Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Getting the Job Done - Despite the UI

Most IT Pros are likely to want to manage various setting within Windows - both on Windows 10 and Windows Server (with the Desktop Experience!) - things like power management, a network setting, etc. Doing so means in many cases means weaving one's way through the UI to hit some window to facilitate the issue at hand. For example, if I want to set the DNS server IP address on a NIC, I have to figure out how to get, eventually to the Network Connections applet, from where I can select the NIC and make the change.

One might say. just do it with PowerShell. PowerShell is great for routine things - automation makes sense. But for one-off issues, the GUI is often just faster and easier. The issue is navigating the Windows UI. The migration of things form the Control Panel into Settings has not helped.

Almost all of the lower level applets you need to manage Windows from the UI are available to you by running a specific program. For example, to get to the Network Connections applet, just run ncpa.cpl. And if you run it from PowerShell, there is tab completion of the applet's name.

There are around 40 commands you can fun to do useful things. These commands are implemented as *.CPL and *.MSC programs. You can discover then for your self by running this:

Get-Command *.CPL, *.MSC
Here's what you should find:

Command Name What Is It?
appwiz.cpl                   Uninstall or Change A Program
azman.msc                    Authorization Manager
bthprops.cpl                 Bluetooth & Other Devices
certlm.msc                   Certificate Manager for Local Computer
certmgr.msc                  Certificate Manager for Current User
comexp.msc                   Component Services, Event Viewer, Services 
compmgmt.msc                 Computer Management, System Tools, Storage and Services
desk.cpl                     Display layout
devmgmt.msc                  Device Manager 
DevModeRunAsUserConfig.msc   Start Menu Configuration
diskmgmt.msc                 Disk Management
eventvwr.msc                 Event Viewer
Firewall.cpl                 Firewall Manager
fsmgmt.msc                   Shared Folder Management
gpedit.msc                   Local GPO Editor
hdwwiz.cpl                   Device Manager (again!)
inetcpl.cpl                  Internet Properties
intl.cpl                     Region Settings
irprops.cpl                  InfraRed - on systems with IR
joy.cpl                      Game Controller
lusrmgr.msc                  Local User Manger
main.cpl                     Mouse Properties
mmsys.cpl                    Sound Properties
ncpa.cpl                     Network Interface properties
perfmon.msc                  Performance Monitor
powercfg.cpl                 Power Configuration
printmanagement.msc          Printer Manament
rsop.msc                     Resultant Set of Policy
secpol.msc                   Local Securityh Policy
services.msc                 Services
sysdm.cpl                    System Properties
TabletPC.cpl                 Tablet and Pen Settings
taskschd.msc                 Task Scheduler
telephon.cpl                 Phone Location Information
timedate.cpl                 Time and Date
tpm.msc                      Trusted Platform Module
WF.msc                       Defender Firewall
WmiMgmt.msc                  WMI Management
wscui.cpl                    Security and Maintenance


1 comment:

postanote said...

As one who has been at this stuff since 1977, before PC's were ever a thing, I've been using these well before PowerShell was ever a thing. You can also just pin the 'Administrative Tools ' and 'Control Panel (using the small icons view)' to your Explorer 'Quick Access' Panel or the taskbar.

For example, do this in Explorer ...

'Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools'

...without the quotes of course, and pin to your Quick Access node.

Heck, you can even create a new taskbar toolbar and add it to there, thus all being a mouse click or a couple of mouse clicks away.