Windows 7: Customizing Menus and the Control Panel (part 2) - Navigating and Customizing the Control Panel

1/17/2011 11:33:33 AM

2. Navigating and Customizing the Control Panel

Clicking the taskbar’s Start button and then clicking Control Panel displays the Control Panel. You can also display the Control Panel in any Windows Explorer view by clicking the leftmost option button on the Address bar and selecting Control Panel. As with Windows XP, the Control Panel in Windows 7 has two views:

  • Category Control Panel view, shown in Figure 1, is the default view and provides access to system utilities by category, utility, and key tasks. Category Control Panel view is also referred to as Control Panel. To access this view, select Category on the View By list.

  • The All Control Panel Items view, shown in Figure 2, is an alternative view that provides access to all items in the Control Panel. Each Control Panel utility is listed separately by name. To access this view, select Large Icons or Small Icons on the View By list.

Figure 1. Using Category Control Panel view

Because the Category Control Panel view provides quick access to frequent tasks, it is the view you will use most often. With this view, the Control Panel opens as a console on which eight categories of utilities are listed. For each category, there’s a top-level link and under this are several of the most frequently performed tasks for the category.

Clicking a category link provides a list of utilities in that category. For each utility listed within a category, there’s a link to open the utility, and under this are several of the most frequently performed tasks for the utility. Table 1 lists the category associated with specific items; you can quickly find Control Panel items by referring to this table.

Table 1. Control Panel items by category
CategoryItems found under this category
Appearance and PersonalizationDesktop Gadgets, Display, Ease of Access Center, Folder Options, Fonts, Personalization, Taskbar and Start Menu
Clock, Language, and RegionDate and Time, Region and Language
Ease of AccessEase of Access Center, Speech Recognition
Hardware and SoundAutoPlay, Devices and Printers, Display, Power Options, Sound
Network and InternetHomegroup, Internet Options, Network and Sharing Center
ProgramsDefault Programs, Desktop Gadgets, Programs and Features
System and SecurityAction Center, Administrative Tools, Backup and Restore, BitLocker Drive Encryption, Power Options, System, Windows Firewall, Windows Update
User Accounts and Family SafetyCredential Manager, Parental Controls, User Accounts, Windows CardSpace

Figure 2. Using the All Control Panel Items view

In Category Control Panel view, all utilities and tasks run with a single click. The left pane of the console has a link to take you to the Control Panel home page, links for each category, and links for recently performed tasks. Not only is this very efficient, but it’s also very easy to use.

Because menu options and Control Panel options open with a single click by default, you might want to configure your computer to use single-click to open items such as documents as well. This may help you avoid confusion as to whether you need to click or double-click. When you have single-click open configured, pointing to an item selects it.

You can configure single-click open by completing the following steps:

  1. Click the Start button and then click Control Panel.

  2. In the Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization.

  3. Under Folder Options, click Specify Single- or Double-click to Open.

  4. In the Folder Options dialog box, select Single-Click to Open an Item (Point to Select) and then click OK.

Once you have everything set to open with a single click, hopefully you will find that working with the Control Panel and Windows Explorer is much more intuitive.

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