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May Tech Talks – Going Where The Music Takes Us
I don’t have a particular theme for March in mind so I’m going to see what pops up in daily computer work that I use to either make my life easier or that someone wiser’s taught me along the way. Check out this week’s adventure …
Control Panel Blues
I use my Control Panel at least once a week and I really don’t like the “friendly” Control Panel that Windows 10 implemented. It’s REALLY difficult to find things that you want in a hurry. Maybe it’s just my unfamiliarity with it, but I think it really sucks. It’s designed to stop us from shooting ourselves in the feet, but it’s too simplistic and hard to navigate.
Come on! We’re more mature than that, aren’t we? Well, okay…sometimes we are. Anyhow, the new interface is REALLY frustrating.
The Good News: Microsoft left the legacy Control Panel (Windows 7 Vintage) in the operating system.
The Bad News: It’s buried and hard to find.
How Do I Get the Legacy Control Panel on Windows 10?
Well, we have a couple of ways. All of them easy but you have to know where to look.
If you have Cortana set up to accept voice commands (and I highly recommend it – Hey! Maybe next week’s Tech Talk?), just say “Hey, Cortana” and ask her to open the Control Panel. Simple. I don’t use Cortana that much because I have a lot of background noise on most days so using her hasn’t become a habit.
If you don’t have Cortana set up for voice commands, you can still use her search bar to type in Control Panel. Then just click on the Control Panel that says Desktop App underneath it.
Search the Start Menu for the Control Panel
Microsoft had the intelligence to put the Start Menu back into Windows 10. After they launched Windows 8 without it and promptly got slapped by users all over the world for it, they added it back in. It wasn’t exactly the same but it worked. The Windows 10 Start Menu drives smoother, but again the Control Panel is buried.
Left click the windows icon in the lower left to bring up your start menu. With the legacy Start Menu, the Control Panel was right there next to a list of all your applications. The new Start Menu is more visual but the Application list is way longer now.
You can either scroll all the way down to the W’s or you can left click either the # or the A to get a popup with the alphabet on it and left click W. Either way, we need to get to a folder that says ‘Windows System’ next to it.
Left click the down arrow next to the folder, find Control Panel in the list and the give it a left click. The legacy Control Panel will open.
Let’s Make This One Step Easier
Close the Control Panel you just opened (click the x in the upper left).
Go through this process again:
Scroll all the way down to the W’s or you can left click either the # or the A to get a popup with the alphabet on it and left click W.
Get to the folder that says ‘Windows System’ next to it.
Left click the down arrow next to the folder, find Control Panel in the list and THIS time give it a RIGHT click. A drop-down will appear with the first choice being ‘Pin to Start’. Left Click this and a square will appear in the visual half of the Start Menu with the Control Panel Icon in it.
Click that square and the Control Panel opens up. Much easier and no searching.
Visual Start Menu (Bonus Info)
The technique above (Right-clicking an application and choosing ‘Pin to Start’) can be used on any application. There’s also a ‘More’ with a right arrow next to it as a choice under ‘Pin to Start’ if you click the arrow, a drop down will appear with more choices of where you can pin or copy the Control Panel icon, including your Taskbar at the bottom of the screen.
I would suggest only pinning those applications that you use regularly to the Taskbar so it doesn’t become cluttered.
To organize your Visual Start Menu into any pattern that suits your work by dragging and dropping the application squares around. You can also delete any square you don’t want to see on the Visual Start Menu by right-clicking it and choosing ‘Unpin from Start Menu’. This will just delete the icon and not the application.
That’s All She Wrote!
Stayed Tuned for next week, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of writing and editing with keyboard shortcuts.
Say ‘To Tech with IT’ and go out and tame your tech monster!
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