How To Access the Traditional Control Panel in Windows 8

The metro-interface in Windows 8 displays a totally new look for its Control Panel. Accessing the traditional Control Panel you’re accustomed to is easy.

The metro/modern interface in Windows 8 displays a totally new look for its Control Panel. Accessing the traditional Control Panel you’re accustomed to is easy. Here’s a couple of ways on how to get to it.

Note: This article has been updated from the Developer Preview version of Windows 8 to show the final version currently on the market.

Windows 8 Modern-style Control Panel

See how much different Control Panel is in Metro? It’s actually called PC Settings but is essentially the Control Panel for the modern / metro-style interface. It’s fine, controlling that aspect of Windows 8 for tablets or other touchscreen devices. But on the desktop, I still like to use the traditional-style.

modern CPL

Traditional Control Panel on Desktop

From the Desktop or the Windows Start Screen, use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X to bring up the so-called power user menu. Select Control Panel.

Power Menu

Control Panel opens on the Desktop in Category view. To make it easier to find what you need, you might want to change the view to Large icons.


Ah, much better.


Another way to open the Control Panel is to use the Run line by hitting Windows Key + R and type: control panel and hit enter or click OK.


Or, another way to get to it while on the Desktop, is to use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key+ I to bring up the Settings sidebar and select Control Panel.

Settings Control Panel

Either way opens Control Panel in the view you left it at.


If you want easier access to the Control Panel from the Desktop. Read our article on how to pin Control Panel to the Taskbar.



  1. Makcalable

    I think it would be quicker just adding Godmode the old fashioned way, as I have shown here, most people still can’t even get of the start screen in windows 8 yet, never mind find the control panel. ;-)

  2. JD

    you lost me from the very beginning. i don’t have the control panel icon/tile on my metro screen. i really hate windows 8 and am going to install windows 7 on top of it.

    • Brian Burgess

      Actually this article was written during an earlier version of Windows 8, either the Developer Preview or Consumer Preview. I will update this over the weekend so it’s accurate.

      To get the traditional Control Panel, simply use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X and select Control Panel from the power user menu that comes up.

      Here’s an article on bringing up the power user menu I am talking about:

  3. iamtiger

    Or while on the desktop just type con….

  4. Alan

    Another way to access the ‘Power User Menu’, simply move the mouse to the bottom left of the screen and right click on the tile that comes up.

  5. Brian Burgess

    Yep. Just like with all versions of Windows, there a bunch of ways to get to different locations.

  6. Harry Hill

    Since Win 7 and I think also XP, I have used WIN KEY plus PAUSE
    to open up a section of the Cntl Panel. Win-8 is the same.

  7. Brian Burgess

    @Harry Hill Thanks for the great keyboard shortcut tip!

  8. CG

    is there a way to force 8 to look/act like 7? Can’t afford to buy 7, but laptop had 8 – hate it.

  9. Erika

    This totally helped out this old school mama. I am still trying to get used to these new computers. I am so damn old school my last computer’s serial number was 0003 lol. Thanks though!

  10. Brian Burgess

    @Erica Glad to have helped. If you want to learn even more about the new OS, check out our Complete Guide to Windows 8:

  11. sohail

    Thanks a lot for your help .

  12. Gillespie

    I hate windows 10.1 I bought a new computer 1 1/2 yrs ago and Best Buy said it had windows 10. It had a whole new page etc. know I down loaded this windows 10! This is crazy. I lost everything. I’m old lost and can’t figure out anything. Please tell me how to get back to my Yahoo home page. HELP!

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