Tutorial Windows: Ways to Access Windows 10 Settings

The way you configure settings in Windows has changed with almost every iteration of the OS. A rather chaotic split of the Control Panel was done back in Windows 8, placing some options in the Settings screen, optimized for touch-enabled devices. It became a lot more organized in Windows 10.

Microsoft kept the Control Panel intact in case you find the Settings panel too shallow or want more management options for Windows. Even so, you can still rely on the Settings panel for most options you need on a daily basis.

It’s pretty easy to navigate through areas of the Settings panel, but there are methods to make those you use the most accessible with a single mouse click. Either for aesthetics or practicality, we’re going to go through the steps required to make Settings accessible via the context menu, as well as desktop shortcuts.

Shortcuts to specific Windows Settings

1 ~ Pin to Start

Snooping through the Settings panel puts all you need to know in plain sight, and chances are you haven’t pressed the right mouse button, not even by mistake. In case you did, you probably noticed the only option is Pin to Start, which creates a neat live tile in the Start Menu. These can be set to three different size specifications, moved around, and arranged in groups.

2 ~ Desktop shortcuts

Every page in the Settings panel has a unique link attached to it, which Microsoft calls Uniform Resource Identifier, or URI. These links can be used to instantly access specific areas, and this can even be done by pasting the URI in the Run utility (Win + R). What’s more, they also make it possible to create desktop shortcuts of specific Settings pages.

Microsoft doesn’t put them in plain sight, but someone over at WinAero managed to find the time to create a list with URIs for all settings pages.

Battery Saver ms-settings:batterysaver
Battery Saver Settings ms-settings:batterysaver-settings
Battery use ms-settings:batterysaver-usagedetails
Bluetooth ms-settings:bluetooth
Colors ms-settings:colors
Data Usage ms-settings:datausage
Date and Time ms-settings:dateandtime
Closed Captioning ms-settings:easeofaccess-closedcaptioning
High Contrast ms-settings:easeofaccess-highcontrast
Magnifier ms-settings:easeofaccess-magnifier
Narrator ms-settings:easeofaccess-narrator
Keyboard ms-settings:easeofaccess-keyboard
Mouse ms-settings:easeofaccess-mouse
Other Options (Ease of Access) ms-settings:easeofaccess-otheroptions
Lockscreen ms-settings:lockscreen
Offline maps ms-settings:maps
Airplane mode ms-settings:network-airplanemode
Proxy ms-settings:network-proxy
VPN ms-settings:network-vpn
Notifications & actions ms-settings:notifications
Account info ms-settings:privacy-accountinfo
Calendar ms-settings:privacy-calendar
Contacts ms-settings:privacy-contacts
Other Devices ms-settings:privacy-customdevices
Feedback ms-settings:privacy-feedback
Location ms-settings:privacy-location
Messaging ms-settings:privacy-messaging
Microphone ms-settings:privacy-microphone
Motion ms-settings:privacy-motion
Radios ms-settings:privacy-radios
Speech, inking, & typing ms-settings:privacy-speechtyping
Camera ms-settings:privacy-webcam
Region & language ms-settings:regionlanguage
Speech ms-settings:speech
Windows Update ms-settings:windowsupdate
Work access ms-settings:workplace
Connected devices ms-settings:connecteddevices
For developers ms-settings:developers
Display ms-settings:display
Mouse & touchpad ms-settings:mousetouchpad
Cellular ms-settings:network-cellular
Dial-up ms-settings:network-dialup
DirectAccess ms-settings:network-directaccess
Ethernet ms-settings:network-ethernet
Mobile hotspot ms-settings:network-mobilehotspot
Wi-Fi ms-settings:network-wifi
Manage Wi-Fi Settings ms-settings:network-wifisettings
Optional features ms-settings:optionalfeatures
Family & other users ms-settings:otherusers
Personalization ms-settings:personalization
Backgrounds ms-settings:personalization-background
Colors ms-settings:personalization-colors
Start ms-settings:personalization-start
Power & sleep ms-settings:powersleep
Proximity ms-settings:proximity
Display ms-settings:screenrotation
options ms-settings:signinoptions
Storage Sense ms-settings:storagesense
Themes ms-settings:themes
Typing ms-settings:typing
Tablet mode ms-settings://tabletmode/
Privacy ms-settings:privacy

All that’s left now is to decide what page from the Settings panel you want on your desktop, and place the code inside a shortcut, just like the following steps describe the process.

Step 1: Right-click your desktop and from the New menu, select Shortcut.

Step 2: Paste in the code for the Settings page you want, and press Next.

Step 3: Give it a name so it can easily be recognized, and press finish to place the shortcut on your desktop.

Step 4: Right-click the shortcut to access its Properties panel. In the Web Document tab, press the Change Icon button to give it a proper look.

Useful Tips
You can click the Shortcut Key field and press a combination of buttons to launch the shortcut via hotkeys.
Press F2 to rename the shortcut. Delete everything. Hold down Alt, sequentially press 2 5 5 or 0 1 6 0 on the numpad), and then release Alt. This creates a blank character, which means your new shortcut is now only fitted with an icon.
3 ~ Context Menu

In case your Context Menu isn’t populated with too many third-party entries, there’s enough room to include a few extra options you frequently use. Unlike the method above, this one requires a bit more effort and attention, because registries need to be tweaked.

Important Note: Before adding any extra entries, be sure to back up registries.

Step 1: Press Win + R to open the Run utility. Write down regedit and press Enter to access the Registry Editor.

Step 2: Navigate to this location “ HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDirectoryBackgroundshell ”.

Step 3: Right-click the shell folder and choose to create a New Key. Give it the name you want to see in the context menu.

Step 4: Now, right-click the Key you just created and, again, choose to create a New Key with the name “ command “.

Step 5: Click the command folder to make its content visible in the right panel. Double-click the Default item (which is also the only one) in order to edit the Value Data field.

Step 6: Now, scroll up a bit and gram an URI from the table. It then needs to be inserted after “C:Windowsexplorer.exe” inside the Value Data field so that it looks like this:

"C:Windowsexplorer.exe" ms-settings:privacy

Note: Don’t forget to include the quotation marks.

Step 7: Do the same for all Settings you want to have in the context menu.

Step 8: Close the Registry Editor and right-click the desktop to view results.

If you decide you no longer need these entries in the Context Menu, simply delete the Keys (folders) you created. Changes are instantly applied, with no need to restart Explorer.

On an ending note

Sure enough, you might not modify settings on a daily basis, but some are pretty good to have around, such as Wi-Fi, Battery use, Airplane mode, VPN, or even the Camera. Even if it doesn’t take a lot of time to navigate using conventional ways, it’s good to know some other, faster methods such as these ones, as well for Control Panel items.