In Windows 8.1 and RT 8.1, swipe in from the right side of the screen, tap "Search" and enter "Control Panel" in the search field to open Control Panel. If you're using a mouse, point at the top right corner of the screen, bring the pointer down and click "Search."
The procedure is slightly different in Windows 7. Click on the Start button, generally in the lower left hand corner of the screen. When the Start Menu pops up, click on Control Panel, which appears on the right-hand side of the menu.
Some Windows 7 computers have been customized to take the link to the Control Panel out. In this situation, type "Control Panel" in the search field at the bottom of the Start Menu, then select Control Panel from the list of results.
In both Windows 7 and 8, the Control Panel is a group of small programs that control different elements of the operating system. These programs are called applets. One example is an applet that lets the user configure the size of the mouse pointer. Another permits the user to make adjustments to all of the sound settings. Setting the clock and switching the default language are possible from this panel, as is changing the appearance and theme of the desktop and all of the items on it.