Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Vista's control panel is more useless then ever.

One example:

I used to be able to access network devices with a couple clicks. From there I could check IP settings, disable, reset devices etc.

Now I have to click start, control panel, show classic view, double click network and sharing center, click "manage network connections".

We've probably all found ways to deal with it, but I did something that you might find useful.

The control panel settings are accessed through CPL files.

I did a search in c:\windows for all CPL files. I created a shortcut to each on a folder in my profile. (right click drag, create shortcut) I deleted all the duplicates. I ran them all one at a time and figured out what they did. I renamed them to what function they accessed. I deleted ones that didn't work or were not useful to me.

My list now:

  • Add Remove Programs.lnk
  • Bluetooth Detection.lnk
  • Display Settings.lnk
  • Firewall.lnk
  • HardwareWizard.lnk
  • Intel Wireless.lnk
  • Internet Properties.lnk
  • Mouse.lnk
  • Network Properties.lnk
  • NVIDIA.lnk
  • Power.lnk
  • SCCM Config.lnk
  • SCCM Download Monitor.lnk
  • SCCM Remote.lnk
  • SCCM Run Adv.lnk
  • Security Center.lnk
  • Sound.lnk
  • System Properties.lnk
  • Time and Date.lnk

I then created taskbar toolbar pointing to that directory.

Now when I click Network Properties.lnk I get C:\Windows\System32\ncpa.cpl which takes me right to my network devices.

When I click "add remove programs" I get what Microsoft has burned into my brain for years, my installed programs list instead of having to remember that it's called "programs and features" now.

This works for more then just Vista.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by masegaloeh, Jenny D, Ward, BillThor , Andrew Schulman Apr 13 '15 at 9:22

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on Server Fault must be about managing information technology systems in a business environment. Home and end-user computing questions may be asked on Super User, and questions about development, testing and development tools may be asked on Stack Overflow." – masegaloeh, Jenny D, Ward, BillThor , Andrew Schulman
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This post is full of fail. A real admin doesn't launch these from a gui, and typically not even from the machine!… – XTZ Jun 15 '09 at 16:03
...says the 12-day member with 85 rep points and uses phrases like 'full of fail' – cop1152 Jun 15 '09 at 16:09
says the 12-day member with 85 rep points and uses phrases like 'full of fail' to the 10-day member with 754 rep points...just saying – cop1152 Jun 15 '09 at 16:11
Now guys, this isn't that type of neighborhood. Yet. – Doug Chase Jun 15 '09 at 16:42
If you dislike a question, downvoting is a great way to express yourself. Minimizes on drama. – Kara Marfia Jun 15 '09 at 16:51

Right-click the start menu, hit properties. Start menu tab, hit Customize. In the list, select Display as menu for the Control Panel item. Ok and Ok.

Now all you need to do is click the start menu and then control panel - which will expand into an enormous context menu with all applets right there.

Don't forget to expose the admin tools in the root of the start menu as well...

As far as the network connections list (which I agree is annoyingly well-hidden in Vista), I think most have learned to simply run ncpa.cpl - just as we all just run mstsc, right? ^^

share|improve this answer
I have this set as well, but doesn't get you to the deeper parts like ncpa.cpl – MathewC Jun 15 '09 at 16:20
I keep a couple of shortcuts for mstsc too. Console, full screen, etc along with dameware. – MathewC Jun 15 '09 at 16:30

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.