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How to enumerate and run available Control Panel applications

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This article explains how to extract a list of available Control Panel applications and how to execute them from the command line or from another program.

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More information

The Control.exe file is a utility included with Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 that launches control panel applications. Applications can use the following command line to start a Control Panel applet:
C:\>control.exe mycontrol.cpl
This starts the first Control Panel applet in Mycontrol.cpl. If you have multiple Control Panel applets in Mycontrol.cpl, you need to add the name of the Control Panel applet to the command line as demonstrated in the following:
 Control.exe Mycontrol.cpl,My Control
To enumerate the list of available Control Panel applications in a *.cpl file, you can use the following program sample code:
// Control Panel Enumeration
#include <stdio.h>
#include <windows.h>
#include <cpl.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv, char **envp)
    union { 
        NEWCPLINFOA NewCplInfoA;
        NEWCPLINFOW NewCplInfoW; 
    } Newcpl;
    HINSTANCE hLib; // Library Handle to *.cpl file
    APPLET_PROC CplCall; // Pointer to CPlApplet() function
    LONG i;
    // -------------------
    if (!(hLib = LoadLibrary(argv[1]))) 
        return 1;	
    if (!(CplCall=(APPLET_PROC)GetProcAddress(hLib,"CPlApplet")))
        return 2;
    // -------------------
    CplCall(NULL, CPL_INIT,0,0); // Init the *.cpl file
    for (i=0;i<CplCall(NULL,CPL_GETCOUNT,0,0);i++)
        printf("Control %s",argv[1]);
        Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwSize = 0;
        Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwFlags = 0;
        if (Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwSize == sizeof(NEWCPLINFOW))
        {   // Case #1, CPL_NEWINQUIRE has returned an Unicode String
            wprintf(L",%s\n", Newcpl.NewCplInfoW.szName);
        {   // Case #2, CPL_NEWINQUIRE has returned an ANSI String
            if (Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.dwSize != sizeof(NEWCPLINFOA))
                // Case #3, CPL_NEWINQUIRE failed to return a string
                //    Get the string from the *.cpl Resource instead
                CPLINFO CInfo;
            printf(",%s\n", Newcpl.NewCplInfoA.szName);
    } // for
    // -------------------
    return 0;
This program (Enumcpl.exe) will take one *.cpl file as a parameter and print the available Control Panel applications in that file.

For example, to enumerate all installed *.cpl files on a system:
C:\>for %i in ( c:\winnt\system32\*.cpl ) do @enumcpl %i
Control c:\winnt\system32\ups.cpl,&UPS
   Control c:\winnt\system32\telephon.cpl,Telephony
   Control c:\winnt\system32\ups.cpl,&UPS
   Control c:\winnt\system32\telephon.cpl,Telephony
   Control c:\winnt\system32\srvmgr.cpl,Ser&ver
   Control c:\winnt\system32\srvmgr.cpl,Servi&ces
   Control c:\winnt\system32\srvmgr.cpl,&Devices
   Control c:\winnt\system32\ncpa.cpl,Network
   Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Mouse
   Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Keyboard
   Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Printers
   Control c:\winnt\system32\main.cpl,Fonts
   Control c:\winnt\system32\odbccp32.cpl,OD&BC
   Control c:\winnt\system32\console.cpl,Console
   Control c:\winnt\system32\appwiz.cpl,Add/Remove Programs
   Control c:\winnt\system32\access.cpl,Accessibility Options
   Control c:\winnt\system32\inetcpl.cpl,Internet
   Control c:\winnt\system32\DESK.CPL,Display
   Control c:\winnt\system32\DEVAPPS.CPL,PC Card (PCMCIA)
   Control c:\winnt\system32\DEVAPPS.CPL,SCSI Adapters
   Control c:\winnt\system32\DEVAPPS.CPL,Tape Devices
   Control c:\winnt\system32\INTL.CPL,Regional Settings
   Control c:\winnt\system32\MMSYS.CPL,Multimedia
   Control c:\winnt\system32\MMSYS.CPL,Sounds
   Control c:\winnt\system32\MODEM.CPL,Modems
   Control c:\winnt\system32\PORTS.CPL,Ports
   Control c:\winnt\system32\SYSDM.CPL,System
   Control c:\winnt\system32\TIMEDATE.CPL,Date/Time
Any one of these lines can be executed to start the corresponding Control Panel application from the command line.

Using RunDLL32 can also be used to debug a Control Panel application, by using the RunDLL32.exe as the program and the string generated above as the arguments to RunDLL32.

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164787 The Windows 95 Rundll and Rundll32 interface
166168 How to use Rundll32 to debug Control Panel applets
183106 How to debug Control Panel property sheet extensions
192806 How to run Control Panel tools by typing a command

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Keywords: KB232536, kbhowto, kbcpapplet

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Article Info
Article ID : 232536
Revision : 5
Created on : 8/4/2005
Published on : 8/4/2005
Exists online : False
Views : 547