Windows command

Just as I intensively use windows hot keys and shortcuts that boost my productivity, I also like some “windows commands” to avoid clicking on sub-sub-sub-extra-sub-menus to reach some windows configuration screens…

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Using commands is straightforward, if you know it: Use the Shortcut  :start:Start +R and type your command in the dialog box.

Here is a list of available commands, most of them being actually components like:

  • .cpl : « Control Panel » Applet
  • .msc : Microsoft System Console
  • .mmc : Microsoft Management Console.

Control Panel Commands

  • control : opens the “Control Panel” window
  • control admintools : opens the “Administrative Tools”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\System and Security\Administrative Tools
  • control color : opens advanced appearance settings with the “Window Color and Appearance” tab to customize colors used in your theme
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization\Window Color and Appearance\Advanced appearance settings…
  • control desktop or desk.cpl : opens display properties with the themes “Personalization” tab
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization
  • control folders : opens “Folder options” mainly to customize the windows explorer
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Folder Options
  • control fonts : opens “Fonts” tab of the Appearance and Personalization” window where you can preview and delete available fonts
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\ Fonts
  • control international or intl.cpl : opens the “Regional and Language” options
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Region and Language
  • control keyboard : opens “Keyboard Properties” mainly to customize the speed parameters
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Devices and Printers\ right click the keyboard and select Keyboard Settings
  • control mouse or main.cpl: opens mouse properties
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Mouse (under Devices and Printers)
  • control netconnections or ncpa.cpl: opens “Network Connections”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center\Change adapter settings (on the left)
  • control userpasswords: opens “User Accounts” editor to change password
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\User Accounts and Family Safety\User Accounts
  • control printers : opens “Printers and Faxes” available
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\ View devices and printers (under Hardware and Sound)
  • control userpasswords2 or netplwiz : opens “User Account” for access restrictions and advanced user management.
  • control schedtasks or taskschd.msc : opens the “Tasks Scheduler”
  • optionalfeatures : opens the “Turn on/off Windows Features” utility
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel \Programs\Programs\Turn Windows features on or off

Control Panel Applets

  • access.cpl : opens “Ease of Access Center”.
  • appwiz.cpl : opens the “Add/Remove programs” wizard
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Uninstall a program (under Programs)
  • desk.cpl : opens display properties with the themes “Personalization” tab
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization
  • hdwwiz.cpl or devmgmt.msc : opens the “Device Manager” utility
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\System and Security\Device Manager (under System)
  • intl.cpl : opens the “Regional and Language” options
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Region and Language
  • irprops.cpl : infrared utility tool (if installed)
  • joy.cpl : opens “Game Controllers” settings
  • main.cpl : opens “Mouse Properties”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Mouse (under Devices and Printers)
  • mmsys.cpl : opens “Sound “ utility with the Playback, Recording, Sounds and Communication tabs
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Sound
  • ncpa.cpl : opens “Network Connections”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center\Change adapter settings (on the left)
  • powercfg.cpl : opens “Power Options” properties for Power Plan configuration
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Power Options
  • sysdm.cpl : opens “System Properties”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\System and Security\System\Change settings (bottom right) – Win + pause
  • telephon.cpl : opens the phone/modem “Location Information”
  • timedate.cpl : opens “Date and Time” properties
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\Clock, Language, and Region\Date and Time
  • wscui.cpl : opens the “Action Center” for Windows “Security Management” et “Maintenance”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\System and Security\Action Center
  • wuaucpl.cpl : opens “Windows Updates”
    • :start:Start  > Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Update

System Consoles

  • mmc : opens the “Microsoft Management Console”
  • azman.msc : opens “Authorization Management” console
  • certmgr.msc : opens “Certificate Management” console
  • compmgmt.msc : opens the “Computer Management” console
  • comexp.msc or dcomcnfg: opens the “Component Services” console including COM+, IIS, Event Viewer and Services Manager, …
  • eventvwr : opens the “Event Viewer”
  • fsmgmt.msc : opens the “Shared Folders” console
  • gpedit.msc : opens the “Local Group Policy Editor” console
  • lusrmgr.msc : opens the “Local Users and Groups” console
  • napclcfg.msc : opens the “NAP Client Configuration” console
  • rsop.msc : opens the “Resultant Set of Policy” issued from all defined “Group Policy” objects
  • services.msc : opens the “Service Manager”
  • secpol.msc : opens the “Local Security Policy” console
  • wmimgmt.msc : opens the (WMI) “Window Management Instrumentation”

Windows utility and applications

  • explorer : opens Windows Explorer ( :win: + E  )
  • iexplorer : opens Internet Explorer
  • calc : opens Calculator
  • soundrecorder : opens sound recording tool
  • dpinst : opens the “Device Driver Installation Wizard”
  • dvdplay : play CD or DVD
  • osk : opens “On-Screen Keyboard” (Win+U)
  • magnify : opens “Magnifier”
  • dialer : opens “Phone Dialer”
  • eudcedit : opens the “Private Character Editor”
  • sndvol : opens the “volume mixer”
  • rstrui : opens the “System Restore”
  • msinfo32 : opens the “System Information”
  • mrt : opens the “Malicious Software Removal”
  • taskmgr : opens “the Windows Task Manager” (Ctrl + Alt + Esc)
  • cmd : opens a command prompt
  • sigverif : opens the “File Signature Verification” tool
  • winver : displays your Windows version
  • iexpress : opens the wizard for creating self-extracting archives.
  • mblctr : opens the “Mobility Center” on laptops only (Win+X)
  • msra : opens “Windows Remote Assistance” to request help to a friend
  • mstsc: opens the “Remote Desktop connection” window
    • mstsc -v:host opens directly the remote desktop of the host.
  • msdt : opens the “Microsoft support diagnostic tool”
  • printbrmui : opens “Printer Migration Wizard” to export/import queues and printer drivers to/from file.
  • shrpubw : opens the “Create a shared folder wizard”
  • narrator : starts the “Windows Narrator”
  • wscript : opens the “Windows Script host settings” window
  • fxscover : opens the “Fax Cover Sheet Editor”
  • iscsicpl : opens the “iSCSI Initiator” properties
  • mdsched : opens the “Windows Memory Diagnostics” tool
  • dxdiag : opens the “DirectX Diagnostics” tool
  • odbcad32 : opens the “ODBC Data Source Administrator” tool
  • regedit : opens the “Registry editor” with support to search on values. May not be used to set permissions.
  • regedt32: opens the “Registry editor” with support to set permissions. May not be used to search on values (only searching for keys is supported).
  • verifier : opens the “Driver Verifier Manager”
  • cliconfg : opens the “SQL Server Client Network Utility”
  • colorcpl : opens the “Color Management” tool used to calibrate displays ad fine-tune color rendering.
  • credwiz : open the “Stored User Names and Password” wizard to backup and recover user passwords
  • mobsync : opens the “Synchronization Center”:
  • msconfig : opens the “System Configuration” utility which give access to all Startup and Boot options
  • syskey : opens the “Windows Account Database” security management which allows the enable data encryption on Windows.
  • comp : Compare files in a console

Disk management

  • diskmgmt.msc : opens the “Disk Management” console
  • cleanmgr : opens the “Disk Cleanup” utility
  • dfrgui : opens “Disk Defragmenter”
  • chkdsk : starts a complete analysis of disk partition in console mode
  • diskpart : starts the “Disk Partitioning tool” in console mode

Connection management

  • ipconfig: lists the configuration of IP addresses on your PC (for more information type ipconfig/? in the CMD menu)
    • ipconfig /all : show details
    • ipconfig /release : release IP of all adapters
    • ipconfig /renew : renew IP of all adapters
    • ipconfig /displaydns : display DNS cache entries
    • ipconfig /flushdns : delete all DNS cache entries
    • ipconfig /registerdns : refresh DHCP and re-register DNS
  • inetcpl.cpl : opens the “Internet Properties”
  • firewall.cpl : opens the “Windows firewall” settings: Control Panel\System and Security\Windows Firewall
  • fw.msc : opens the “Windows Firewall with Advanced Security” console

Miscellaneous commands

  • netproj : allow or not connecting to a network projector
  • logoff : closes the current session
  • shutdown : shuts down Windows
  • shutdown -a : to interrupt Windows shutdown
  • dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded : clean cache for installation of service packs (useful to release a lot of space on the system drive!)
  • sfc : System File Checker (Requires Windows CD if the cache is not available):
    • sfc /scannow: immediately scans all system files and repairs damaged files
    • sfc /VERIFYONLY: scans only those files system
    • sfc /Scanfil = “name and file path”: scans the specified file, and repairs if damaged
    • sfc /VERIFYFILE = “name and file path”: Scans only the file specified
    • sfc /scanonce: scans the system files on the next restart
    • sfc /REVERT: return the initial configuration (For more information, type sfc /? In the command prompt CMD.
    • sfc /scanboot: scans the system files on every boot
    • sfc /purgecache: purge File Cache
    • sfc /cachesize=x: Set Cache Size to size x:
  • ftp : ftp client
  • telnet : Telnet client
  • rasphone : Manage Remote Access Service connections
  • msiexec : Windows Installer
  • wiaacmgr : Windows Picture Import Wizard (Need camera/scanner connected)

Environment Variables

  • %WINDIR% or %SYSTEMROOT%: windows installation folder (e.g.: C:\Windows)
  • %PROGRAMFILES%: location where programs are installed (e.g.: C:\Program Files)
  • %USERPROFILE%: location of currently logged user’s profile (e.g.: C:\Users\ [username])
  • %HOMEDRIVE%: partition where the operating system is installed (e.g.: C:)
  • %HOMEPATH%: location of currently logged user’s home (e.g.: \Users\ [username])
  • %TEMP%: location of the temporary folder

Sources: Oreilly, Microsoft Control Panel, Web Talk’s Command Guide.

Command to Control Panel

Control Panel Applet


Action Center control /name Microsoft.ActionCenter  
control wscui.cpl  
Add Features to Windows 8 control /name Microsoft.WindowsAnytimeUpgrade  
Administrative Tools control /name Microsoft.AdministrativeTools  
control admintools  
AutoPlay control /name Microsoft.AutoPlay  
Biometric Devices control /name Microsoft.BiometricDevices  
BitLocker Drive Encryption control /name Microsoft.BitLockerDriveEncryption  
Bluetooth Devices control bthprops.cpl13
Color Management control /name Microsoft.ColorManagement  
Credential Manager control /name Microsoft.CredentialManager  
Date and Time control /name Microsoft.DateAndTime  
control timedate.cpl  
control date/time  
Default Programs control /name Microsoft.DefaultPrograms  
Device Manager control /name Microsoft.DeviceManager  
control hdwwiz.cpl  
Devices and Printers control /name Microsoft.DevicesAndPrinters  
control printers  
Display control /name Microsoft.Display
Ease of Access Center control /name Microsoft.EaseOfAccessCenter  
control access.cpl  
Family Safety control /name Microsoft.ParentalControls  
File History control /name Microsoft.FileHistory  
Flash Player Settings Manager control flashplayercplapp.cpl  
Folder Options control /name Microsoft.FolderOptions  
control folders  
Fonts control /name Microsoft.Fonts  
control fonts  
Game Controllers control /name Microsoft.GameControllers  
control joy.cpl  
Get Programs control /name Microsoft.GetPrograms  
Home Group control /name Microsoft.HomeGroup  
Indexing Options control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions  
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL srchadmin.dll  
Infrared control /name Microsoft.Infrared  
control irprops.cpl  
Internet Options control /name Microsoft.InternetOptions  
control inetcpl.cpl  
iSCSI Initiator control /name Microsoft.iSCSIInitiator  
Keyboard control /name Microsoft.Keyboard  
control keyboard  
Language control /name Microsoft.Language  
Location Settings control /name Microsoft.LocationSettings  
Mail4 control mlcfg32.cpl5  
Mouse control /name Microsoft.Mouse  
control main.cpl  
control mouse  
Network and Sharing Center control /name Microsoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter  
Network Connections control ncpa.cpl  
control netconnections  
Network Setup Wizard control netsetup.cpl  
Notification Area Icons control /name Microsoft.NotificationAreaIcons  
Offline Files control /name Microsoft.OfflineFiles  
Pen and Touch control /name Microsoft.PenAndTouch  
control tabletpc.cpl  
Performance Information and Tools control /name Microsoft.PerformanceInformationAndTools  
Personalization control /name Microsoft.Personalization  
control desktop  
Phone and Modem control /name Microsoft.PhoneAndModem  
control telephon.cpl  
Power Options control /name Microsoft.PowerOptions  
control powercfg.cpl  
Programs and Features control /name Microsoft.ProgramsAndFeatures  
control appwiz.cpl  
Recovery control /name Microsoft.Recovery  
Region control /name Microsoft.RegionAndLanguage  
control intl.cpl  
control international  
RemoteApp and Desktop Connections control /name Microsoft.RemoteAppAndDesktopConnections  
Scanners and Cameras control /name Microsoft.ScannersAndCameras  
Screen Resolution control desk.cpl  
Sound control /name Microsoft.Sound  
control mmsys.cpl  
Speech Recognition control /name Microsoft.SpeechRecognition  
Storage Spaces control /name Microsoft.StorageSpaces  
Sync Center control /name Microsoft.SyncCenter  
System control /name Microsoft.System  
System Properties control sysdm.cpl  
Tablet PC Settings control /name Microsoft.TabletPCSettings  
Task Scheduler7 control schedtasks  
Taskbar control /name Microsoft.Taskbar  
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Options_RunDLL 1  
Text to Speech control /name Microsoft.TextToSpeech  
Troubleshooting control /name Microsoft.Troubleshooting  
User Accounts control /name Microsoft.UserAccounts  
control userpasswords  
Windows 7 File Recovery control /name Microsoft.BackupAndRestore  
Windows Defender control /name Microsoft.WindowsDefender  
Windows Firewall control /name Microsoft.WindowsFirewall  
control firewall.cpl  
Windows Mobility Center control /name Microsoft.MobilityCenter  
Windows SideShow control /name Microsoft.WindowsSideShow  
Windows Update control /name Microsoft.WindowsUpdate  

See also the shortest path to access any Control Panel Applet.

Click to Read More

Notice: Another quick access to all “Control Panel” applet if you don’t want to type commands.

  1. Press Ctrl + Esc
  2. Click on “Control Panel”
  3. Start to type the title of the applet (no need to click in the search area)

You may also create your own shortcut key to access directly the “Control Panel”:

  1. Create a shortcut (in any folder) to C:\Windows\System32\control.exe
  2. Assign a shortcut Key to that shortcut via the tab “Shortcut” of its “Properties”.
See also “here





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