Although several “Control Panel” items have been moved to the Settings app on Windows 11 and Windows 10, the Settings app still offers a lot of customization. If you want to hide specific or all items of the Control Panel for various reasons, you can do so using Group Policy and Registry Editor on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. If you’re using a shared computer or giving your PC to a visitor, you may want to Hide Items from Control Panel so no one can mess with them. It’s also possible that you’ve set up a computer for business purposes but want to keep it open to visitors and customers, so you want to lock it down a little.
You can either completely disable your computer or hide a few settings in the Control Panel. If you have a Windows Pro or Enterprise edition, Local Group Policy Editor may be your first choice. If you prefer, you can use Registry Editor, which is compatible with all Windows editions.
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How to Hide Control Panel Items with Local Group Policy Editor?
- Open the Local Group Policy Editor.
- In the Local Group Policy Editor window, navigate to the following path:-User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control PanelThree settings are available on the right side of the Control Panel that will suit your needs. Let me go over each one in detail.
- Hide specified Control Panel item – When hiding specific items from the Control Panel, this policy comes in handy.
- Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings – Only Windows 11 and Windows 10 support this policy. If you enable this policy, you won’t be able to access the Control Panel or the Settings app.
- Show only specified Control Panel items – This policy is useful if you want to hide all items except those you specify.
- Depending on your needs, you can configure any of the policies listed above. For example, the third policy “Show only specified Control Panel items” will be configured here. To open the Properties dialog for this policy, double-click on it.
- Select Enabled from the drop-down menu.
- In the Options section, click the Show button.
- Type the name of the Control Panel item you want to allow in the pop-up window. The full name of the control panel item must be entered here. Open the Control Panel and change the “View by” to “Large icons” or “Small icons” to find the item’s name.In the pop-up window, type AutoPlay if you only want to AutoPlay in the control panel. You can also add more items in a separate line.
- When you’re finished with the list, click the OK button.
- Click the Apply button. Then OK.
Finally restart your computer.
Check out the Control Panel. Control panel items will be visible or hidden depending on the configuration you’ve done.
If you want to restore the control panel’s default settings, repeat the steps above, but this time select the Not Configured option in step 3.
How to Hide Control Panel Items using Registry Editor?
- Go to the Registry Editor and open it.
- From the left sidebar of the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies
- Check that the Explorer sub-key is present under the Policies key. You may proceed if it exists as shown in the screenshot above. Otherwise, right-click on the Policies key and choose New > Key from the context menu. Explorer is the name of the newly created key. We’ll move on to the next step now that the Explorer key is present on my computer.
- You now have two options to think about. Create a disallow list to hide specific items from the Control Panel, or a restricted list to hide all items except the ones you specify.Once you decide what you want, right-click on the Explorer key and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. To hide specific items by creating a disallow list, name the new DWORD as DisallowCPL. If you have decided to hide all items except those you specify by creating a restrict list, name the new value RestrictCPL instead.
- In the right-hand pane, double-click the newly created DWORD value to open its properties. Change the value in the Value data box from 0 to 1 and then click OK.
- This setting is now active on your computer. The next step is to make a shopping list. To do so, right-click on the Explorer key and select New > Key. If you’re disallowing items, give the new key the name DisallowCPL; if you’re restricting items, give it the name RestrictCPL.
- Finally, add the items to the list by creating a new string value for each one. By adding a string value to our new DisallowCPL key, we can disable the AutoPlay Control Panel item, for example. Those who want to restrict items can do so by adding them to the RestrictCPL key you created earlier. To do so, right-click the DisallowCPL key and select New > String Value from the context menu. The full name as seen in Control Panel should be used to name the new string value.
- Now double-click the String you created and type the same name as in Control Panel in the Value data box. For example, I am excluding AutoPlay from the list of prohibited items.
- Select OK.
If you want to add more items, you’ll need to create a new string.
That is all there is to it. Open the control panel and take a look. If you’ve created a disallow list, you’ll notice that the string value item you created has vanished from the Control Panel window. The item for which you created the string value will only appear in the Control Panel window if you have created a restricted list. AutoPlay is now hidden from Control Panel in our example.
If you want to remove an item from the list in the future, return to Registry Editor and delete the value you created for it. Simply change the DisallowCPL or RestrictCPL value you created from 1 to 0 to completely disable the setting. This feature will now be turned off.
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