How to Disable Access to Settings App and Control Panel in Windows 10

By | December 7, 2021

The PC Settings and Control Panel apps allow you to change many different settings in Windows 10. But you may not want all computer users to be able to change the settings after setting them up.

For example, you can change specific settings for a child’s account and then prevent them from accessing the settings to reverse your changes. Or maybe you are setting up your computer in a network environment and you want to set the default settings and prevent users from changing them.

Today we will show you how to disable access to the PC Settings app and Control Panel using the Registry Editor and Local Group Policy Editor.

First, Change User Account Type

To disable access to the Settings app and Control Panel, the account you’re changing this to must be an Administrator account. You can temporarily change the account to an Administrator account if it is a Standard account. But don’t forget to change it back to Standard account to prevent users from re-enabling access to Settings app and Control Panel.

1. Using the Windows Registry

You can use this method to disable the Settings and Control Panel apps regardless of the edition of Windows 10 you are using. If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, and you prefer to use the Local Group Policy Editor, see the next section.

Making changes to the registry can be risky. The changes we are talking about here are simple if you follow our instructions. But it’s a good idea to back up the registry before making any changes. You should also make sure you back up your data and consider creating a system restore point.

To revert the changes you have made to the Windows registry, you can reset the registry to the default values.

To disable the Settings and Control Panel applications, press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type regedit in the Open box and click OK.

If the User Account Control dialog box displays, click Yes to continue. You may not see this dialog box, depending on your User Account Control settings

In the tree structure on the left side of the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following button:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer

Then, right-click on the right side and go to New > DWORD Value (32-bit) Value.

Name the new key NoControlPanel and double click on it.

In the Edit DWORD (32-bit) dialog box, type 1 in the Value data box and click OK.

Log out and log back in or reboot your computer to complete the changes.

To revert the changes, open regedit, return to the key mentioned above, and change the NoControlPanel value to 0, or delete the NoControlPanel value.

Download Our Ready-to-Use Registry Hacker
If you’re running Windows Home, and you’re not comfortable making changes to the registry yourself, you can download our ready-made registry hack (ZIP File). We’ve included one REG file to disable access to Settings and Control Panel apps and another REG file to enable access again.

Simply double-click the appropriate REG file and click Yes on the User Account Control dialog box (if displayed). Then, click Yes in the first dialog box and OK in the second.
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Make sure you log out and log back in or reboot your computer.

2. Using the Group Policy Editor

If you are using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to disable access to the Settings app and Control Panel.

Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type gpedit.msc in the Open box and click OK.

In the tree list on the left side of the Local Group Policy Editor window, navigate to the following path:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel

On the right side, double-click Ban access to Control Panel and PC settings.

Select Enabled at the top Restrict access to Panel and PC Settings dialog box and click OK.

To re-enable access to the Settings app and Control Panel, open the Local Group Policy Editor and navigate to the path mentioned above again. Then, select Not Configured or Disabled.

Protect Your Windows Settings Further

Once you use any of the above methods in a user account, that user will not be able to open the Settings app. Also, if they try to access the Control Panel, they will see the following dialog box.

Windows also removed the Change account settings option on the Start menu user menu.

The ability to disable access to the PC Settings and Control Panel applications is especially useful in a networked environment where you want to have settings that are consistent on all machines on the network and prevent users from changing them.

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