Friday, May 11, 2007

Recategorize Control Panel Applets

Hiding applets goes only partway toward cleaning up the Control Panel. You can also recategorize applets and put them in any category you want. For example, by default, the Mouse Properties applet can be found in the Printers and Other Hardware category, but if you prefer that it instead be found in Accessibility Options, you can move it there.

To put an applet into any category you want, you need two pieces of information: the filename of the applet (for example, main.cpl for the Mouse Properties dialog box), and the Registry value for each Control Panel category (for example, 0x00000007 (7) for Accessibility Options). For filenames of each applet, see Table 2-1. For the Registry value for each Control Panel category, see Table 2-2. With these two pieces of information in hand, you can recategorize any or all Control Panel applets.

Table 2-2. Control Panel categories and their Registry value data Control panel category
Value data

Accessibility Options
0x00000007 (7)

Add or Remove Programs
0x00000008 (8)

Appearance and Themes
0x00000001 (1)

Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options
0x00000006 (6)

Network and Internet Connections
0x00000003 (3)

Other Control Panel Options
0x00000000 (0)

Performance and Maintenance
0x00000005 (5)

Printers and Other Hardware
0x00000002 (2)

Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices
0x00000004 (4)

User Accounts
0x00000009 (9)

No category

To recategorize a Control Panel applet, run the Registry Editor [Hack #83] and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\Extended Properties\{305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74}2. The key {305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74}2 is the container that holds all Control Panel categories. (Remember that it's safest to back up your Registry first [Hack #86] .)

Now find the Registry key of the applet you want to recategorize. The filename of the applet will appear on the end of the key; for example, %SystemRoot%\system32\main.cpl is the Mouse Properties dialog box. Turn to trusty Table 2-1 for a list of other filenames for Control Panel applets.

Change the key's DWORD value to the value of the Control Panel category into which you want the applet to appear, as detailed in Table 2-2. For example, if you want the applet to appear in the Performance and Maintenance category, give it a value of 5. The value will then be displayed in the Registry as 0x00000005(5).

When you're done, exit the Registry. The applet will now appear in the new category.

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