How to use Windows Control Panel utilities

Before one decide to start using a particular operating system and especially the windows operating system, one should be conversant with some of the most common control panel utilities that are available. The control panel is like the right arm of the computer, and it happens that most of the tests can be checked with the help of it. So, it is something which can allow someone to access pretty much of many things like the new drivers, the uninstallation of the programs, the windows firewall etc. Some of the characteristics are as follows;

Common to all Microsoft Operating Systems

Some of the control panel utilities are standard for the windows operating system and hence one must be familiar with them so as to be in a position to manoeuvre around them when using the windows OS.

Internet options


Connections tab is an area where one can get VPN information if one is making any communication to the internet via a private network. In the connections tab, one can also set one's proxy settings if one uses it as an intermediary between the internet and one.


The security tab gives one the option to determine what will be used by one's browser depending on one's location. For instance, one can use this tab to prevent a download when in a public network and probably allow one when in a private or home network.


One utility present in the control panel is the general tab. This is an option that gives one the capability to make customizations on one's browsing. Through this tab, one can set one's homepage or even specify how tabs on one's browser will be displayed and outlined.


Just as the name suggests, this is a tab that gives one the mandate to make configurations on one's personal information and how it can be stored during one's browsing sessions. Through this, one can make cookie information configurations by either enabling them or disabling them, blocking pop-ups and adds and configure one's In Private browsing.


Another tab present is the programs tab. It is with the presence of this tab that one makes default configurations inside one's browser. This is possible only after clicking an email address in one's browser and the email client starts.


The advanced section of this is quite sophisticated since it gives room for one to access highly detailed internet browsing configurations. For instance, enabling or disabling JavaScript can be done in this tab

Display/Display Settings

The display settings option is one that is common to almost all windows operating systems. With this option, one is able to make configurations to the view and display settings connected to one's pc.


The resolution option is quite important especially when it comes to the case of LCD monitors since they bear some kinds of displays having native resolution to provide the best display. It is with this option that one can set the resolutions so as to have a crisp and clear display.

Text Size

The text size option allows one to make one's screen's text smaller or larger without making alterations on one's system's default resolution. This is basically a modification of one's screen's text.

User accounts

User accounts are also another option in the control panel. User accounts are basically used as system login tools when the Windows starts up. Such accounts are of different kinds. There are those stored on individual devices; that are local accounts and domain accounts which are managed centrally from servers. The user accounts options allow one to make configurations such as account name and type. Password modification is also possible inside this utility. One can also set a particular picture for a particular user account. In this option, one can also make settings for certificate information. This means that one can set each user to have different certificates such as information encryption. If another user wants to do the same, he or she cannot because of the lack of certifications.

Folder options

The folder options in the control panel give the user the mandate to carry out any file management activities. Through this option, one can make customizations of what is viewed in the Windows Explorer.

View Hidden Files:

These files are basically hidden so that only a few people can access them. These files can be made visible by clicking at the folder options.

Hide Extensions:

One must know that the Hiding extensions help one getting rid of some extra details which are shown.

General options

This is an option that is far much generalized and could entail making some clear definitions about the manner in which a folder opens the working of a single click and working of the navigation pane.

View options

The view option gives one the ability to have granular control on the items one view in Windows Explorer. There is also a reset button that one can use to restore everything to default in case what one see in the Windows Explorer does not meet one's expectations.


At times, one may require knowing some information about one's computer's hardware, the memory, the processor and windows version. All this information can be obtained from the System option. Here, one can learn a lot ranging from the operating system version, the installed service pack, system ratings among many others.

Performance (virtual memory)

The system performance is normally evaluated and gotten through the performance index. With this index, one can easily determine one's machine's level of performance.

System protection

System protection option gives detailed information about the anti-virus and anti-spyware programs available. It runs automatic computer scans after a specific time interval to check for viruses.

Remote Settings:

It can happen that the computer can be accesses through another computer which is located at some other place. This is basically done through the remote settings.

Windows firewall

The windows firewall is a feature common to all windows operating systems. This is an option that offers some protection from illegal access of one's computer especially if it is via a network. This basically acts as some form of security from unknown external attacks.

Power options

The power options section is one that gives one the ability to carry out power management activities. Through this option, one can customize various computer aspects such as display so as to minimize power consumption. One can also configure power settings for storage, display and power consumption so as to extend the battery life.


Hibernate is an example of a power plan option that allows one to save one's current running session and turn the computer off. On turning it on, the saved session restores.

Power plans

Power plans are special types of configurations that one comes up with. These are made from one's individual choices and preferences. One can come up with one of one's own based on one's personal settings. For instance, one can chose one's screen brightness to be 50% all the time whether plugged in or running on battery.


The sleep option is one that allows one to keep one's computer in a low power consumption state keeping all one's running sessions in memory for easy resumption.


The standby option is one that keeps the computer in an active state even when it is not being used. During standby, it does not go off but the monitor might go off.

Unique to Windows XP:

Here are the features which are unique to windows XP;

Add/remove programs

The add/remove programs option gives one the ability to either remove or uninstall a program from one's computer. In this option, one can also make changes to a particular program as per required.

Network connections

This option allows one to manage and make configurations to all networks to which one's computer is connected be it wireless or local area networks. One can also view all the networks available. This option also contains an advanced option where one can view all types of network adapters installed in one's computer. One can also use this option to troubleshoot problems with one's network connections.

Printers and faxes

In case of the need to connect one's computer to a printer or fax, this is the option to use so as to make any necessary configurations and customizations. Here, one can view a list of all printers and faxes to which one's computer is connected to.

Automatic updates

The automatic updates section is quite important when it comes to updating one's windows operating system. With the highly recommended option being one to allow automatic downloading and installation of updates, one can always change this setting to one's preferred option. This makes it easier for one to manage all one's operating system updates.

Network setup wizard

The network setup wizard gives one the ability to make some network configurations and customizations. One can use this option if one wants to come up with a new network configuration. One can also configure internet connectivity sharing.

Unique to Vista

Tablet PC settings

The tablet pc settings are one that is very unique with Windows Vista and one that is specialized for tablet PC users. This is a setting that can offer recognition of one's handwriting and offer the ability to enable or disable certain capabilities. With this option, one can make configurations to the display orientation.

Pen and input devices

With this option at hand, one has the capability of configuring the options in a pen and other input devices such as the stylus. One can use this option to make a clear definition, configuration and customization of what happens with the input devices. This option enables one to configure one's stylus pen settings

Offline files

The offline files option is another magnificent option that is unique with windows vista. This option gives one the ability to work on files that are stored in a network file server even when not in the network. Through this option, one is able to have one's files available to one even when in offline mode. After reconnection with the network, some synchronization will occur so as to make sure that the recent version is readily available. This is an option that one can choose to enable or disable using this offline file utility. One can also decide to put some security on the files especially if one is moving around with them by setting up some encryption.

Problem reports and solutions

This is an option that allows one to communicate with the operating system developers concerning issues about the operating system. This is mainly the case if one is a new user of the Windows Vista and one is not familiar with the available troubleshooting tools. With the option to communicate to the Microsoft developers, one can receive a response giving the solution to the particular problem one is facing. The problem is automatically fixed by the developers.


The printers' option is a special type of central console that enables one to manage and control all the printers connected to one's machine. Such management activities include commencing printer jobs, pausing printer jobs or deleting jobs. In this option, one can also adjust the configurations made on the printer properties.

Unique to Windows 7

There are some control panel options that one will hardly trace in another version of windows such as Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Home Group

The home group option is one that is not available in Windows XP and Windows Vista. This is an option that allows one to share information with another computer. With this option, one can allow other people to gain access to one's documents, files and pictures. One's home group must be password protected so as to avoid illegal access although one can share the password with people whom one have granted permission to access the files in one's computer.

Action Centre

The action centre is a form of utility that consolidates all important notifications for one's computer. With this option, one is able to view things such as security and maintenance updates that help keep one's system safe.

Security Centre

The security centre option gives one the detailed information about the security state of one's computer, information on anti-spyware and anti-viruses. One can also check if all security updates are installed properly.

Remote Applications and Desktop Connections

This is a control panel option that allows one to manage applications for many people in a network. It helps one to come up with some specific centralization of the applications.


Another important option in Windows amd is the troubleshooting option. This is an option that gives room for one to carry out various system diagnoses for both hardware and software components. It also helps one to identify various problems in one's computer system. From this option, one can pick on the specific aspect to carry out some troubleshooting such as network, hardware, display, sound among many others.

Basically, control panel utilities are a very important aspect of the operating system. This is due to the fact that they provide most of the information required for proper understanding of the computer system. Hence one should go through all of the information so that he can know how to configure the things which are done through control panels.


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