Settings and Control Panel apps are the place where you can configure and customize Windows 11. You need to go to Settings app whether it is a simple theme change or running troubleshooter to fix complicated problems. Though it is not recommended, you can disable Settings and Control Panel apps for any administrative and privacy reasons. This will prevent anyone from changing system settings and offer a controlled environment.
Disable Settings App in Windows 11
Till Windows 7, you could access all Windows system settings and configurations in Control Panel app. However, Microsoft introduced Settings app in Windows 10 moving away from the old Control Panel. Though both apps are still available in Windows 11, Control Panel will redirect you to Settings in most cases. So, disabling Settings will also disable Control Panel and you can’t access one app and block other independently.
There are no frontend options to disable Settings or Control Panel in Windows 11. You need to either use Registry Editor or Local Group Policy Editor for this purpose. This is normally an option for network administrators to prevent all users from changing system settings. Perhaps, you want to do this on your personal computer to prevent accidental changes by your children or other family member.
1. Using Registry Editor
Registry Editor allows you to modify the Windows Registry which stores the configuration settings of the operating system. You can create new registry keys and assign appropriate values to modify system settings. However, as a precaution, take a backup of your current registry as explained below before making any changes.
- Press the Windows Logo key and then type “registry editor” in the search box.
- Right-click on the app from the result and select “Run as administrator” option.
- When you are in Registry Editor app, go to “File” menu and select “Export” option. This will allow you to save the entire registry entries before making any changes.
- After that, copy the below path, paste in the registry editor’s address bar and press enter.
- When you are in Explorer folder, right-click on the empty space and select the “DWORD (32-bit) Value” option.
- Rename the newly created item as NoControlPanel.
- Double-click on NoControlPanel and you will see the default value as 0 in “Value data” box. Change that 0 to 1 and click “OK” button.
Close the Registry Editor and press “Windows Logo + I” keys to open Settings app. You will see the Settings app window just flashes and disappear without allowing you to access. If you try to open Control Panel from Windows Search, you will see a “Restrictions” message mentioning “This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.” There will be no way to access either Settings or Control Panel app.
If you still see the apps are opening, restart your system and check again. If you want to enable the Settings and Control Panel apps, simply delete the newly created key in the Registry Editor or change the “Value Date” as 0.
2. Using Local Group Policy Editor
Local Group Policy Editor (LGPE) also allows you to manage several system settings both for the individual as well as users connected in the network. Remember that LGPE is officially not part of Windows Home edition. However, you can follow the instructions in this article to enable it. If you are using Windows Pro, Enterprise or Education editions, it comes as a default app and you can simply follow the below steps.
- Hold “Windows Logo + R” keys altogether to open the Run dialog box.
- Type gpedit.msc in the box and click “OK” button.
- Local Group Policy Editor has Computer Configuration and User Configuration sections in the left sidebar. Navigate to “User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel” section.
- Find “Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings” policy and double click on it.
- By default, the policy will be in “Not Configured” state and select the “Enabled” option. Press “Apply” button and then “OK”.
Now, try to open Control Panel or Settings apps and you will see the same results as explained above for Registry Editor method. If the apps are still opening, restart your system and check again. Any time later, you can go back to LGPE and select “Not Configured” for “Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings” policy to remove the restrictions.
Note: Remember, enabling this policy will disable all users in the system from accessing both Settings and Control Panel apps. If you disable the policy, users will be able to access the app (same as Not Configured option). So, do not get confused and wrongly select “Disabled” option. Though the policy description claims it will remove Settings app from Start menu, actually it does not. You can see Settings in Start menu and clicking on it will not open the app after enabling the policy.
These two are the simplest ways to disable the Settings and Control Panel apps in Windows 11. Registry Editor method will work on all Windows 11 editions while LGPE is appropriate other than Home edition. Remember, all users including you and other administrators will be blocked from access the apps in both methods.