Windows Tutorial - Control Panel & Settings I
Control panel provides options to customize the appearance and functionality of computer, add hardware, add or remove programs/ applications, set up user accounts, set up network connections, set properties of hardware devices etc. The Control Panel window can be opened by
(Click 'Start' button >> Hover mouse on 'Settings' >> Click on 'Control Panel'
Control Panel (Classic View)
Control Panel (Category View)
In Windows XP, user can select 'Classic View' or 'Category View' of the Control Panel and can switch from one view to another by selecting the desired view from left panel. In 'Classic View' all control items are displayed in a single window. The 'Category View' (Windows XP default) displaysicons for making various settings. On this page, we have shown access to various control panel menu items from 'Classic View'.
Some important menu items of Control Panel and settings that can be made from them are discussed below:
Accessibility Options : This provides options for changing settings of computer for vision (high contrast for users with poor eye sight), hearing (sound for visual warnings by the system), and other keyboard and mouse settings for users who find it difficult to use the computer in normal way.
This opens 'Add Hardware Wizard' to detect and install software/drivers for the hardware added to the computer. The wizard installs software/drivers for hardware items added to the computer from its driver database or prompts the user to insert the software/driver disk provided by the hardware manufacturer or to download the software/drivers for the new hardware. This menu item is not required to be used in Windows XP as the system automatically detects new hardware added to the computer and starts the wizard to install software/drivers for the new hardware. It is recommended to install software/drivers provided by the manufacturer and follow hisinstructions to install the hardware.
Add or Remove Programs
A click on this icon opens a window from where you can
- Change or Remove Programs : A click on this icon opens a list of all programs/applications installed is displayed in the right panel. On selecting any program/application a dialogue box asking for your confirmation to remove/change the program is displayed. If accepted, Windows deletes directories and files created by the program, removes its icons or shortcuts from desktop, Program Menu, Quick Launch bar, Notification area and also deletes/ amends entries made by the program in Windows' files. Please note that deleting directories or files of a program or application neither removes shortcuts created by the program nor it deletes/amends entries in Windows' files. This may result in improper functioning of the computer. Therefore, if a program/application is not required any more, it should be removed/uninstalled by using this menu or by using 'Uninstall' application, if available with the program to be removed.
- Add New Programs : You can install new programs/ applications by using this icon from any drive/disk. This item is not required to used much as most programs come in auto run CDs or they can be installed by executing the Setup or Install file of the program from Windows Explorer of from 'Run' in 'Start' button menu.
- Add/ Remove Window Components: A click on this icon opens a window displaying list of Window components installed (Checkbox ticked), partly installed (Checkbox ticked but grey) and not installed (Checkbox unticked). The list also display the data storage space occupied by the component.To remove a component tick on its name and it will be removed by Windows. To add a component, Windows may prompt you to insert the Windows Setup Disk. If you have Setup program copied on your disk, browse and point to the setup files.
- Set Program Access and Defaults : Enable user to set default programs for web browsing, email and set accessible programs from the Start Menu. This menu item can also be directly accessed from Start button menu.
A click on this menu item or a right click anywhere in the blank area of the desktop opens a window from where you can change display settings of your computer.
- Theme :
Theme refers to a unified look for computer desktop. A theme determines the look of various graphic elements of the desktop, such as the windows, icons, fonts, colors, and the background and screen saver pictures. It can also define sounds associated with events such as opening or closing a program. Windows XP and Classic Themes are the two choicesthemes available in Windows XP. You can download and use more themes from Microsoft's site or any other site.
If there are more than one user on a computer, each user with his or her own user account can choose a different theme.
- Desktop : This enables you to change the background image called wallpaper of the desktop. You can choose the image from the available wallpapers in Windows or download a wall paper or use an image of your choice as wallpaper by browsing and pointing to the image file.
- Screen Saver :
In a CRT monitor if same picture is displayed for long periods of time, the properties of the exposed areas of phosphor coating on the inside of the screen gradually and permanently change, eventually leading to a darkened shadow or "ghost" image on the screen. Screen saver programs are designed to help avoid these effects by automatically changing the images on the screen during periods of user inactivity.
This menu item enables to install a screen saver from the available screen saver in Windows or use a screen saver of your choice and make setting for idle time for screen saver to start and also settings relating to screen saver software.
- Appearance : Enables you to customize style, color and fonts of windows and its components.
- Settings : A click on 'Settings' opens a window from where you can select the resolutionand color quality of your monitor screen. Resolution is the number of pixels displayed on the screen. A higher resolution will display larger area of the picture on the screen and therefore the size of picture on screen will become smaller. Higher color quality displays true colors of images.However, the resolution and color quality selection is limited by the capabilities of your monitor and graphic adaptor/ Video card. On changing resolution or color quality, the monitor screen will blink to reconfigure (required restart of computer in earlier Windows versions) and display a dialogue box to accept or decline the change. The settings window also display two buttons 'Troubleshoot' and 'Advanced'. While a click on 'Troubleshoot' button starts interactive trouble shooting application of Windows XP, a click on Advanced button will display settings and properties of your monitor and graphic adaptor/video cards. These settings should not be changed without reference to the settings manual of your monitor and/or graphic adaptor/video card.