Vista Registry – NoControlPanel (Disable the Control Panel)

Vista Registry – NoControlPanel

NoControlPanel – what more can I say?  As usual, the name of the registry value is so expressive that it needs little amplification.  If you make this registry tweak you will disable the Control Panel, as a result users won’t be tempted to try and make changes.

Topics for Disabling the Control Panel


Preliminary Step

Just make sure that the Control Panel is available, and has not already been disabled by a Group Policy.  Click on the Start Orb and then select Control Panel.

Instructions for NoControlPanel

Our mission is to find a specific class id (CLSID) and add a DWORD value called NoControlPanel. Windows Vista Regedit and NoControlPanel

1) Launch Regedit

2) Navigate to this key:

3) Create a new VALUE.  Note choose: ‘DWORD (32-Bit) Value’ Name the new value: NoControlPanel

4) Edit the ‘Value data’.  What I do is double click NoControlPanel, then click in the ‘Value data:’ set to 1.  If it displays as  0x00000001 (1) this is a good sign it will disable your Control Panel.

5) To check the fruits of your labours, close the registry editor and Logoff.  Next Logon and click the Start Orb, try and select Control Panel.  You should receive a ‘Restrictions’ message similar to the one shown below.  I confess that I faked the ‘Guy Thomas’ in the screen shot, however, I would love to be able to tweak such messages so that the users knew who was in charge.

This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer.

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Key Learning Points

  • The overall learning point is that NoControlPanel is normally set by a Group Policy.  Two indications of Group Policy are firstly, the place in the registry where this setting is configured (Policy folder).  Secondly the error message that results when a user tries to open the Control Panel (see above screenshot).
  • Do you find the NoControlPanel value in HKCU** or HKLM?
    Answer: HKCU, it’s under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.
  • Do you have to add a value, or modify an existing setting? 
    Answer: Add a new value.
  • Is it a String Value or a DWORD?
    Answer: DWORD (32-Bit Value)
  • Do you need to Restart, or merely Logoff / Logon?
    Answer: Neither, just navigate to the Control Panel and observe the restriction
  • Tip: Add this Value, NoControlPanel to Regedit’s Favorites menu


** HKLM is an abbreviation of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and HKCU is shorthand for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.  These acronyms are so well-known that you can even use them in .reg files, Vista will understand and obey the registry instruction.

Follow-up Registry Settings

If you liked this registry tweak, here are more restrictions that you can add to the folder:HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer:

a) NoChangeStartMenu
b) LockTaskbar
c) NoRun
d) NoDrives  (A decimal value of 671088863 disables all drives)
e) NoDispCpl (Disables the Display settings)

Creating a .Reg File

This page explains how to create, and then edit .reg files for your computer.  As it’s easy to import the contents of a .reg file into the registry, do take extra care with procedures. Example NoControlPanel  .reg file.

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Windows Vista Registry Tweaks: