The Control Panel in Windows 7 and Windows 8 serves as the nerve center of the operating system and allows users to control and modify various system settings, including network options, appearance, security and user accounts. It also provides control over options related to installed programs, language and hardware.
The System and Security section allows users to back up data, check the performance and modify the security settings of Internet Explorer, Windows Firewall and Windows Defender. Through the Network and Internet category, users can set up Internet connections, configure the way multiple computers synchronize, and handle problems related to wireless networks. The Hardware and Sound category features options to install new and remove old hardware, including peripherals such as keyboards and mice, and internal hardware such as graphics cards and hard drives.
The Programs section lets users uninstall programs, modify the features of installed programs and change file associations, allowing them to select which programs should run specific file formats. The Appearance and Personalization category enables users to change the computer's resolution, desktop backgrounds and screensavers. It also lets them modify fonts and control the way the taskbar functions. Additionally, the Control Panels includes options to control user accounts and passwords, to change time, date and language options, and to modify settings regarding the speech recognition functionality.