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How to Change the Default Control Panel View in Windows
By default, the Windows Control Panel defaults to the last view you used—Category, Large Icons, or Small Icons. If you prefer, you can make it always open to a particular view using a quick Registry or Group Policy hack.
Home Users: Set the Default Control Panel View by Editing the Registry
If you have a Windows Home edition, you will have to edit the Windows Registry to make these changes. You can also do it this way if you have Windows Pro or Enterprise, but feel more comfortable working in the Registry than Local Group Policy Editor. (If you have Pro or Enterprise, though, we recommend using the easier Local Group Policy Editor, as described in the next section.)
To get started, open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit.” Press Enter to open Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.
In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key:
Next, create a new value inside the
There are technically three states you can use to control the default Control Panel View:
You can now close Registry Editor. Changes are immediate, so go play with the Control Panel window a bit and see if it’s working the way you want. And if you want to revert to the default Windows behavior where Control Panel opens to the last view used, just go back into Registry Editor and delete the
Download Our One-Click Registry Hacks
If you don’t feel like diving into the Registry yourself, we’ve created two downloadable registry hacks you can use. One hack forces the Control Panel to open to category view, one forces it to open to icon view, and the third restores the default where Control Panel opens to the last view you used. All three are included in the following ZIP file. Double-click the one you want to use and click through the prompts.
These hacks are really just the
Pro and Enterprise Users: Set the Default Control Panel View with the Local Group Policy Editor
If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, the easiest way to set the default Control Panel view is by using the Local Group Policy Editor. It’s a pretty powerful tool, so if you’ve never used it before, it’s worth taking some time to learn what it can do. Also, if you’re on a company network, do everyone a favor and check with your admin first. If your work computer is part of a domain, it’s also likely that it’s part of a domain group policy that will supersede the local group policy, anyway.
In Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, hit Start, type “gpedit.msc,” and then press Enter.
In the Local Group Policy Editor, in the left-hand pane, drill down to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel. On the right, find the “Always open All Control Panel Items when opening Control Panel” setting and double-click it.
In the properties window that opens, you can configure things one of three ways:
After you’ve made your selection, click “OK.”
You can now exit the Local Group Policy Editor. Changes are immediate, so there’s no need to restart your PC. Just go test things by opening Control Panel a few times and changing the views around. If at any time you want to revert to the default behavior, just follow the same procedure and set that option back to “Not Configured.”