Windows 10 tip: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings

Are you tired of clicking through categories to find a specific Windows 10 setting? If you know the right command line options, you can create shortcuts that take you to specific pages with a single click.

 

 

Create a shortcut using an ms-settings command followed by a page name

 

 

As Windows 10 has evolved, Microsoft has moved huge chunks of the old Control Panel to the new, modern Settings app. But navigating to specific destinations in the new app can be just as tedious as it was in the olden days.

Fortunately, there’s a way to create one-click shortcuts for most popular settings pages, using command lines that begin with ms-settings, followed by a colon and the name of the page you want to jump to.

For example, ms-settings:network-status takes you to the first page in the Network & Internet category, where you can check the status of your network adapter and find shortcuts to virtually all other network settings.

Likewise, ms-settings:windowsupdate-history takes you straight to the page that lists all updates you’ve installed. Normally, you’d have to click Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View Installed Update History to get there.

Of course, typing that long command line at a command prompt or in the Run dialog box makes no sense at all compared to searching or clicking for that setting. But you can use that command to create a shortcut on the desktop or another favorite location so it’s always available.

To put a shortcut on the desktop, minimize all open windows, right-click any empty space on the desktop, and then click New > Shortcut. That opens a dialog box like the one shown here.

Enter a valid ms-settings command (see the list below for some suggested shortcuts), click Next, give your shortcut a descriptive name, and then save the new shortcut.

Double-clicking that shortcut takes you to the page immediately, with no intermediate steps.

Here’s a list of 10 extremely useful shortcuts that start with the ms-settings operator:

ms-settings:about

Displays version about your PC and operating system

ms-settings:dateandtime

Change the time or time zone

ms-settings:appsfeatures

Uninstall, modify, or repair an installed app or program

ms-settings:defaultapps

Change default apps, including your web browser

ms-settings:windowsupdate

These three self-explanatory settings get you to useful Windows Update pages

ms-settings:windowsdefender

This displays information about the Windows Defender engine and latest definition file, along with shortcuts to more Windows Defender security settings

ms-settings:personalization

Customize your lock screen, colors, desktop background, and more

ms-settings:display

Set resolution and scaling, manage multiple displays, and more

ms-settings:notifications

Customize the Quick Actions button and fine-tune app behavior

ms-settings:recovery

You’ll find Reset and Advanced Startup options here

Next week, I’ll have more ms-settings shortcuts, and the week after that I’ll show how to add these shortcuts to the Windows 10 Start menu.

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