Windows XP introduced a new look to the Control Panel and to other displays such as Windows Explorer.
This new layout stepped away from the concept of icons — and to the familiar links, just like in web browsers. Of course, these links lead to settings inside your computer.
If you look at the Control Panel, you will find either the Category View or the Classic View.
Earlier versions of Windows (Windows 3.1, 95, 98, Me and 2000) had an icon-based view of the Control Panel — which is now renamed the Classic View. The Category View is the default as of Windows XP. But, switching to the other version is easy…just click on the link to switch.
Why would you want to switch views?
Sometimes, it’s just easier to find the option that you want by going through the Classic View. This is true especially if you have used Windows for a long time.
For example, if you’ve used Windows and the Control Panel for a long time, you know that there’s a place where you can change all sorts of settings about your mouse. In the Classic View, you use the icon labelled Mouse to get there. But, if you’re in Category View, where is it? (Answer: it’s inside Printers and Other Hardware.
By clicking the Folders button, you can shift a different view, which displays your computer’s folders on the left side of the window.
Notice how the Folders button is now brightly colored, indicating that it’s selected. Switching back to the standard Control Panel view is as simple as clicking it again.
Of course, you can see the Classic View of the Control Panel in a similar display.
Notice that the left-hand side — the Folders side — looks just like Windows Explorer? That’s because this really IS Windows Explorer!
You can also click on the Search button to change the left-hand side to Windows Search, so you can search your hard drive. Of course, if you’ve installed Google Desktop (part of the free Google Pack), you know that that there are easier and faster ways to search your computer!