Always open All Control Panel Items when opening Control Panel

The default behaviour of the Control Panel view is to load the view selected in your last Control Panel session. If you need to change this default behaviour and force Control Panel to display all items upon loading then you can either tweak the registry or use Group Policy to set a default view irrespective of your last session modifications.

Let’s start with the Group Policy option as this is the recommended option to set things on your machine. This policy setting controls the default Control Panel view, whether by category or icons. If this policy setting is enabled, the Control Panel opens to the icon view. If this policy setting is disabled, the Control Panel opens to the category view. If this policy setting is not configured, the Control Panel opens to the view used in the last Control Panel session.

  1. To configure this policy on a single Windows 7 computer, open the Local Group Policy Editor snap-in by typing gpedit.msc in the Start search text box and pressing enter.
  2. Go to Local Computer Policy\User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel node. 
  3. Double click Always open All Control Panel Items when opening Control Panel in the right hand side pane. 
  4. Select the Enabled radio button, and then click Apply and OK.

To use the registry option you need to create a new REG_DWORD called ForceClassicControlPanel as follows:

  1. Start the registry editor by typing regedit in the Start menu search text box and press enter.
  2. Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
  3. REG_DWORD (32-bit) Value name: ForceClassicControlPanel
  4. Value: 1 (1=enable, 0=disable)

A word of caution – incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. The above modifications are intended for Windows advanced users who are familiar with the registry editor. Users are also reminded to back up the registry before making any critical changes.

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