Restore the Control Panel Link in Windows 10’s Win+X Menu

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here, but I hate it when new software versions either take away or hide useful capabilities that were easily available in previous versions of that software. Fortunately, there’s usually a way around situations like that though.

Microsoft added the Windows-X menu to Windows 8 in an effort to bring back some of the missing start menu links that it removed when it redesigned the start menu. The Windows 8 or Windows 10 start menu does not contain a link to the Control Panel for instance. The most likely explanation is that Microsoft removed it because it wants to move all Control Panel items to the new Settings application eventually.

Users have been waiting for that day for years though and it is unclear whether the full migration is going to happen in 2017 when Microsoft plans to release two new feature updates for Windows 10.

The keyboard shortcut Windows-X opens a menu in the lower left area of the screen that offers links to the Control Panel and various other important tools or settings including an elevated command prompt, the event viewer or power management.

Restore Control Panel link in Windows 10’s Win+X menu

control panel win-x

If you have installed the latest Windows 10 Insider Build you may have noticed that the Control Panel link is missing in the menu. We don’t know why it was removed, only that it removes one option for users to open the Windows Control Panel.

While you may still open it using the Windows-Pause keyboard shortcut (this opens the System applet of the Control Panel), you may want to add the Control Panel link to the Windows-X menu if you used it primarily to open the Windows Control Panel.

You have two options to do that.

Option 1: Win+X Menu Editor

winx menu editor

Win+X Menu Editor is a free program for Windows 8 and 10 that allows you to manage all Win-X menu items.

The Win+X Menu Editor by WinAero was created for Windows 8 but has been updated to be compatible with Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system as well.

You may use it to remove links that you don’t need, and add links to programs or system tools that you may need.

The program has not been updated in a while, and it still displays the Control Panel link in Group 2 on launch even though it is no longer displayed in the Win-X menu.

You may add the Control Panel link to any group in the following way:

  1. Launch the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Win+X Menu Editor on the Windows 10 device.
  2. Select the group you want to add the Control Panel link to (by left-clicking on it).
  3. Select “Add a program” > “Add a Control Panel item” > Control Panel.
  4. This adds a Control Panel link to the selected group.

That’s all there is to the operation. You may use the editor to remove links you don’t need, or add links to tools or programs that you use frequently.

Option 2: the manual way

The German blog Deskmodder has a post up that explains how to add the Control Panel link to the Win-X manually.

It involves downloading the old shortcut file and replacing the new one with the old. This requires quite a bit of work, as you should back up the old file, and may need to change a system setting to display hidden files.

  1. Download the old shortcut from the Deskmodder site.
  2. Open %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group2 in File Explorer.
  3. Back up all entries listed in the folder.
  4. Copy the downloaded Control Panel link to the Group2 folder. It will replace the current link.
  5. Restart Explorer, for instance by using the Task Manager.

Closing Words

Is the removal of the Control Panel link a hint that Microsoft will soon move all Control Panel items to the Settings application? We don’t know yet as Microsoft has not mentioned the change in the release notes.

It could also be an oversight on Microsoft’s part, something that has happened in the past.

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