While Microsoft has moved a large number of features to the Settings app, you can still use the Control Panel to configure and troubleshoot Windows. Unfortunately, the Control Panel will sometimes refuse to let you in, leaving you unable to perform specific fixes.
Fortunately, we have put together a list of 7 solutions you can use to fix the Control Panel.
1. Try Some Quick, Common Fixes First
Before we take a look at the other, more advanced solutions on this list, give these quick solutions a quick try.
First, restart your computer. If you put your computer in sleep mode once you’ve finished your work for the day, you are not giving it the chance to flush its memory, shut down or update programs. So giving it a chance to restart the processes might fix your issue.
Additionally, make sure there is no pending Windows update. Open Settings and head to Update & Security > Windows update. There, click the Check for updates button.
If you try these fixes and you still can’t open Control Panel, move on to the next solutions.
2. Open Control Panel From File Explorer
If you don’t have the time to troubleshoot Control Panel, you can still open it via File Explorer. Go to This PC > Local Disk (C:) > Windows > System 32 and search for appwiz.cpl. From the search results, open appwiz.cpl and this will take you to Programs and Features within Control Panel.
Finally, click Control Panel from the address bar.
3. Run a Quick Virus Scan
Malware or corrupted system files could affect your system and stop Control Panel from opening. You can scan your system for malware using an installed antivirus, or you can use the built-in Windows tool.
Follow these steps to run a quick scan with Windows Defender:
- Open Settings by pressing Win + I.
- Head to Update & Security > Windows Security.
- Select Open Windows Security.
- Click Virus & threat protection > Quick scan.
Once Windows completes the process, restart your computer and check if you can open Control Panel.
If Windows Defender couldn’t identify any malware within your system, but you still want to double-check, you can run a System File Checker (or SFC) scan.
- Input command prompt in the Start menu search bar and choose the Run as administrator option.
- Type sfc /scannow.
- Press Enter to launch the scan.
If Windows detects malware or corrupted files, it will replace them on its own. Once it finishes the scan, restart your computer and try to open Control Panel.
5. Check Windows Services
If one of the services that Windows runs in the background stopped working, it could cause all sorts of issues, including the inability to open the Control Panel.
Follow these steps to make sure the Software Protection service is running:
- Input services in the Start menu search bar and click Run as administrator.
- Open Software Protection.
- Check if Status is Running.
- If Status is Stopped, click the Start button.
- Click Apply > OK to save the new changes.
Additionally, you need to take a look at the Windows Error Reporting Service. This service is known for interfering with Control Panel functionality and sometimes stops it from launching.
In the Services window, locate and open Windows Error Reporting. If Status is not Stopped, click Stop to disable this service. Then, click Apply > OK to save your new system changes.
6. Acces the Policy Editor
If none of the solutions mentioned above helped you fix Control Panel, you should take a look at Local Group Policy Editor.
- Press Win + R to bring up a Run dialog.
- Type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
- Navigate to User Configuration > Administrative Templates.
- There, double-click Control Panel.
- From the right-side list, open Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings.
- Select Not Configured.
- Click Apply > OK to save your new changes.
7. Delete Specific Keys From the Windows Registry
Deleting the BagMRU and Bags keys might fix the issue. Here is how you can do it:
- Input registry editor in the Start menu search bar and click Run as administrator.
- Head to Computer > HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Classes > LocalSettings > Software > Microsoft > Windows > Shell.
- Expand Shell.
- Delete BagMRU and Bags.
Before editing Windows Registry, create a restore point for your system since deleting registry files could lead to major problems with your computer.
Regaining Control of the Control Panel
It brings no pleasure to work on a computer without being able to configure its settings. Fortunately, getting the Control Panel fixed again is a pretty easy procedure, and hopefully one of the steps above did the trick for you.
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