How to enumerate and run available Control Panel applications


This article explains how to extract a list of available Control Panel applications and how to execute them from the command line or from another program.

More Information

The Control.exe file is a utility included with Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 that launches control panel applications. Applications can use the following command line to start a Control Panel applet:
C:\>control.exe mycontrol.cpl
This starts the first Control Panel applet in Mycontrol.cpl. If you have multiple Control Panel applets in Mycontrol.cpl, you need to add the name of the Control Panel applet to the command line as demonstrated in the following:
 Control.exe Mycontrol.cpl,My Control
To enumerate the list of available Control Panel applications in a *.cpl file, you can use the following program sample code:
// Control Panel Enumeration
#include <stdio.h>
#include <windows.h>
#include <cpl.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv, char **envp)
union {
} Newcpl;

HINSTANCE hLib; // Library Handle to *.cpl file
APPLET_PROC CplCall; // Pointer to CPlApplet() function

// -------------------
if (!(hLib = LoadLibrary(argv[1])))
return 1;
if (!(CplCall=(APPLET_PROC)GetProcAddress(hLib,"CPlApplet")))
return 2;

// -------------------
CplCall(NULL, CPL_INIT,0,0); // Init the *.cpl file

for (i=0;i<CplCall(NULL,CPL_GETCOUNT,0,0);i++)
printf("Control %s",argv[1]);

Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwSize = 0;
Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwFlags = 0;

if (Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwSize == sizeof(NEWCPLINFOW))
{ // Case #1, CPL_NEWINQUIRE has returned an Unicode String
wprintf(L",%s\n", Newcpl.NewCplInfoW.szName);
{ // Case #2, CPL_NEWINQUIRE has returned an ANSI String
if (Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwSize != sizeof(NEWCPLINFOA))
// Case #3, CPL_NEWINQUIRE failed to return a string
// Get the string from the *.cpl Resource instead

printf(",%s\n", Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.szName);
} // for


// -------------------
return 0;
This program (Enumcpl.exe) will take one *.cpl file as a parameter and print the available Control Panel applications in that file.

For example, to enumerate all installed *.cpl files on a system:
C:\>for %i in ( c:\winnt\system32\*.cpl ) do @enumcpl %i
Control c:\winnt\system32\ups.cpl,&UPS
Control c:\winnt\system32\telephon.cpl,Telephony
Control c:\winnt\system32\ups.cpl,&UPS
Control c:\winnt\system32\telephon.cpl,Telephony
Control c:\winnt\system32\srvmgr.cpl,Ser&ver
Control c:\winnt\system32\srvmgr.cpl,Servi&ces
Control c:\winnt\system32\srvmgr.cpl,&Devices
Control c:\winnt\system32\ncpa.cpl,Network
Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Mouse
Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Keyboard
Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Printers
Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Fonts
Control c:\winnt\system32\odbccp32.cpl,OD&BC
Control c:\winnt\system32\console.cpl,Console
Control c:\winnt\system32\appwiz.cpl,Add/Remove Programs
Control c:\winnt\system32\access.cpl,Accessibility Options
Control c:\winnt\system32\inetcpl.cpl,Internet
Control c:\winnt\system32\DESK.CPL,Display
Control c:\winnt\system32\DEVAPPS.CPL,PC Card (PCMCIA)
Control c:\winnt\system32\DEVAPPS.CPL,SCSI Adapters
Control c:\winnt\system32\DEVAPPS.CPL,Tape Devices
Control c:\winnt\system32\INTL.CPL,Regional Settings
Control c:\winnt\system32\MMSYS.CPL,Multimedia
Control c:\winnt\system32\MMSYS.CPL,Sounds
Control c:\winnt\system32\MODEM.CPL,Modems
Control c:\winnt\system32\PORTS.CPL,Ports
Control c:\winnt\system32\SYSDM.CPL,System
Control c:\winnt\system32\TIMEDATE.CPL,Date/Time
Any one of these lines can be executed to start the corresponding Control Panel application from the command line.

Using RunDLL32 can also be used to debug a Control Panel application, by using the RunDLL32.exe as the program and the string generated above as the arguments to RunDLL32.


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