.cpl For accessing User Accounts on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1
Lusrmgr.msc Local users and groups on Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1
Netplwiz From the search line for Local User Account management and password reset

How-to-Geek also reminds us about the hidden User Accounts Utility – Userpasswords2 that enables additional administrative capabilities for account management. You launch Userpasswords2 by typing Control Userpasswords2 in an elevated command prompt window. The How-To Geek article also references hacks for adding the tool to Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7 Control panels.

Darrill Gibson, author of Windows 7 Portable Command Guide: MCTS 70-680, 70-685 and 70-686 wrote an abbreviated overview that might assist with launching control panel applets from an elevated command prompt.  The value of Darrill’s article and book is their focus on some of the command line tools that you need to know to pass the Windows 7 MCTS/MCITP exams.

The list of Control Panel command line tools that I provide as a supplemental handout for my A+ students follows.  While far from comprehensive, it provides sufficient information to assist students through the current CompTIA 220-801 and 220-802 exams.

Control Panel Applications from Command Line

You can access these applets by hitting the Windows Key+R and typing Control and the app that you want. Example:  control hdwwiz.cpl

(Note: Windows Key +R is the RUN command)

Control Panel T ool Command
Accessibility Options control access.cpl
Add New Hardware control sysdm.cpl add new hardware
Add/Remove Programs control appwiz.cpl
Date/Time Properties control timedate.cpl
Display Properties control desk.cpl
FindFast control findfast.cpl
Fonts Folder control fonts
Internet Properties control inetcpl.cpl
Joystick Properties control joy.cpl
Keyboard Properties control main.cpl keyboard
Microsoft Exchangeor Windows Messaging control mlcfg32.cpl
Microsoft Mail Post Office control wgpocpl.cpl
Modem Properties control modem.cpl
Mouse Properties control main.cpl
Multimedia Properties control mmsys.cpl
Network Properties control netcpl.cplNOTE: In Windows NT 4.0, Networkproperties is Ncpa.cpl, not Netcpl.cpl
Password Properties control password.cpl
PC Card control main.cpl pc card (PCMCIA)
Power Management (Windows 95) control main.cpl power
Power Management (Windows 98) control powercfg.cpl
Printers Folder control printers
Regional Settings control intl.cpl
Scanners and Cameras control sticpl.cpl
Sound Properties control mmsys.cpl sounds
System Properties control sysdm.cpl


Microsoft also provides several platform specific resources, including.

Remember that many control panel applets are considered features in Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1.  You may not find or be able to use the corresponding .cpl file until or unless you enable the feature by Turning Windows Features On or Off through the control panel.  You may also enable Windows 7 or Windows 8 Control Panel features from the Command line tool using DISM.

Don’t forget to consider PowerShell tools Show-ControlPanelItem and Get-ControlPanelItem to manage many of your control panel features and their settings.  These cmdlets are new to PowerShell 3.0.   There are a wealth of articles guiding the use of the new cmdlets, including an article with screen shots by Aman Dhally that ventures a little further than mentioning their use.

You should now be able to start your explorations.

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom, or online!

Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

Steve teaches PMP: Project Management Fundamentals and Professional Certification, Windows 10Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and CompTIA classes in Phoenix, Arizona.