In case you are looking for a way to stop users from changing settings in Windows 10, you will find below the steps to disable access to Control Panel and the Settings App in Windows 10.
Disable Control Panel and Settings Menu in Windows 10
The Control Panel and the Settings App in Windows 10 provide options to modify a wide range of settings on your computer, including User Accounts, Privacy and Security Settings.
However, this also means that anyone with access to your computer has the potential to modify the settings on your computer, leading to unwanted misconfigurations and performance/security issues on your computer.
Hence, this guide providing the steps to disable access to Control Panel and Settings App in Windows 10, in order to prevent the possibility of settings on your computer being modified.
Disable Control Panel And Settings Menu Using Registry Editor
Although, the Home Edition of Windows 10 does not have a Group Policy Editor, you can still restrict access to Control Panel and the Settings Menu in Home Edition of Windows 10 by using registry editor.
Note: Before making changes to registry files, it is recommended that you make a backup of your computer. Also, refrain from making any changes to registry files that you do not understand.
1. Right-click on Windows 10 Start button and then click on the Run option in the menu that appears.
2. In the Run Command Window, type regedit and then click on OK to open the Registry Editor.
3. On the Registry Editor screen, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies and expand the Policies Folder(See image below)
Note: In case you do not see the “Explorer” Folder under Policies, you will have to create one. Right-click on Policies and then click on New > Key and Name the new key as “Explorer”.
4. Now create a New DWORD in the Explorer Folder by Right-clicking on Explorer and then clicking on New and DWORD (32-bit) Value in the contextual Menu (See image below)
5. Name the newly created key in the Explorer Folder as NoControlPanel.
6. Next, Right-click on NoControlPanel and click on Modify… in the contextual menu (See image below).
Note: You can also double-click on NoControlPanel to reach Edit DWORD Value screen
7. In the Edit DWORD Value screen, change the Value Data for NoControlPanel from 0 to 1 and click on OK (See image below).
After this Registry change, you will still see the Settings Icon and the Control Panel Shortcut. However, clicking on them will not provide access to Settings menu or the Control Panel.
In-fact, anyone trying to access Control Panel on your computer will be greeted with an Error Message, providing information about Restrictions placed on this action by the system Administrator (See image below).
In case required, you can enable access to Control Panel and Settings Menu on your computer by following the steps above and changing the Value Data in NoControlPanel back to its original value (0).
Disable Control Panel and Settings Menu Using Group Policy Editor
In case you are running Windows 10 Pro (or Enterprise) on your computer, you can easily Disable access to Control Panel and the Settings Menu on your computer by making use of Group Policy Editor in Windows 10.
1. Right-click on Windows 10 Start button and then click on Run in the Menu that appears.
2. Type gpedit.msc in the Run command Window and click on OK to open Local Group Policy Editor.
3. On Local Group Policy Editor screen, browse to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel and click on the Control Panel Folder (See image below)
4. Next, Double-click on Prohibit Access to Control Panel and PC settings policy in Control Panel (See image above)
5. On the next screen, select Enabled option and click on OK to save this setting (See image below).
After this setting in Group Policy Editor, Control Panel and Settings Screen will no longer be accessible to anyone using your computer. Anyone trying to make changes to your computer settings will be informed about the restrictions placed on this activity by the System Admin.
Whenever required, you can change this Policy and provide access to Settings and Control Panel on your computer by selecting Not Configured option in Local Group Policy Editor screen (See image in Step#5 above).
While blocking Access to Control Panel and Settings Menu is particularly useful for Network Administrators, computer users who share their device with children may also come across the need to Disable Access to Control Panel and the Settings Menu on their Windows 10 computers.