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When you first open the control panel you will see that all options are divided up into categories - the table below will explain what options can be found in each category




System and Security

View and change system and security status, backup and restore file and system settings, update your computer, view RAM and processor speed, check firewall and more

Network and Internet

Check network status and change settings, set preferences for sharing files and computers, configure Internet display and connection, and more

Hardware and Sound

Add or remove printers and other hardware, change system sounds, play CDs automatically, conserve power, update device drivers and more


Uninstall programs or Windows features, get new programs from the network or online, and more

User Accounts and Family Safety

Change user account settings and passwords, and set up parental controls

Appearance and Personalization

Change the appearance of desktop items, apply a theme or screen saver to your computer, or customize the taskbar

Clock, Language, and Region

Change the date, time, and timezone for your computer, the language to use, and the way numbers, currencies, dates, and times are displayed

Ease of Access

Adjust your computer settings for vision, hearing, and mobility, and use speech recognition to control your computer with voice commands


It is sometimes easier to view the Control Panel items as a list rather than in categories - this makes it a lot easier to find the item you are looking for


To do this click Category in the top corner and change to Small icons as highlighted in image below




The table below explains each item shown in the Control Panel - highlighted items are explained in further detail in relevant sections:-


Action Center

Review recent alerts and resolve problems with your computer

Add features to Windows 8.1

Add additional features to Windows 8 and upgrade to higher editions

Administrative Tools

Configure administrative settings for your computer


Change default settings for CD's, DVD's and devices so that you can automatically play music, view pictures, install software and play games

BitLocker Drive Encryption

Protect your PC by encrypting drives using BitLocker Drive Encryption

Colour Management

Change advanced colour management settings for printers, screens and scanners

Credential Manager

Manage your windows and internet credentials (usernames and passwords)

Date and Time

Set the date, time and timezone for your computer

Default Programs

Choose default programs for activities such as web browsing, editing photos, sending emails and playing music

Device Manager

View and update your hardware settings and device drivers

Devices and Printers

View and manage devices, printers and print jobs


Change your display settings and make it easier to read what's on the desktop

Ease of Access Center

Make your computer easier to use with features for accessibility such as narrator, on screen keyboard, high contrast display and screen magnifier

Family Safety

Change family safety and parental control settings

File History

Keeps a history of your files so you can recover them if lost or damaged

Also allows you to access system image backup to create a backup of your system

Flash Player (32-bit)

Manage settings for Flash Player internet plugin

Folder Options

Customize the display of files and folders


Add, change and manage fonts on your computer


View HomeGroup settings, choose sharing options and view or change the password

Indexing Options

Change how Windows indexes to search faster

Internet Options

Change your internet display and connection settings


Customize keyboard settings such as the cursor blink rate and character repeat rate


Customize your language preferences and international settings

Location Settings

Configure settings for locations devices such as GPS


Configure Microsoft Outlook settings and profiles


Customize your mouse settings, such as button configuration, double-click speed, mouse pointers and motion speed

Network and Sharing Center

Check network status, change network settings and set preferences for sharing files and printers

Notification Area Icons

Select which icons and notifications appear in the notification area near the clock

Pen and Touch

Configure pen options for a Tablet PC


Change the pictures, colours and sounds for this computer

Phone and Modem

Configure your telephone dialing rules and modem settings

Power Options

Change settings relating to how your computer manages power such as when to automatically sleep or turn off the display

Programs and Features

Uninstall or change programs on your computer


Advanced recovery tools and system restore configuration


Configure settings for the display of languages, numbers, times and dates

RemoteApp and Desktop Connections

Settings relating to remote desktop, remote app and connections to desktops and programs at your workplace


Configure your audio devices or change the sound scheme for your computer

Speech Recognition

Configure how speech recognition works on your computer

Storage Spaces

Help protect your files from drive failure by automatically saving them to one or more drives

Sync Center

Synchronize files between your computer and network folders


View information about your computer and change settings for hardware, performance and remote connections

Tablet PC Settings

Configure tablet and screen settings for a Tablet PC

Taskbar and Navigation

Customize the taskbar, changing the types of items to be displayed and how they should appear

Enable boot to desktop and change layout and settings for start screen


Troubleshoot and fix common computer problems

User Accounts

Change user account settings and passwords

Windows Defender

Helps protect you from malware and other potentially unwanted software

Windows Firewall

Set firewall security options to help protect your computer from hackers and malicious software

Windows Mobility Center

Adjust display brightness, volume, power options and other commonly used mobile PC settings

Windows Update

Check for software and driver updates, choose automatic update settings and view installed updates

Work Folders

Allows a company to let you access work files stored on your workplace server

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