On a computer running Windows, access the control panel from the desktop by pointing your mouse at the top-right corner of the screen and dragging it down toward the center. Click on Search, type "control panel" into the search box, and click on the Control Panel icon. For touch-screen computers running Windows, tap the right side of the screen, and drag toward the center to access the search menu.
On computers running Windows XP and other older versions of the operating system, access the control panel by clicking the Start menu. If Control Panel shows up in the available links on your menu, click on it. If not, click on Settings and choose the Control Panel link.
The control panel contains many of the settings for a Windows computer. The applets on the control panel enable users to change the security settings, uninstall programs, adjust the time, and change the desktop background or screen saver.
On an Apple computer, the equivalent of the control panel is System Preferences. To access it from the desktop, click on the Apple icon at the top of the screen. Choose System Preferences. From the System Preferences window, users can change the settings for the display, mouse, printer and more.