2 minute read

There are a lot of different windows for configuring various settings in Windows. Unfortunately, finding the right window is not always easy. The Windows Settings menu often buries settings windows several layers deep, and they are often moved between major Windows updates, so it can be hard to find them. The Start menu search functionality isn’t always consistent or reliable, especially on Windows Server, and even the Windows Settings search can be hit or miss.

For a consistent way to access many settings and apps regardless of your Windows version, you can use a command prompt or the Run dialog box.

Opening the Run dialog box

There are two main ways to open the Run dialog box:

  1. Press Win + R on your keyboard, or
  2. Press Win to open the Start menu, type Run, and press Enter.

The Run dialog box will look something like this:

Run dialog box

Opening a command prompt

Alternatively, you can open a command prompt, such as cmd or PowerShell. Here are two ways to do that:

  1. Press Win + X to open the Windows X menu, then i to open PowerShell (use A instead to open a PowerShell Admin console).
  2. Press Win to open the Start menu, type cmd or PowerShell, and press Enter.

Common Run commands

With either a command prompt or the Run dialog box open, type in one of the following commands and press Enter to open the corresponding Windows setting or app.

Note: If using a command prompt, it may need to be running As Admin to open some of these settings windows. A few commands only work from the Run dialog box and are marked as “(Run only)”.

Command Description
. Open current user folder (Run only)
appwiz.cpl Programs and Features
C: (or any file or directory path) Open the specified file or path (Run only)
charmap Character Map
cleanmgr Disk Cleanup
cmd Command Prompt
compmgmt.msc Computer Management
control Control Panel
control admintools Administrative Tools
control desktop Personalization
control folders File Explorer Options
control keyboard Keyboard Properties
control mouse Mouse Properties
control printers Printers and Faxes
control schedtasks Task Scheduler
control userpasswords2 User Accounts
control /name Microsoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter Network and Sharing Center
control /name Microsoft.PowerOptions Power Options
control /name Microsoft.System System
control /name Microsoft.WindowsUpdate Windows Update
desk.cpl Display Properties
devmgmt.msc Device Manager
diskmgmt.msc Disk Management
dxdiag DirectX Diagnostic Tool
eventvwr.msc Event Viewer
explorer Windows Explorer
firewall.cpl Windows Firewall
gpedit.msc Local Group Policy Editor
inetcpl.cpl Internet Properties
inetmgr IIS Manager (if installed) (Run only)
logoff Log out of Windows without confirmation
lusrmgr.msc Local Users and Groups
magnify Magnifier
main.cpl Mouse Settings
mdsched Windows Memory Diagnostic
mmc Microsoft Management Console
mmsys.cpl Sound Properties
mrt Malware Removal Tool
msconfig System Configuration
msinfo32 System Information
mstsc Remote Desktop Connection
ncpa.cpl Network Connections
netplwiz User Accounts
osk On-Screen Keyboard
perfmon.msc Performance Monitor
powercfg.cpl Power Options
powershell Windows PowerShell Console
psr Steps Recorder
pwsh PowerShell Core Console (if installed)
regedit Registry Editor
resmon Resource Monitor
secpol.msc Local Security Policy
services.msc Services
shutdown /r /t 0 Restart Windows without confirmation
shutdown /s /t 0 Shut down Windows without confirmation
snippingtool Screenshot Snipping Tool
sysdm.cpl System Properties
taskmgr Task Manager
winver About Windows
wscui.cpl Security and Maintenance

This blog article was inspired by this LinkedIn post which shows how to define many of these in a PowerShell function that can be used to search for the command you want.


I hope you find this list of commands useful. If you have any other commands that you find valuable, please share them in the comments below and I might add them to this list.

Happy running!

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