Streamline access to essential administrative tasks

In Top Ten, "Rundll32 Shortcuts," July 2002, InstantDoc ID 25339, you learned how to directly run several Windows configuration wizards from the command line. Now, to help you further streamline your administrative efforts, I show you how to build shortcuts to 10 of the most commonly used Control Panel applets. Simply enter the commands listed for each applet, and add the shortcuts to your Start menu, a desktop icon, or a folder to create custom control panels for your users. I tested these shortcuts in Windows 2000, but they also work in Windows XP (most of them will also work in Windows NT 4.0).

Power Options Properties applet—Laptop users regularly need to adjust the power properties they use. For example, you can use this applet to switch from Portable/Mobile mode when you're on the road to Home/Office Desk mode when you're in the office.

control powercfg.cpl

Phone and Modem Options applet—Suppose you're on the road and need to quickly adjust your laptop modem's dialing rules. This shortcut lets you directly access the Phone and Modem Options applet.

control modem.cpl

Display Properties applet—This applet lets you select your wallpaper and screen savers (and password-protect your screen saver), as well as adjust visual effects and display settings.

control desk.cpl

Add/Remove Programs applet—Using this applet, you can view and remove currently installed programs, and you can update their installed feature sets. If you need to recover disk space, removing old programs is a good first step.

control appwiz.cpl

Printers Folder applet—Managing printouts and controlling the status of your printer is one of the most common system-management functions that the Printers Folder applet provides. To enable direct access to the Printers folder, enter

control printers

Sounds and Multimedia Properties applet—This applet lets you manage your system's sound events, adjust the sound volume, and manage audio devices. I use this applet first when I troubleshoot system sound problems.

control mmsys.cpl

Date/Time Properties applet—Access this applet to adjust your system's date and time settings and set your local time zone.

control timedate.cpl

Internet Properties applet—Use this applet to set your browser's home page; clear your system's history links; delete temporary Internet files (which can consume a surprising amount of disk storage); set your preferred browser, email, and newsgroup applications; and perform other Internet-related tasks.

control inetcpl.cpl

Network and Dial-up Connections applet—This applet lets you view the status of your network connections and change your network configuration properties, among other important functions.

control ncpa.cpl

System Properties applet—This applet is probably the most important Control Panel feature. The applet's General tab displays the OS level and service pack information. Other tabs let you adjust many other important system properties, such as changing your system's network identification, running Device Manager to manage hardware devices, and editing environment variables.

control sysdm.cpl