Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Restore "Classic View" To Windows 7 Control Panel

When I first got a Vista machine, one of the first thing I did was switch the Control Panel from categorized tasks to the more detailed and familiar “Classic View”. Which was easy, as there was a click-able option there in the upper left.

Windows 7 also comes with the Control Panel preset to a categorized tasks, and I still want the more detailed and familiar “Classic View”, but there is no click-able option to use. In Windows 7, you have to use a different approach to revert, and switch back to Classic View.

1) Open the Control Panel (Start button > Control Panel)
2) Look to the upper right, and click on the drop-down arrow by View by: and change it to “Small icons”.


That’s it. You’re done. Your Control Panel will now be much more familiar looking if you’ve been using Windows for a while (more “XP like”) as well as providing a more comprehensive list of the Control Panel’s options.

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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March 31, 2010 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I am with you on this… I always switch it back to the “classic view”…



    Comment by Ramblinrick | April 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Rick,
      If my memories serves me, Microsoft first started trying to “streamline” the Control Panel with XP, and they seem convinced that presenting 6 or 10 “categories” (or “tasks”) is less daunting (than 24-38) to the “average user”, and will help them find the appropriate settings control. They are wrong.
      One doesn’t go to one’s Control Panel without a specific goal in mind, and I want to get there in one click, not three. They had it right the first time, and should stick with the way it worked in Windows 3 thru Windows 2000… IMHO.


      Comment by techpaul | April 2, 2010 | Reply

      • in re classic view of control panel: if it aint broke &c – right on


        Comment by Anonymous | March 3, 2012 | Reply

      • Not to mention the control panel icons are – for some insane reason – alphabetical *left-to-right in rows*, when every other view in Windows is *top-to-bottom in columns*. Scanning across is visually hard work. Whoever designed the Win 7 control panel system should be shot. It’s an unintuitive mess of blue text links, like a cheap 90’s DIY web site. Microsoft, what were you thinking?


        Comment by Adam | November 18, 2012 | Reply

        • Adam,
          Thanks for the chuckle.

          You know.. sometimes, you have a team.. like, say, a “design team”.. and after they complete what you hired them to do, specifically, they look around for other things to fiddle with, so they can keep drawing that paycheck.
          Like.. “improving” a perfectly functional Control Panel. (Or pasting a touchscreen UI on top of a Desktop OS..)


          Comment by techpaul | November 18, 2012 | Reply

  2. When my e-mail account was switched to the new look, I lost the way that I have always been able to put in multiple names in a e-mail. I hate this new method. I would like to have my classic back. I had 136 contacts in my classic which were quick to insert into an e-mail address now that list is gone. I want it back.


    Comment by Marvin Foster | May 25, 2014 | Reply

    • Marvin Foster,
      This article is specific to Windows 7’s Control Panel, not email, so I wonder why you posted this here. And you did not name the email service to which you refer (I would venture to guess it is Yahoo! Mail, though) so I cannot give you specific steps to take.

      But I can tell you most times (in fact, almost every time) the functionality is still there in the new “upgraded interface”, but accessed in a way you haven’t located yet in the new menu system. Alternatively, you can (most always) go into Settings, and choose “use Classic View”.

      So try using a search engine again — this time try name of email service+group mailing, or name of email service+classic view.

      PS – if I was correct in my guess, and your email is Yahoo!, I suggest you get used to such “helpful” “upgrades”. Seems the *yahoos* working there feel compelled to do one every 4 months or so.


      Comment by techpaul | May 25, 2014 | Reply

      • Sorry for the lack of information.  My OS is windows 7 and my e-mail client is Yahoo.

        Thanks for your comments.

        Marvin Foster        


        Comment by Marvin Foster | May 26, 2014 | Reply

  3. windows 7 games?


    Comment by carole | July 14, 2021 | Reply

    • Um.. I interpret your question to be asking what happened to the Windows games that were available in all versions of Windows up to Windows 10 (Chess Titans, Spider Solitaire, etc.) and how to get them back.
      The short answer to that is you can either get the ‘online’ versions via the Microsoft Store, or download somebody’s ‘windows 10 compatible’ versions from the Internet (kinda risky). They are otherwise gone, as far as Microsoft is concerned.


      Comment by techpaul | July 27, 2021 | Reply

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