Restore Classic Control Panel shortcuts to Win+X menu in Windows 10

Starting with Windows 10 build 14942, Microsoft has replaced the classic Control Panel applets in the Win+X menu with their counterparts in the Settings app. In this article, we will see how to restore the good old applets and get rid of the Settings pages.


If you installed one of the latest Windows 10 "Redstone 2" builds from scratch, many Win+X menu items will point to pages in the Settings app. In Windows 10 builds prior to 14942, these items used to open the appropriate classic Control Panel applets. If you are not happy with this change, you can restore classic shortcuts as described below.

As of this writing, it is possible to restore classic Control Panel commands in the Win + X menu without issues. However, keep in mind that Microsoft is actively working on removing the Control Panel completely from Windows 10. So one day, the classic applets may stop working and become inaccessible.

I've prepared an archive with all classic Win+X menu commands, which you can use to restore the applets. It contains all the commands which were replaced in the latest Windows 10 version:

Pick the commands you would like to restore and place them in the Win+X location as shown below.

  1. Download the archive from here: Download classic Win + X menu commands
  2. Extract them to any folder.
    extract-shortcuts extract-shortcuts-2
    The contents of the archive are just shortcuts arranged in two folders named "Group 3" and "Group 2" as per the Win+X menu structure. extracted-shortcuts-1 extracted-shortcuts-2 extracted-shortcuts-3
  3. Unblock all files at once in the extracted folders Group 2 and Group 3 as described here:
    Batch unblock files downloaded from Internet in Windows 10

    unblock-files-1 unblock-files-2
  4. Open a new File Explorer window and point it to the following location:
    %LocalAppdata%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX

    Type this location in the address bar of File Explorer to open the destination folder directly. See the following screenshot. open-app-data-winx-folder

  5. Backup this folder's contents so you can restore the Settings shortcuts in case you change your mind in the future. Select and copy all the items inside the Win+X folder to some other folder on your disk drive. backup-shortcuts-1 backup-shortcuts-2 backup-shortcuts-3
  6. Put the desired shortcuts you would like to restore from the extracted "Group 3" folder to the folder
    %LocalAppdata%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group 3

    For example, to make "Programs and features" open the classic Control Panel applet, copy the file "10 - Programs and Features" from the folder where you extracted the archive to the folder %LocalAppdata%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group 3. restore-classic-shortcuts restore-classic-shortcuts-2

  7. Confirm the prompt "Replace the file in the destination" if asked. In my case, I cut Settings shortcuts and copied classic applet shortcuts in the destination folder.
  8. Now, sign out from your Windows 10 account or just restart Explorer. restart-explorer

You are done. Now the Win + X menu will contain all classic Control Panel commands that you put back!

Watch the following video to see the trick in action and subscribe to Winaero on YouTube:

classic-applets-restored-1 classic-applets-restored-2 classic-applets-restored-3

You can also customize Win + X menu using my freeware app Win + X Menu editor. It will allow you to take full control of the Win+X menu's contents. You can use it to remove any existing item and add any application, Control Panel applet or Windows shell folder there.

For example, you can add the classic UAC Settings applet to Win+X menu as follows.

Click on the "Add a program" dropdown button. In the submenu which appears, select "Add a program". Add a program

The Open file dialog will appear, select the following file there:

C:\Windows\System32\UserAccountControlSettings.exe

The application will request you to name the item you are going to add. Enter the desired name, for example, "UAC Settings": Name the item

Now, click the "Restart Explorer" button to make the new item appear in the Win+X menu: restart explorer

Open the Win+X menu and you will see a new item UAC Settings, which you can start using immediately. Uac settings item

That's it.

2 thoughts on “Restore Classic Control Panel shortcuts to Win+X menu in Windows 10

  1. Toshik

    What if one use Classic Shell with shortcut in it for Control Panel.

    Is it working?

    Reply
    1. Bob

      Yes of course. Classic Shell is better than the Win+X menu.

      Reply

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