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This article describes the purpose and usage of Control Panel (.cpl) files.

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Each tool in Control Panel is represented by a .cpl file in the Windows\ System folder. The .cpl files in the Windows\System folder are loaded automatically when you start Control Panel. Note that Control Panel files are sometimes loaded using entries in the [MMCPL] section of the Control.ini file.

The following table lists the most common .cpl files, including all the .cpl files included with Windows:

File name Purpose
Access.cpl Accessibility properties
Appwiz.cpl Add/Remove Programs properties
Desk.cpl Display properties
FindFast.cpl FindFast (included with Microsoft Office for Windows 95)
Inetcpl.cpl Internet properties
Intl.cpl Regional Settings properties
Joy.cpl Joystick properties
Main.cpl Mouse, Fonts, Keyboard, and Printers properties
Mlcfg32.cpl Microsoft Exchange or Windows Messaging properties
Mmsys.cpl Multimedia properties
Modem.cpl Modem properties
Netcpl.cpl Network properties
Odbccp32.cpl Data Sources (32-bit ODBC, included w/ Microsoft Office)
Password.cpl Password properties
Sticpl.cpl Scanners and Cameras properties
Sysdm.cpl System properties and Add New Hardware wizard
Themes.cpl Desktop Themes
TimeDate.cpl Date/Time properties
Wgpocpl.cpl Microsoft Mail Post Office
Note that in Windows 98, the Desk.cpl file is named Deskw95.cpl in the compressed cabinet (.cab) file. The file is renamed to Desk.cpl in the Windows\System folder.

Third-party software and hardware manufacturers can add Control Panel icons to provide an interface for setting configuration options for their products. An icon appears in Control Panel when the .cpl file is placed in the Windows\System folder by the program's Setup tool.

You can create a shortcut to a Control Panel tool by dragging an icon from Control Panel to the desktop or another location, or by manually creating a shortcut and specifying the path to a .cpl file.

Note that the Sounds tool does not have its own .cpl file; it uses the Mmsys.cpl file. To create a shortcut to the Sounds tool, use the command line control mmsys.cpl sounds.

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