Windows Control Panel Options – Part 2

Power Options is used to change how your computer uses power in regards to putting the monitor, hard drive or entire computer to sleep or going into hibernation mode. There are a few built in plans that you can choose from or you can customize one of them to suit your needs. For more information about Windows power options click here.

The Recovery section is used to help you recover from system errors and allows you to restore your computer back to a previous point in time using System Restore. There is also a troubleshooter that can help diagnose many different Windows problems including software, hardware, internet and security issues. If you are having problems with a piece of software then you can uninstall software from this area as well. The Restore your files option lets you recover from previous backups you have made using Windows Backup.

The Sound section is where you can configure your audio devices as well as see what devices are being used for what sound functions. If you are having trouble with the audio on your computer then this is a good place to start your troubleshooting. If you have a microphone or other audio device connected to your computer then you most likely will find settings for it in the Sound section of Control Panel. The Sounds tab will let you adjust your Windows sounds for various events and notifications. Plus if you use your computer for telephone calls you can have Windows adjust the sound volume and other sounds when you are making phone calls.

Opening the System setting is the same as if you right clicked on the Computer icon and chose Properties. It will show you the hardware configuration of your computer when it comes to the processor and RAM as well as show you what version of Windows you are running. The Rating section gives you a performance score based on your configuration. Other things you can do from the System section is open Device Manager to manage your computer’s hardware. You can enable and disable Remote Desktop access from the Remote settings link. System Protection gives you access to System Restore settings that can be used to restore your computer’s settings back to a previous point in time. Advanced System Settings is where you will set things such as performance variables like visual effects, memory usage, virtual memory and adjust your page file settings. If you are running more than one operating system on your computer you can change the boot order and boot times to your liking.

User Accounts is used to manage the local users who have access to your computer. Here you can add, remove and edit users as well as manage passwords. Creating a password reset disk is a good idea because it can get you back into your computer if you forget your password. There are some more advanced functions in the User Accounts area such as being able to change your environment variables and set up file encryption. One thing many people do is disable User Account Control or UAC which is used to prevent unauthorized changes to your computer but can also be a nuisance because you get constant popup messages asking for your permission to things such as install software and change system settings.

Windows Defender is Microsoft’s anti spyware tool that is built into Windows and is used to protect your computer from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. The Windows Defender section in Control Panel lets you run scans as well as view scan history and change other options.

Windows Update is used to keep your computer up to date when it comes to patches for Windows, Office and other Microsoft software. You can have your computer download and install updates automatically whenever it’s on and connected to the internet. Its also possible to set Windows Update to only download updates and let you install them when you are ready or not to download updates at all. If you want to know what updates were installed then simply click on the View update history link. The Restore hidden updates section is used to restore any updates that were offered for installation that you chose to ignore and not be prompted to install.

The Administrative Tools gives you a large list of tools that you can use to do a variety of things. Some of the tools you can use include the Event Viewer that keeps a log of what is going on with your computer in respect to such things as applications, security, system services and other areas of your computer. The Services tool lets you manage your running and non-running services and is very helpful for troubleshooting problems with your system. Print Management is where you can manage your installed printers, print servers and print jobs. Task Scheduler allows you to schedule programs and other tasks to run at specified times so you don’t have to start them manually. The Administrative Tools area also includes access to things like Computer Management, Windows Firewall and the Performance Monitor.

BitLocker Drive Encryption is used to prevent unauthorized access to files stored on your hard drive(s). You can turn BitLocker on and off on a per drive basis. It can be used on internal hard drives as well as external hard drives and USB flash drives. BitLocker encrypts the entire drive rather than individual files or folders like EFS does. Files are encrypted automatically and stay encrypted only while they are stored in the encrypted drive. If a potential security risk is detected, BitLocker will lock the operating system drive and require a special BitLocker recovery key to unlock it.

The Date and Time setting is the same tool you would see if you double clicked the clock on the taskbar. Here you can set the date and time as well as change the time zone of your computer. If you want to have additional clocks showing for other time zones when you double click the clock then you can add more here. The Internet Time tab is where you set your time synchronization settings which synchronize your computer’s time with an external time source such as

Device Manager is used to view the installed hardware on your computer. You can also add and remove hardware as well as update drivers here. For more information on Device Manager click here.

Ease of Access is designed to help you use your computer if you have some type of impairment that prevents you from doing what you want to do with your system. Some of the tools you can use include the magnifier to enlarge what you see on the screen, the on-screen keyboard which gives you a keyboard on your monitor that you can click on with your mouse and the narrator which will read text for you as you use your computer. You can also adjust settings for things such as your mouse and keyboard to make them easier to use.

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