There can be several reasons for control panel won’t open in windows. This post will tell you the different ways you can troubleshoot this issue.
It is core of many tools in Windows 10 or 8.1 or 7. Sometimes this control unit closes automatically while opening or working on some of its inner features. You can’t open sound item sometimes, which can hinder solving audio issues.
Sometimes, the .cpl files which are the core of the Control panel may get corrupted, computer may get infected with virus, start up program list may get corrupted, windows 10 software licensing service may not be running etc.
Before we find solutions to control panel problem in Windows 10 or 8.1 or 7, let’s see how to open it normally, when there is no problem. There are several ways in each OS. Some of the methods are simpler. Other are common to 10 or 8.1 or 7.
In my experience Windows 7 has the easiest of ways to launch control panel. This tool is readily visible in this OS. But in Windows 10 and 8.1, you have to dig deep sometimes to find it. Since 8.1 and 10 are using new interface, it is important you remember the name “control panel”.
This is because it is not directly visible anywhere in 8.1 and 10. But once you know it exists and type the first few words it readily opens. 10 is trying to replace the functionality of pc control panel with “Windows Settings” option.
How to Access Control Panel in Windows 7?
You can accomplish this task in different ways. If you don’t have any issue, these tips should easily open Control Panel without any trouble.
1. Open Start Menu and type “control panel” in the search box. This will display the item in Programs list. Click it to open.
2. One of the advantages with Windows 7, is that Control panel item is available directly in the Start Menu. You just have to click Start Menu and click it.
3. There is a little difficult way to access it. Click on “All Programs” and from the slide-in click on “System Tools” folder. Control Panel is one of the sub-category in it.
4. You can use the “Run” tool. Press Win + R and in the pop-up box, type “control panel”. Press Enter of OK. It should open.
5. One can launch control panel from cmd window. Whey you type “cmd” in the Run box, the Command Prompt will open. In the window, type the command “control panel”. It will open.
6. Task Manager is another way to open control panel. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys at the same time. If the Task Manager opens in compact mode, click on “More details” for full options. From File > Run new task. A new “Create new task” window will open. Type “control panel” and press OK.
7. Windows Explorer is another place to start Control Panel. Navigate to “Computer” and click on “Open Control Panel” item at the top of the window.
8. control.exe is the executable file for Control Panel. You can find it in C:\Windows\System32 sub folder. When you run that file, your control panel is accessible.
Windows 10 – How to Get Control Panel?
Some of the ways are similar to Windows 7 to find control panel in Windows 10.
1. One of the quickest ways to access Windows 10 control panel is to click the Start button and type the first few words of control panel. It will be available as a “Desktop app”. Click it and it will open.
2. Cortana is a voice-assistant in Windows 10. Click its icon and using voice search say “Hey Cortana”. It will get activated. Then say “Launch Control Panel”.
3. One of the difficult ways of finding Control panel in Windows 10 needs little scrolling. Press Start > Start Menu > Windows System. Under this, the control panel is available.
4. Similarly you can use the run window, cmd commands, task manager to launch control panel in Windows 10.
5. File Explorer also can be used to open control panel. You just type the first few words in the “search box” and it will open.
6. One of the new feature is Windows Settings. You can “find a setting” using the search box. When you type “control panel” it is listed as an app in the next screen. But this method is cumbersome.
Important Note : Before you get your issue resolved, create a system restore point so that you don’t corrupt your OS.
Fix #1: Run an Anti-Virus Scan
The Windows Defender present in 10, is a good anti-virus product developed by Microsoft. It is no less than other products and can detect any virus or trojans that may have corrupted your system. So as an initial defense, first run a full scan of your computer. If you find any malware remove them. This is the first major step you need to take if your control panel is not working. If this doesn’t work out, move to the next step.
Fix #2: Safe Mode or Clean Boot State
The easy solution for many Windows problems is running your computer in safe mode. In the same fashion, if you run your PC in safe mode and if the Control panel is working, then it should resolve itself. If that doesn’t work out try the next step.
Fix #3: Check IDTN64.cpl and sttray64 files
The most common cause for this issue, is that one of the system files may get corrupted.
Navigate to C:\Windows\System32 and you will find the IDTN64.cpl.
Also in <OS Drive :>\Windows you can reach the sttray64 file. (most probably on a 64bit computer).
If its a 32 bit file, you will find a similar file.
Delete them and restart Control Panel and see if the problem is resolved.
Fix #4: Registry Fix
Before applying this fix, you take a backup of the registry.
Find the following registry entry, by typing regedit in the Run box.
Delete the following entries – BagMRU and Bags folders.
Restart your computer and start Control panel to see if this fixes the issue.
Fix #5 : Use sfc command to scan your PC
Some times your system files may get corrupt. You don’t know which system file is causing the Control panel issue. It’s better to check them all and rectify the incorrect one. In elevated command prompt, you can apply the following command.
This will scan the system files and correct them also.
Fix #6: Use Microsoft Tool
The following is the link to the fix it tool available under Microsoft downloads.
Download it and run the file.
This will scan the computer and the utility will fix any issues with control panel. It works with Windows 10 too.
I recommend this tool as it is by Microsoft themselves and is the easiest way to rectify the problem.
Fix #7: Resolution Scaling can cause Problems
Sometimes the strangest of reasons can cause this issue. For example, based upon your monitor size like 15″, 21″ etc, you may adjust your scaling to 150% or 100%. This is completely different from resolution. It can be done in the following way in Windows 10.
Start > type ‘Change the size of apps on the screen’ and double click on the first result. Go to Custom scaling and change the value back to 100%.
This can resolve the problem in Windows 10 where text, apps scaling is one of the provided features.
Fix #8: Clean Installation of Windows 10
The last resort, if you risk wasting some time is to completely do a fresh installation of Windows 10 again. This is because, the control panel not working in Windows 10 mainly occurs for the reason when you upgrade from 7, 8, 8.1 to 10. So if you a completely new install of Windows 10, any remnants of old OS files will be removed and will work for 100%.