Supporting users running Windows

This week’s tip comes from reader Bruce Millar who shares some tech support experience that might help those who support users whose PCs are running various versions of Windows:

Mitch, the Control panels can be easy to access. I have no experience with win 8 but I have found that making a folder full of shortcuts to the control panel programs is a useful way to get things done in a hurry.

Go to the C-Drive and search for *.cpl and sort by location. Select all the ones in the system folder and right click – create shortcut. Create a folder on the desktop for them and holding CTRL click on each til all are selected and drag to the folder.

Clicking on each one you can change the names on the shortcuts, to Bluetooth from bthprops.cpl for instance, so it is easier to remember what they do.  This makes it quick to access by a few clicks or taps.

When I was doing tech support by phone the one that got the most awesome response from people was instructing a right handed customer how to make a shortcut on the desktop to main.cpl. When the left handed person in the house had changed the left right button mode it always seemed to infuriate the ‘righty’. A couple of click on the shortcut opened the mouse control panel and two clicks got the buttons changed back.

Inetcpl.cpl  and appwiz.cpl are my most frequently used shortcuts to activate internet options and add remove programs.

I sincerely hope Microsoft never does away with mouse and keyboard since a touch screen would be impossible or very difficult for a handicapped person such as a Thalidomide survivor or such to use in most cases. The freedom of access that computers has given these people is phenomenal and I would hate to see it compromised. Anything that makes it necessary to add another level of outside support or more expensive work by a tech to allow them to use their computer is adding unfair expense to their lives.

I forgot to include the suggestion to select the .cpl’s in the system folder since in win 7 they appear many times. In win 7 you can invoke them by clicking start – run – enter cmd and type in the cpl you want. In XP and earlier you just had to start – run  and type it in.

The above tip was previously published in an issue of WServerNews, a weekly newsletter from TechGenix that focuses on the administration, management and security of the Windows Server platform in particular and cloud solutions in general. Subscribe to WServerNews today by going to and join almost 100,000 other IT professionals around the world who read our newsletter!

Mitch Tulloch is an eleven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud computing technologies.  Mitch is also Senior Editor of WServerNews. For more information about him see


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