Good and bad utilities

This week: Use a good utility to regain easy access to the Control Panel, and avoid bad utilities purporting to be driver updaters.

Where the heck is Control Panel in Windows 10?

Microsoft started making some strange choices when they introduced Windows 8.

In Windows 10, they walked back some of the most outrageous ones. But they do want us to get used to the Settings App and abandon the familiar Control Panel, so they made it easier to find Settings than Control Panel.

We can fix this.

Right-click on the Start button and then click on Control Panel to open it. That’s all there is to it, but hey, that’s two clicks instead of one click and sometimes it’s hard to remember the right-click on Start thing.

If you want to put Control Panel someplace easy to find, download the Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4.2 from the Windows Club. A safe link is here.

Once open:

  • Click on Customization on the left side of the Tweaker
  • Click on the tab called This PC on the top right
  • Place a check in the box for Control Panel
  • Click on Apply

Close the Tweaker, and have a look at This PC in File Explorer. You should now see a link to All Control Panel items.

There are more than 200 tweaks available in that tool. If you’d like to see a list rather than poking around and trying to count them, have a look at the documentation here. Great little utility.

Have you tried a tweaking tool? What was it, and was it helpful? Send an email and I’ll share in a future column.

What’s the best way update my drivers?

Quite a few people who read the recent Smart Upgrades columns wrote to ask how to update their drivers in preparation for the Anniversary Upgrade. Thank you all for that excellent question.

The best way to do this if you have a name brand PC is to use the built-in support application from your PC manufacturer. HP, Acer, Toshiba, and all computer manufacturers have a program you can easily access to check for upgrades.

If you don’t see it running all the time in the notification area, check your Start Menu for something under your computer’s brand name.

On the HP computer I’m using at the moment, I clicked on Start, then navigated to the HP menu items, and found the Support Assistant there.

There were two driver upgrades waiting for me. Find the corresponding program for your own computer and explore!

If you’re running Windows 10, you’ll also get drivers through Windows Update, and you’re not going to have a lot of choice about it. If you’re running an earlier version of Windows, check Windows Update to see if there are any optional driver updates waiting for you.

If you’re not using a brand name PC, you will have to rely on Windows Update or visit the manufacturer’s site for each component you want to update.

That is a pain in the neck. You are *probably* better off getting updates from Windows Update and then just track down drivers for anything that complains.

What you should never, ever do is use a driver update utility tool from a website. They are all bad. None of them are effective and most of them are malicious software, as noted here

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment, phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].


Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 for Windows 10

List of tweaks available in the Ultimate Windows Tweaker 4 for Windows 10 

Never Download a Driver-Updating Utility; They’re Worse Than Useless 

Smart Upgrades – Part 1 

Smart Upgrades – Part 2 


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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