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How can I run a control panel applet from the command line?

A. A. It is possible to run Control Panel applets from the command line by just typing

control <applet name>

There are some instances when the .cpl file represents more than one control panel applet when you need to pass a parameter of which applet to run, below is a list

  • srvmgr.cpl - use services, devices or server
  • main.cpl - Fonts, Mouse, Printers or Keyboard
  • mmsys.cpl - Sounds or Multimedia

e.g. control main.cpl printers
will run the printer control panel applet

However it is better to associate the .cpl extension with control.exe, which means you only need to type the applet name. This is accomplished using the assoc and ftype commands

assoc .cpl=ControlFile
ftype ControlFile=control.exe %1 %*

You can now just enter the command and it will run (be sure to include the .cpl extension).

For a full list of control panel applets to .cpl files see Q. What are the .cpl files in the system32 directory?

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