Section 1.1. Controlling the Interface

This chapter doesn't cover only the building blocks of the interface, it also covers all the elements of the interface itselfincluding all the applets, controls, and features that make up the interface and let you customize it, such as the Control Panel, Windows Aero, the Windows Sidebar, and Gadgets. In addition, it discusses how to personalize your Desktop, the Taskbar, and the System Tray. Windows Vista offers a richer visual experience than previous versions of Windows, and its interface is far more open to customizing and tweaking. This chapter will show you all the ways you can control Windows Vista to your heart's contenteverything from customizing the transparency of windows to changing the system font size to displaying Gadgets, and more.

In this chapter, you will see some steps listed in brackets, as in Control Panel [Appearance and Personalization] Personalization. If you are using Control Panel categories, include the step in brackets; if you have categories turned off, ignore the bracketed step. For more information on categories, see the "Control Panel" section, later in this chapter.

Here is an alphabetical reference of entries in this chapter:

Address Bar

Font Viewer


Bread Crumbs

Fonts Folder

Shut Down



Start Menu

Change Your Color Scheme


Start Search


Input Fields

Status Bar



System Tray

Combo Boxes


Tabbed Dialogs


Live Taskbar Thumbnails


Context Menus

Log Off

Taskbar and Start Menu Properties

Control Menus


Text Boxes

Control Panel


Theme Settings

Date and Time Properties

Notification Area

Title Bars




Desktop Background

Progress Indicators


Desktop Icons




Radio Buttons

Turn Off Computer

Dialog Boxes

Recycle Bin

User Account Control Buttons

Display Settings

Regional and Language Options


Drop-Down Listboxes

Screen Saver

Windows Aero

Ease of Access Center

Scroll Bars

Windows Flip and Windows Flip 3D

File Open/Save Dialogs

Send To

Windows Sidebar and Gadgets

Address Bar

The Address Bar (see Figure 3-4) is a special toolbar with an input field and (optionally) an arrow. It appears in Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, and, if you've right-clicked on the Taskbar and selected Address from the Toolbars menu, on the Taskbar. When you type an Internet address, the name of a program, or the path of a folder, and then press Enter, the Address Bar will respond in one of many ways, depending on its location and your system's settings.

Figure 3-4. The Address Bar, shown here on the Windows Taskbar

Although the Address Bar's main purpose is to make it easy to type in a web address and point your browser to that address, or to navigate through folders on your hard disk, you also can use it to type a command or application to launch, just like typing it into the Start Search box on the Start menu or the command line. This means that you can easily choose between point-and-click and command-line operationswhichever is easier for completing a given task.

One major difference between the Start Search box and the Address Bar is how they treat an unknown address or command. The Address Bar in Internet Explorer assumes that any unknown text string is a web search. So, for example, typing oreilly in the Address Bar will launch an Internet search, using your default search engine. In Windows Explorer, if you type in a text string, the Address Bar appends an http:// in front of it, and a / to the back of it. So typing will bring you to, which is a legitimate web address, but typing oreilly will bring you to http://oreilly/, which is not a legitimate web address and will display an error message.

If you type the same string at the Start Search box, you'll get a list of all documents, files, and folders that include oreilly in them, as well as any web sites you've visited with that word in them. You can, however, also use the Start Search box to search the Web. Type in the term and select Search the Internet, and it will perform an Internet search, using your default search engine.

If you type text, such as oreilly, and press Ctrl-Enter, an http://www.*.com will be added to the address so that you can quickly go to the web site.

The Address Bar features a drop-down list containing the history of all recently entered URLs and command lines. Click the down arrow at the far right of the Address Bar for the list. Pick an item from the drop-down list to re-execute the command or revisit the specified web site.

Although it is useful for running command-line programs, the Address Bar does have one drawback when you use it in this fashion. When you issue a command, the command opens in a new window. Once the command has finished, that window closes instantly. If you are issuing a command that does not normally leave the window open, but you need to see a response (such as ping or dir), you'll have to have very fast eyes. For these types of commands, you're better off using the command prompt.

There is a workaround if you want to use the Address Bar for running command-line programs: prefix the command with cmd /kfor example, cmd /k ping

Bread Crumbs

Windows Explorer now includes bread crumb navigation along the top, which shows you the complete path to your current location, as shown in Figure 3-5. Click on any spot back along the path, and you'll navigate directly there. Click the arrow next to any spot on the path, and you'll see a drop-down list of all the subfolders under that location.

Figure 3-5. Bread crumb navigation

See also

"Address Bar"


Just click a button to make it do what its label says. In Figure 3-6, the Browse button is typically used to display a file dialog box. When you choose a file and click OK, the name and location (also known as the path) of the file are automatically entered into the text field. This synergy of controls is common, saves typing, and prevents typos. Some applications place a small folder icon next to a text field rather than the full-size text field, but the usage is the same.

Figure 3-6. The Browse button marked with ellipses ( . . . ), implying that another window will appear when it is clicked

If the button has the focus, press the Space bar, press Enter, or click the button with the mouse to activate it. In dialogs with more than one button, often one of them has a color that fades in and out (usually the OK button)this is the "default" button and you can activate it by pressing Enter, regardless of which control has the focus. Similarly, there is usually a cancel button (typically labeled "Cancel") that responds to the Esc key but has no visual distinction. If in doubt, use Tab to cycle through the buttons and then press the Space bar.

Some button behavior is different in Windows Vista than in earlier versions of Windowsnotably, that the default button is highlighted in a color that fades in and out.

Following is a more detailed explanation of buttons and their uses:

Toggle buttons

Some buttons, typically custom controls or buttons on toolbars, are used to change a setting and will simply stay pushed in until you click them a second time. There's no rule that makes these buttons look different from standard buttons, so you'll have to rely on experience to determine which are "toggles." For example, the B and I buttons (corresponding to bold and italic, respectively) commonly found on word processor toolbars are toggles, but the Save and Print buttons are traditional buttons, and you use them to carry out a command rather than to change a setting.

The default button

When a set of buttons is displayedtypically at the bottom of a dialog boxone button will be the "default," meaning that it will be the one activated by the Enter key. Its color will be highlighted and will fade in and out (do not confuse this with the dotted rectangle signifying the focus, discussed at the beginning of this chapter). Not all dialog boxes have a default button, but when it's there, it's usually the OK button.

The Cancel button

Much like the default button, a single button is often set as the Cancel button, meaning that it will be activated when the Esc key is pressed (regardless of which control has the focus). The Cancel button has no visual distinction from any other buttons.

OK, Cancel, Apply

Most dialogs will have at least an OK and a Cancel button, and many also have an Apply button. Typically, OK is the "default button" and Cancel is the "cancel button." Both the OK and Apply buttons accept whatever settings you've entered, but the OK button closes the window and Apply leaves it open, allowing you to make more changes. Finally, Cancel closes the window without applying your settings.

What may be confusing is what happens when you click Apply and then Cancel. The assumption is that the settings that were "applied" are not lost; instead, any that were made after you clicked Apply are ignored. Theoretically, the behavior should be the same as though you clicked OK, then reopened the dialog, and then clicked Cancel. But don't be surprised if some applications respond differently; Microsoft has never been clear with application developers about the expected behavior in this situation.

Change Your Color Scheme

Change the color and "glassiness" of windows, the Start menu, and the Taskbar.

To open

Control Panel [Appearance and Personalization] Personalization Window Color and Appearance

Right-click the Desktop and choose Personalize Window Color and Appearance


One of the most notable changes in Windows Vista compared to earlier versions of Windows is its transparent windows, courtesy of Windows Aero. You can change their colors and transparency from the Window Color and Appearance page, shown in Figure 3-7.

Figure 3-7. The Window Color and Appearance page, where you can customize Windows Aero's transparency and colors

Click a color to choose a new color. If you want to further customize the colors, click "Show color mixer," and controls will let you choose the precise colors of your windows. To change the transparency of windows, use the Color intensity slider. Move the slider to the left to make windows more transparent and to the right to make them less transparent. To change the colors and fonts of all screen elements in pretty much any way you'd like, click "Open classic appearance properties for more color options," and you'll open a dialog box from Windows Vista that lets you customize all elements of your screen.

If you aren't using Windows Aero, choosing Window Color and Appearance leads you to a different screenAppearance Settings, a holdover from Windows XP that lets you choose a color scheme but doesn't let you set the transparency of windows.


Checkboxes are generally used for on/off settings. A checkmark means the setting is on; an empty box means it's off. Click on the box to turn the labeled setting on or off.

In some instances, instead of a checkmark in the box, the box will be a solid blue. This means that the value is neither on nor off. Here's an example: select some files in Explorer or on your Desktop, right-click on one of them, select Properties, and you'll get a dialog similar to Figure 3-8. The checkmark is missing for the Hidden attributes, but the box is a solid blue for the Read-Only attribute because some of the selected files have it enabled, and others don't.

Figure 3-8. Checkboxes, for turning settings on or off


A shared, system-wide storage area for temporarily holding and moving data.

To open

Edit Cut (Ctrl-X)

Edit Copy (Ctrl-C)

Edit Paste (Ctrl-V)


The Clipboard is an invisible portion of memory, used to temporarily hold data as it's moved or copied from one application to another. Although you will never "see" the Clipboard, it's used every time you cut, copy, or paste something.

Using the Clipboard is easy. Select a portion of text in your word processor, an image in your graphics program, or a file in Explorer, and then select Cut from the Edit menu; the selected object(s) will disappear and be stored in the Clipboard. (Use Copy instead of Cut if you don't want the original data erased.) Then, move to another location and select Paste from the Edit menu to place a copy of the object on the Clipboard in that location. You can paste the data as many times as you like.

If you use Microsoft Office, don't confuse the Windows Clipboard with the Office Clipboard. The Office Clipboard springs into action and pops up on the right side of your screen at apparently random times, but there is some method to the madness. If you copy or cut two different items consecutively in the same program; or copy an item, paste the item, and then copy another item in the same program; or copy one item twice in succession, the Office Clipboard will annoyingly appear on-screen. But there is no relationship between the Office Clipboard and the Windows Clipboard.


  • The Clipboard works like the penalty box in hockey; it holds only one item at a time. If you place new data in the Clipboard, its previous contents are erased. If you never got around to pasting the previous data, it's lost for good. However, you may be able to switch back to the program that you cut from and select Undo (Ctrl-Z) to get it back.

  • You can paste only data that an application is prepared to receive. For example, you cannot paste an image into some applications that recognize only text (such as the Command Prompt or Notepad).

  • Even without an Edit menu, you can usually still access the Clipboard using either keyboard shortcuts or the right mouse button. For example, web browsers have a Copy command in the Edit menu, but this command is used only for copying portions of the currently displayed web page to the Clipboard. To cut, copy, or paste text in the Address Bar, just right-click on the text or use Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, or Ctrl-V.

  • See Chapter 14 for help with copying and pasting data with the Command Prompt window.

  • The keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V) may not be intuitive at first, but when you consider that they appear together on the keyboard and are located very close to the Ctrl key, the decision to use these keys becomes clear. As a holdover from earlier versions of Windows, you also can use Shift-Delete, Ctrl-Ins, and Shift-Ins for Cut, Copy, and Paste, respectively.

  • A variation on the Clipboard theme is the Snipping Tool utility. It's a clever new Windows Vista applet that lets you copy any portion of any screen, annotate it, and then send it via email, copy it to the Clipboard as a graphic, or save it as an HTML or graphics file. It's a great way to capture and annotate screenshots, or information or graphics you find on the Web, and then share them with others. For details, see "Snipping Tool," in Chapter 12.

Combo Boxes

See "Listboxes," later in this chapter.


In Vista, the Computer icon in Windows Explorer and the Computer link on the Start menu have replaced the My Computer icon used in Windows XP. It is solely a navigational icon and has no program associated with it. Right-click it and choose Properties, and you'll open the System Control Panel applet. (You can also get to the applet by choosing Control Panel System and Maintenance System.) This applet, shown in Figure 3-9, shows you basic information about your system and includes links to many other applets, controls, and menus that let you customize the use of your computer.

Figure 3-9. The System Control Panel applet


  • Double-click the Computer icon to open Windows Explorer at the topmost levelat your computer, with all its drives listed beneath it.

Context Menus

In Figure 3-10, I've right-clicked on the Recycle Bin icon to display its context menu, which is a list of special actions or commands that affect only that object. The idea is that the options available for any given object in Windows depend upon the context, the set of circumstances under which you're operating. The Empty Recycle Bin option is shown here, because it is relevant to the context of the Recycle Bin. (If the Recycle Bin were empty, the option would be grayed out [disabled].) Nearly all objects in Windows have their own context menus, which are almost always accessible with the right mouse button. See "Windows Explorer," in Chapter 4, for details on customizing the context menus for your files, folders, and certain Desktop items, and see Chapter 12 for details on the way Windows stores file type information.

Figure 3-10. The Recycle Bin's context menu

When a file or other object is selected (highlighted), press Shift-F10 to display the context menu. If you have a special Windows keyboard, there is a special key for this purpose, usually located to the right of the Space bar. The most frequently used item in most context menus is Properties, which you can access quickly by pressing Alt-Enter. Other shortcuts for context menu items include the Delete key, F2, Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, and Ctrl-V for Delete, Rename, Cut, Copy, and Paste, respectively.


  • The bold item (usually, but not always, at the top of any given context menu) is the default action, carried out when you double-click.

  • Most new keyboards also include a context key (which looks like a menu with a pointer on it) that will open the context menu of any selected item.

  • Context menus exist for all major interface elementsfiles, folders (including system folders such as the Recycle Bin), the Desktop, the Taskbar, the System Tray, and so onbut they often also exist for elements within an application window or dialog. If you're ever stuck, try right-clicking on a user-interface element and see whether anything helpful pops up.

  • In other cases, the context menu is quite extensive. For example, right-clicking on the files on your Desktop (or even on an empty area of the Desktop) provides access to the features that would otherwise be unavailable due to the absence of a standard menu. Of particular use is the New entry, which allows you to create a new folder, shortcut, or empty file of certain types (a text document, compressed folder, Office document, and more).

  • Right-clicking on the title bar or the Taskbar button for an open application displays the context menu for the window, commonly known as the Control menu, which is also accessible by clicking on the upper-left icon or upper-left corner (see "Windows," later in this chapter). Oddly enough, some windows don't have an icon, but you can still click there. Right-clicking in the body of the window gives you the context menu for the application or the selected element within the application, if one exists. Note that this is different from the context menu that you get by clicking on the program's shortcut icon when it is not running.

  • See "Send To," later in this chapter, for details on the Send To command found in the context menu for files and folders.

Control Menus

See "Windows," later in this chapter.

Control Panel: \windows\system32\control.exe

The central interface for most of the preferences, hardware configurations, and other settings in Windows Vista.

To open

Start Control Panel

Windows Explorer navigate to the Desktop\Control Panel folder (it's not available in the \Users\username\Desktop folder, however)

Search box or Command Prompt Control

Search box or Command Prompt filename.cpl


control [filename.cpl] [applet_name]
control [keyword]


The Control Panel has no settings of its own; it's merely a container for any number of option windows (commonly called applets or Control Panel extensions), most of which you can access without even opening the Control Panel folder. Unfortunately, the Control Panel can look vastly different from one computer to another, based on preferences scattered throughout several dialog boxes. Furthermore, the default settings vary, depending on how Windows Vista was installed (see Figure 3-11). To simplify notation in this book, I'm making certain assumptions about your preferences. It's best to familiarize yourself with the various options described here so that you won't be confused when a setting in the Control Panel is referenced.

Figure 3-11. The normal view of the Control Panel

The Control Panel has two views: the normal view and the "Classic" view. In the normal view, you see major categories and click through to subcategories until you find the setting or applet you're looking for. Windows Vista changes Control Panel behavior to a certain extent compared to Windows XP, because even at the category level, there are applets you can click without having to drill down. The Classic view, by way of contrast, presents a simple, alphabetical listing of all Control Panel applets. Figure 3-11 shows the normal view, and Figure 3-12 shows the Classic view. To switch from the normal view to the Classic view, click the Classic View link. To switch from the Classic View to the normal view, click Control Panel Home.

Figure 3-12. The Classic view of the Control Panel

There are several different ways to access the Control Panel and its contents:

Start menu

The way the Control Panel appears in the Start menu depends on several different settings, resulting in no fewer than five different possibilities.

If you're using the normal Vista Start menu, right-click on the Start button and select Properties. On the Start Menu tab, make sure that Start Menu is selected (if you've got Classic Start Menu selected, skip ahead a couple of paragraphs), then click Customize next to Start Menu. In the Control Panel area, there are three possibilities for display of the Control Panel. "Display as a link" opens the normal Control Panel when clicked. If you choose "Display as a menu," a right arrow will appear next to the Control Panel on the Start menu; click the arrow, and a list of all Control Panel applets appears as a menu. "Don't display this item" hides it on the Start menu altogether.

If enabled, the Control Panel entry appears in the second column in the Start menu. Figure 3-13 shows the normal view, and Figure 3-14 shows it as a cascading menu.

Figure 3-13. The Control Panel displayed in the normal view

Figure 3-14. The Control Panel displayed as a cascading menu

If you're using the Classic Start menu, get to the Control Panel by selecting Start Settings Control Panel. The Control Panel will then appear in Classic View. You can instead have a cascading menu appear, with a list of all applets, when you select Start Settings Control Panel. To do this, when you're using the Classic Start menu, right-click on the Start button and select Properties. On the Start Menu tab, make sure that Classic Start Menu is selected, then click Customize next to Classic Start Menu. In the Advanced Start Menu options area, check the box next to Expand Control Panel. Then click OK, and click OK again.


The Control Panel appears as another folder under the Desktop branch. Double-click the folder to display the Control Panel.

Command prompt

At any command prompt or the Start menu's Search box, type control to open the Control Panel. See the upcoming "Command-line usage" section for information on opening specific Control Panel applets from the command prompt.


In addition to accessing a particular entry by first opening the Control Panel, it's possible to open a specific applet directly, either with a standard Windows shortcut or with one of the many links built into the Windows interface. For example, Folder Options is also available in the Organize menu of Windows Explorer, and Internet Options is available in the Tools menu of Internet Explorer. To create a standard Windows shortcut to a Control Panel applet, simply drag the desired icon from the Control Panel folder onto your Desktop or into any folder. Then double-click the icon to open the applet, skipping the Control Panel folder altogether.

Categories and navigation

The contents of the Control Panel are divided into discrete categories (System and Maintenance; User Accounts and Family Safety; Network and Internet; and so on). Click a category and you'll come to a group of subcategories. For example, click Appearance and Personalization, and you'll come to subcategories including Personalization, Taskbar and Start Menu, and Ease of Access Center, among others. Click any subcategory to either accomplish a task or see a list of applets.

As you navigate up and down through categories and subcategories in the Control Panel, the bread crumbs at the top of the Control Panel show where you are, including your complete path. You can jump anywhere back along that path by clicking it in the bread crumb. For example, if you're in the Personalization section, you'll see the bread crumb path of Control Panel Appearance and Personalization Personalization. To jump back to Appearance and Personalization, click it in the bread crumb trail; to jump to the top of the Control Panel, click it in the bread crumb trail. You can also use the arrow keys to the left of the bread crumbs to move backward and forward in the same way you can use them in Internet Explorer.

Once you move down into the category level in the Control Panel, you'll find links to all Control Panel categories on the lefthand side of each Control Panel window.

In addition to containing the icons for most of the standard Control Panel applets, the categories have additional links based on the task to be performed. Essentially, these links point to the same icons, only using different descriptions. The same holds true at the top level of the Control Panel.

The Control Panel keeps track of which applets you've recently used, and displays links to the ones you've used most recently, on the bottom lefthand side.

Some people prefer the Classic view to the normal category view, because the applets are always presented consistently, no matter how the Control Panel is opened.

Regardless of the setting you prefer, it's important to understand the notation adopted throughout this book. For example, the following instruction shows the category name in square brackets (commonly used to denote an optional step or parameter):

Go to Control Panel [Appearance and Themes] Display

If you are using Control Panel categories, include the step in brackets; if you have categories turned off, ignore the bracketed step.

Control Panel changes in Vista

The Control Panel has been given a thoroughgoing redesign in Windows Vista. Categories have been added, taken away, and altered; navigation has changed with the addition of bread crumbs; it's now easy to jump from any level of the Control Panel to get directly to an applet; and the Control Panel offers a much more comprehensive way to perform tasks and customize Windows Vista.

That's the good news. The bad news is that under the hood, the Control Panel is now something of a mess. It's made up of a collection of category pages and applets that have accumulated through various versions of Windows. As you'll see shortly, in "Command-line usage," in some cases you can run an applet directly from the command line by typing the name of the applet itself. In other cases you can run an applet by typing in Control and then a keyword, such as telephony. And in yet other cases you can't run an applet from the command line at all. Making matters more confusing is that in some instances, running an applet from the command line leads to a traditional dialog box (such as main.cpl for the Mouse Properties dialog box), but in other instances it leads to a subcategory that is actually a folder along the Control Panel bread crumb path (such as powercfg.cpl, which leads to the folder/subcategory Control Panel Hardware and Sound Power Options). The upshot? Like it or not, it may be easier to use the Control Panel itself rather than the command line for running applets.

Command-line usage

This section explains how to use control.exe from the command line. By command line, I mean the Address Bar or Start Search box as wellboth will accept commands. And you can also use filenames for creating Windows shortcuts to specific Control Panel applets.

The simplest way to create a Windows shortcut to a Control Panel applet is to drag the applet from the Control Panel onto the Desktop. When you do that, a shortcut will be automatically created. In this way, you can create a shortcut to any applet, even if the applet cannot be run from the command line.

Note that you cannot launch all applets from the command line; see the upcoming "Notes" section for a workaround. Control.exe supports two command-line methods (see "Usage," at the beginning of this section), but no method covers all applets.

Control.exe accepts the following parameters:


The filename of the .cpl file (found in \Windows\System32) containing the applet you want to open. For example, type:

control main.cpl

to open the Mouse Properties dialog. If more than one Control Panel applet is contained in the .cpl file, and the one you want is not the default, you'll need to specify the applet_name (discussed next) to open it.

Note that you don't have to use control.exe in order to run any applet that is a .cpl file; just type in the name of the file, such as main.cpl. You can also use the applet name, like this: main.cpl Keyboard.

applet_name, tab

The formal name of the applet you want to launch, spelled and capitalized exactly as described in Table 3-1. This parameter is necessary only if more than one applet is contained in a given .cpl file. If you omit applet_name, the default applet in the specified .cpl file will be used. For example, type:

control main.cpl Keyboard

to open the Keyboard Properties dialog. Note that the main.cpl file is the same file as the one in the previous example, but the use of applet_name allows applets other than the default to be opened.

For some tabbed dialogs, you can also specify the tab to open by including a space and then a comma after the .cpl filename (the preceding space is required), and then a number. Specify 0 for the first tab (or omit the tab completely), 1 for the second, and so on. This technique will even work for applets that lead to a User Account Control (UAC) prompt. For example, if you type control sysdm.cpl ,3 to try to open the System Properties window to the Advanced tab, you'll first have to go through a UAC prompt.


Keyword is an alternate way of opening a specific Control Panel applet from the command line. Instead of using filename.cpl and applet_name, simply include one of the following names: admintools, color, date/time, desktop, folders, fonts, international, keyboard, mouse, printers, schedtasks, system, telephony, or userpasswords.

See Table 3-1 for a list of Control Panel applets that you can run directly from the command line, and the category in which you can find them. Not listed are applets that you cannot run from the command line.

Table 3-1. Control Panel applets

Applet name


What to type at the command line

Add Hardware

N/A (see "Notes," later in this section)

control hdwwiz.cpl

Add or Remove Programs


control appwiz.cpl

Administrative Tools

System and Maintenance

control admintools

Appearance Settings

Appearance and Personalization

control color

Audio Devices and Sound Themes

Hardware and Sound

control mmsys.cpl

Date and Time

Clock, Language, and Regions

control timedate.cpl


control date/time

Display Settings

Appearance and Personalization

control desk.cpl


control desktop



control firewall.cpl

Folder Options

Appearance and Personalization

control folders


Appearance and Personalization

Explorer "\windows\fonts"


control fonts

Game Controllers

Hardware and Sound

control joy.cpl


N/A (see "Notes," later in this section)

control infocardcpl.cpl

iSCSI Initiator

N/A (see "Notes," later in this section)

control iscsicpl.cpl

Internet Options

Network and Internet

control inetcpl.cpl


Hardware and Sound

control main.cpl Keyboard


control keyboard


Hardware and Sound

control main.cpl


control mouse

Network Connections

Network and Internet

control ncpa.cpl


control netconnections

Pen and Input Devices

Hardware and Sound

control tabletpc.pcl

People Near Me

Network and Internet

control collab.pcl

Phone and Modem Options

Printers and Other Hardware

control telephon.cpl


control telephony

Power Options

Hardware and Sound

control powercfg.cpl

Printers and Faxes

Hardware and Sound

control printers

Regional and Language Options

Clock, Language, and Regions

control intl.cpl


control international

Scanners and Cameras

Hardware and Sound

control sticpl.cpl

Windows Security Center


control wscui.cpl

Task Scheduler

System and Maintenance

control schedtasks

Text to Speech

Ease of Access

control speech


System and Maintenance

control sysdm.cpl

User Accounts

User Accounts and Family Safety

control nusrmgr.cpl


control userpasswords


control userpasswords2


  • The Control Panel has many more applets than those listed in Table 3-1, but the ones in the table are the only ones that you can launch directly from the command line.

  • Many applets in the Control Panel can't be launched from the command line using control.exe or by typing in the applet's filename. However, it's still possible to launch these (and any other) applets from the command line using a Windows shortcut. (Obviously, you can also launch the shortcuts by double-clicking them.) Simply drag the desired icon onto your Desktop or into a folder to create a shortcut. Then, to launch the shortcut from the command line, just type its full path and filename, including the .lnk filename extension. For example, to launch a shortcut named "Taskbar and Start Menu" (presumably linked to the applet of the same name), stored in your Stuff folder, type the following:

    \stuff\Taskbar and Start Menu.lnk

  • Add Hardware, Infocard, and iSCSI Initiator are not listed in any category. Add Hardware launches the Add Hardware Wizard; Infocard opens an applet that lets you create an Infocard that will automatically log you into web sites; and the iSCSI Initiator lets you configure storage devices that use iSCSI connections. These applets are typically automatically launched by Windows Vista when you initiate a task that requires themfor example, adding new hardware.

  • Some applications, software drivers, and hardware drivers come with their own applets, so you may have additional applets in your Control Panel that are not listed here. Also, depending on your version of Windows Vista, and any installed optional components, some of the items listed here might not be present in your Control Panel. See the specific entries elsewhere in this chapter for details on each applet mentioned here.

Date and Time Properties: \windows\system\timedate.cpl

Set your system's clock, choose a time zone, and enable Internet time synchronization.

To open

Control Panel [Clock, Language, and Region] Date and Time

Right-click on the time in the notification area, and select Adjust Date/Time.

Command Prompt timedate.cpl

Command Prompt control date/time


The Date and Time dialog is pretty straightforward. Set your system's clock and time zone with the Date and Time tab, add additional clocks with the Additional Clocks tab, and automatically synchronize your PC clock to the true time over the Internet with the Internet Time tab.

The Date and Time tab is as simple as it gets: click "Change date and time" or "Change time zone" to make your changes.

The Additional Clocks tab, shown in Figure 3-15, lets you add up to two additional clocks, both of which can be from many places throughout the world. The "Enter display name" field lets you type in a name for your clockfor example, Gabe's time. The clock will then display that label. By default, the names for the two c

Part II: Nutshell Reference