Sunday, January 9, 2011

Enable Hidden Secret Control Panel Items in Windows Vista and 7

Did you know Windows Vista and 7 hide some important items in Control Panel from you? Surprised? Lets talk in details!
Actually Windows allows you to show or hide specific items in Control Panel using simple registry trick which is described in details in following tutorial:

Using the same trick Microsoft has disabled some items in Control Panel in Windows Vista and 7 for no reason. Really, those hidden items are useful and might be very important for some users but for some unknown reason, those are hidden by default.
Today in this tutorial, we'll tell you how to enable those hidden items in Control Panel so that you can access them whenever you want.
1. Type regedit in RUN or Startmenu Search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\don't load
3. The above mentioned key contains some .CPL entries in right-side pane which makes them hidden in Control Panel.
4. You can simply delete the "don't load" key and all hidden items will be enabled in Control Panel.
PS: Windows 7 users! Please read NOTE 1, NOTE 2 and NOTE 3 given at the end of this tutorial before deleting the key.
As you can see in the above screenshot, the items pointed in dark were hidden by default but now they are enabled using this registry trick.
NOTE 1: If you delete the whole "don't load" key in Windows 7, you might get some duplicate items in Control Panel e.g., you'll get 2 Keyboard, 2 Mouse, 2 Sound entries in Control Panel. To fix this issue, don't delete the whole key, instead only delete following entries from right-side pane:
NOTE 2: Windows Vista allows you to delete the registry key but Windows 7 will not allow you. You'll need to take permission on the key before deleting it. You can use following simple steps to take permission:
  • Right-click on the "don't load" key and select "Permissions...".
  • It'll open a dialog box, Click on "Advanced" button.
  • It'll open another dialog box, Go to "Owner" tab.
  • Select your Username from the list and click on "Apply" button and then OK.
  • Again click on OK button in the first dialog box.
  • Now again right-click on the same key and select "Permissions...".
  • Select your Username in the list and check the "Allow" option for "Full Control".
  • Click on Apply button and then OK.
NOTE 3: If by any chance you deleted the whole "don't load" key in Windows 7 and getting duplicate items in Control Panel, you can download following ZIP file, extract it and run the extracted .REG file. It'll fix the issue and you'll no longer get duplicate items:

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