The Windows Control panel provides a useful portal for updating display details, Internet options, device configurations, and more. In this video, you’ll learn about these Control Panel applets and many more.
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The Windows Control Panel contains many of the utilities you’ll need to manage your system. In this video, we’ll look at some of the more popular control panel applets.
This is the default view for the Windows Control Panel. You have different categories like system and security or network and internet. And if you click on those, you can drill down into additional features. There are also different ways to view these. You can view this by this category view or you can view it as small icons or large icons on the screen.
If you want to manage how the internet is used on your computer, you’ll want to choose the Internet Options applet. There are a number of tabs across the top that will manage the browser experience on your machine. The general tab will give you options for what’s shown in the browser. For example, you can set a home page, change how the browser starts up, or change the display of the tabs.
The Security tab allows you to control how the browser reacts to websites that are located in different places. There are four different categories, the internet category, the local intranet, trusted sites, and restricted sites. And you can customize or change the level of access you would have to different sites depending on where those sites are located.
The Privacy tab allows you to control what private information will be provided by your local browser to the web server. For example, you can control cookie settings, information about your location, and you can decide what happens when you go into private browsing mode.
The Content tab allows you to view information on encryption and identification certificates. And autocomplete information is also stored in the Content tab. If you’re connecting to the internet over a VPN or proxy, you may need to make changes in the Connection tab.
This is where you would set up VPN information, configure proxy server information if your proxy servers are local on your network, and you can also modify any of the local area network settings so that they’re compatible with these configurations as well.
The Programs tab allows you to manage how the browser opens links. You can manage any add-ons in the browser and manage any third party utilities that are used in conjunction with your browser. And the Advanced tab provides you with granular control over some very specific internet browsing settings. The Advanced tab also includes the Reset Internet Explorer Settings option. So if you want to take all of the settings back to the factory defaults, you can click the Reset button and the entire browser will be reset.
In Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, you can reference the display applet in the control panel if you need to make changes to the video output, such as changing the resolution options. This can be especially useful on LCD displays where the operating system resolution and the native resolution of the LCD display need to match to have the clearest available video display.
You can also change detailed video output such as the color depth and refresh rate. You’ll find that in the advanced settings under adapter modes. If you’re running Windows 10, instead of going to the display applet in the control panel, you’ll go to Settings, System, and then choose the display options. You’ll see a number of different settings in there, such as the scale and the layout, the multiple display options, and options for color.
If you’re using your computer in an environment using Active Directory, then you’ll rarely configure a local account on your computer. But if you do need to create local user IDs, you’ll find them in the Control Panel under User Accounts. Under this applet, you can create new users and define what roles they might have on the computer.
You can manage the passwords associated with those users. You can even add a picture of the user so that you can visually see who it is. There’s also a link in here for advanced settings so that you can associate a certificate on this computer with a particular user.
If you want to make changes to the Windows Explorer or File Explorer in Windows 10, you would choose the Folder options or the File Explorer options inside of the control panel. There’s a General tab that allows you to configure how a how File Explorer is used. For example, you could change how the folders look on the screen. You can choose whether to use a single click or double click. And you can set privacy settings as well.
The View tab allows you to configure exactly what you see on the screen. If you would like to always show icons and never show thumbnails, you can enable and disable that capability. This is also where you can configure file explorer to show you hidden files or to hide those files from the File Explorer screen. And you can enable or disable viewing of file extensions. And under the Search tab, you’re able to define how the operating system configures any of the search settings for these files.
For example, you can disable how the search index is used when you perform a file search. And you can decide what files will be searched during that indexing process. The system applet in the control panel can give you information about the operating system version and edition that you happen to be running.
It can also allow you to set information on the performance of the system, including the way the graphics are used on the machine and how much virtual memory will be enabled. You can turn on and off the remote settings option from inside the system applet such as the one that is configuring remote assistance and remote desktop. You can also configure options for system protection.
So if you wanted to enable or disable certain system restore features or allocate additional disk space for System Restore, you can do that within the system protection settings. You’ll find the performance options under Advanced System Settings. That will provide you with an option for performance, user profiles, and startup and recovery. If we choose the performance settings, you can decide visually how the operating system will work.
You can look at some of the advanced settings for how applications will be used. And you can see all the operating system is configured for DEP or data execution prevention to help prevent viruses and other malware from executing inside of the operating system.
In Windows 7 and Windows 8 and 8.1, you have the Windows Firewall. In Windows 10, this has been renamed to the Windows Defender Firewall. This is a built in firewall that helps prevent anyone from the outside from gaining access to the resources on your local computer.
You can find this information in the Control Panel under Windows Firewall. You can also adjust the firewall to operate differently depending on where you might be. For example, if you’re on your own private network, you may choose to allow other people on your local network to be able to access shares on your local computer.
But if you take that laptop outside of your local network and you’re in a coffee shop or an airport, Windows will automatically recognize that you’re no longer on your private network and instead will use a guest or public network profile. And on that profile, you may have settings that prevent any type of external access to your laptop because you’re on a public network.
The Power Options applet allows you to configure how power is used by your computer. You can configure different plans and switch between those, some that may balance performance with energy consumptions, or others that may save energy, especially when you’re not connected to a power source. You may have different options for what happens to your computer when it’s left unattended depending on the type of system it is.
If you choose the option to sleep, which could also be called standby, then any of the apps that you currently have in memory will stay stored in memory. This will save power but it also allows you to start up the system very quickly when you’d like to get back up and running again. This will switch to a hibernate mode if the power gets very low.
In the hibernate mode, your system takes everything that’s in memory and writes all of that information to disk. That allows the system to shut down completely and not use any additional power. This is especially useful for laptops where you’re often away from a power source and you may need to conserve as much battery time as possible.
You may have noticed in a browser that you’re able to save usernames, and passwords, and other credentials. You’re able to manage these credentials through the Windows Credential Manager. This allows you to manage the different usernames and passwords that you use for different sites.
The Credential Manager also allows you to manage the local credentials you’re using which are usually certificates that are stored on your computer. If you need to uninstall any existing applications, you can do that from the Programs and Features applet in the control panel. You’ll get a list of all of the installed apps. You can click on one and then choose the uninstall option.
There is also a feature in here to view all of the Windows features that have been installed. If there’s an additional Windows feature that you’d like to install that was not installed by default, you can turn on and off those features inside of the Windows Feature option.
If you’re setting up a Windows Homegroup at home, then you’ll configure all of those settings in your Control Panel under Homegroup. You’ll notice that feature is available in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. But Homegroup has now been removed from Windows 10. And the Homegroup applet is no longer available on the Windows 10 control panel.
If you are setting up a Homegroup and Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, you want to make sure that your network profile is set to home. You can then create a Homegroup. And you’ll be given a shared password that you can then put on all of the other devices that are part of this Homegroup.
If you want to get a summary of all of the different devices that your computer can see on the network, then you’ll want to choose the Devices and Printers applet in the control panel. From here you’ll get categories such as devices, multimedia devices, and printers.
This is a much more categorized view than something you would see like Device Manager. And it also shows you devices that are across the network, which is something Device Manager can’t do. From here you can right mouse click and view the properties of these devices and make any changes to devices that may be on your local network.
Our computers are multimedia devices. And they rely on us able to not only hear sound but also input sound into the computer. You can make changes to these sound settings in the Control Panel under Sound. This allows you to configure what your output options might be. It might be headphones or speakers. And you also have a way to configure the input settings as well. These are the input settings on my computer. I can choose what the default is. And I can configure the line levels for each individual device.
When you run into a problem in Windows, sometimes the troubleshooting process can be relatively complex. Inside of the Troubleshooting Control Panel applet, you’ll get a categorization of troubleshooting tips for programs, hardware and sound, network and internet, and system and security. Some of these troubleshooting options require that you have elevated account access. So it may require an administrator to be able to run through some of these troubleshooting tasks.
If you need to make a change to a network configuration or view the current settings, you can view all of that from inside the Control Panel under Network and Sharing Center. This allows you to make any changes to your physical adapters or the way that information is shared across the network.
For example, if you wanted to change the configuration of one of your adapters, you could choose to change the adapter settings. You can right mouse click on the adapter, choose Properties, and then decide how you would like to make some changes. For example, we can change the IPv4 configurations for the IP addressing, the DNS servers, and any alternate configurations. With any operating system, you need a device driver that sits between the hardware and the operating system software.
In Windows, you’ll find the summary of this under the Device Manager. This allows you to view all of the devices and the drivers that have been loaded for each device. And then you can add, remove, or disable any of these device drivers. If you’re having problems with a piece of hardware or you’d like to get information on the status of how hardware might be running, then you’ll be able to view all of that inside of the Device Manager.
Windows includes a feature that allows you to encrypt all of the information on an entire drive. This full disk encryption capability is called BitLocker. To use BitLocker, it’s recommended that you have a TPM on your motherboard. This is a piece of hardware called a trusted platform module.
If you don’t have a TPM on your motherboard, there are options to use BitLocker with a flash drive and a password. Once you configure BitLocker and set up the proper authentication for the user, it runs seamlessly in the background. And the end user doesn’t even know that it’s running.
This is a feature especially useful for mobile devices or laptops that can be easily stolen or misplaced. If anyone does gain access to the hard drive or storage device that is BitLocker protected, they won’t be able to read any of that data.
For people that need access to data when they’re not directly connected to their network, there’s a feature in Windows called the Sync Center. This would make files available to you even when you’re not directly connected to the server that provides those files.
This would allow you to take your laptop away from the network, work on those documents, and when you return and reconnect to the network, the Sync Center will automatically synchronize that data for you. This is a feature that’s only available in the pro edition of Windows or higher. So if you’re running a Home Edition of Windows, you don’t have access to the Sync Center.
To be able to use this capability, you would mark a file in the file properties as always available offline. And then when you leave the network, you’ll still have access to that file and be able to synchronize the next time you connect to the network.