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Control panel (software)

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Title: Control panel (software)  
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Subject: User interfaces, Taskbar
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Control panel (software)

Many computer user interfaces use a control panel metaphor to give the user control of software and hardware features. The control panel consists of multiple settings including display settings, network settings, user account settings and hardware settings. Some control panels require the user to have admin rights or root access.


  • Computer history 1
  • Functionality 2
    • User preferences 2.1
    • Hardware 2.2
    • Networking 2.3
    • Security 2.4
    • System 2.5

Computer history

The term control panel was used for the plugboards in unit record equipment and in the early computers of the 1940s and '50s. In the 1980s, the Xerox Star and the Apple Lisa, which pioneered the first graphical user interface metaphors, controlled user settings by single click selections and variable fields. In 1984 the Apple Macintosh in its initial release made use of fundamental graphic representation of a "control panel board" imitating the operation of slider controls, on/off buttons and radio-select buttons that corresponded to user settings.


There are many tasks grouped in a control panel:

User preferences





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