Two Minute Drill: New Commands for Old Tasks in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

Good Morning AskPerf!  Blake Morrison here once again with a quick note on some new ways to do familiar Control Panel tasks.  Prior to Windows Vista, if you wanted to launch a Control Panel applet using command-line syntax, you could simply invoke the .CPL file either by using the control <applet name> syntax or just by typing in the name of the .CPL file in the Run line – for example, sysdm.cpl launches the System Properties applet.

In Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, some of these .CPL modules have been replaced by executable files.  The result of this is that standard users are prompted for credentials when trying to launch these executables.  Options that do not require extra security can be accessed using the same command-line syntax used in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.  Below is a list of commands used in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 to access specific Control Panel tabs.


  • Font size and DPI: %windir%\system32\DpiScaling.exe
  • Screen resolution: %windir%\system32\control.exe desk.cpl,Settings,@Settings
  • Display settings: %windir%\system32\control.exe desk.cpl,Settings,@Settings
  • Themes: %windir%\system32\control.exe desk.cpl,Themes,@Themes
  • Screensaver: %windir%\system32\control.exe desk.cpl,screensaver,@screensaver
  • Multi-monitor: %windir%\system32\control.exe desk.cpl,Monitor,@Monitor
  • Color Scheme: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageColorization
  • Desktop background: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageWallpaper


  • Performance: %windir%\system32\SystemPropertiesPerformance.exe
  • Remote access: %windir%\system32\SystemPropertiesRemote.exe
  • Computer name: %windir%\system32\SystemPropertiesComputerName.exe
  • System protection: %windir%\system32\SystemPropertiesProtection.exe
  • Advanced system properties: %windir%\system32\SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe

Programs and Features

  • Add or remove programs: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.ProgramsAndFeatures
  • Windows features: %windir%\system32\OptionalFeatures.exe

Regional and Language Options

  • Keyboard: %systemroot%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.RegionalAndLanguageOptions /page /p:"keyboard"
  • Location: %systemroot%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.RegionalAndLanguageOptions /page /p:"location"
  • Administrative: %systemroot%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.RegionalAndLanguageOptions /page /p:"administrative"

Folder Options

  • Folder searching: %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Options_RunDLL 2
  • File extension associations: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.DefaultPrograms /page pageFileAssoc
  • View: %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Options_RunDLL 7
  • General: %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Options_RunDLL 0

Power Options

  • Edit current plan settings: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.PowerOptions /page pagePlanSettings
  • System settings: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.PowerOptions /page pageGlobalSettings
  • Create a power plan: %windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.PowerOptions /page pageCreateNewPlan

Note that there is no canonical command for the Advanced Settings page, it is accessed in the older manner: %windir%\system32\control.exe powercfg.cpl,,3

As I said, just a quick post for today – take care!


Additional Resources:

Blake Morrison

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