Keyboard Shortcuts to the Control Panel (cpl's).

This page shows how to access all the Windows XP Control Panel applets purely from the keyboard.

Some of the applets, like the security centre - only run on PC's with Windows XP service pack 2 loaded.

In Windows XP there are (at least) two ways of accessing control panel applets purely with the keyboard.

  1. The Windows Key symbol Tap the Windows Key to bring on screen the Windows start menu. Tap c this will usually take you to the control panel, if however another application is highlite: tap c again until the control panel menu option is highlite then press enter.

    Then either:-

    • Use the arrow keys to high light the required control panel applet. Then press enter. -or-
    • Press the first character of the appplet name, 'f' once for folders, 'f' twice for fonts for example. Then press enter.

  2. Tap the Windows Key to bring on screen the Windows start menu. Tap r until the run menu appears. To run any of the applets, enter the applet program name, So enter 'desk.cpl' for the display properties for example.

    Or use the up & down arrows to scroll through programs previously run.

When you are running the applet, you can navigate round it using the arrow keys and tab key. Use the enter key to select a button.

Close the Applet and the Control Panel using the Alt+F4 (function key 4) two key combination.


  • Windows Key symbol On keyboards without the Windows key. The Ctrl+Escape two key combination can be used.

  • In the control panel, change to 'classic view' if the 'category view' option has been selected.

    To do this using the keyboard: press the tab key until 'Switch to Classic View' is highlite then press return.

  • You may have to press c (or r) more than once if you have a application beginning with c (or r) in the history list.

Add/Remove Programs: appwiz.cpl

Lists currently installed programs.

Automatic Update: wuaucpl.cpl

Display/change automatic update state.

Accessibility Options: access.cpl

Keyboard, sound, mouse, display & general settings.

Date & Time Properties: timedate.cpl

Date & Time, Time Zone & Internet Time. The applet that runs when you click on the time in the task bar.

Display Properties: desk.cpl

Themes, desktop, screen save, appearance & settings

Firewall: firewall.cpl

General Status, Exceptions and Advanced options.

Game Controllers: joy.cpl

Joystick/Game Controllers.

Hardware Wizard: hdwwiz.cpl

Add Hardware Wizard.

Internet Properties: inetcpl.cpl

General, security, privacy, content, connections, programs & advanced.

Local Information: telephon.cpl

Phone or modem connection information. Country/Region, Area Codes, Pulse/Tone dialing.

Network Connections: ncpa.cpl

Lan or High Speed Internet Connection details & Wizards.

Network Setup Wizard: netsetup.cpl

Helps set-up your computer on a network.

Mouse Properties: main.cpl

Buttons, pointers, pointer options, wheel & hardware.

ODBC Data Source Administration:odbccp32.cpl

User DSN, system DSN, file DSN, drives, tracing, connection pooling & about.

Power Option Properties: powercfg.cpl

Power schemes, advanced, hibernate & UPS.

Regional and Language Options: intl.cpl

Regional options, languages & advanced.

Security Center: wscui.cpl

Security essentials: Firewall, automatic updates & virus protection status

Sound and Audio Devices Properties: mmsys.cpl

Voice, sounds, audio, voice & hardware. Note: Microsoft Sam is not here see in speech properties.

Speech Properties: sapi.cpl

Microsoft's voices, with Microsoft Sam pre-loaded in Windows XP. Other voices (Mary & Mike) and better software can also be downloaded (free), see text to speech review.

System Properties: sysdm.cpl

System restore, automatic updates, remote, general, computer name, hardware & advanced.

User Accounts: nusrmgr.cpl

Change an account, create an account & change the way users log on.