How to view all settings in one place in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

This Windows Explorer trick will allow you to view all system settings from one place on your Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 computer

A tricky way to view and open settings
Credit: Strobridge Litho. Co., Cincinnati & New York [Public domain]

I've been digging around the filesystem of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 lately and found an interesting trick similar to the Windows 8 God Mode -- using Windows Explorer. As in "God Mode", all settings are available in one place. But there are a few differences: In many instances, you will see two ways of changing the very same setting -- a Metro and a Control Panel method. In addition, certain Windows 8 charms menus will open using this technique.

Windows 8.1

To get started, open Windows Explorer and paste this path into the location textbox: %localappdata%\Packages\windows.immersivecontrolpanel_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Indexed\Settings\en-US

If you want to open a new instance of Windows Explorer paste this instead: %windir%\explorer.exe %localappdata%\Packages\windows.immersivecontrolpanel_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState\Indexed\Settings\en-US

Paste path into location textbox.

Explorer now shows all settings available in Windows 8. All fine, but at present it is difficult to tell which setting many of these objects modify without viewing file properties beforehand.

All settings available -- but unreadable.

Never fear, this problem is easily solved with a simple trick: Type a single asterisk (*) in the search field and surprisingly -- for reasons unknown -- Explorer now displays the Name property of each object instead of the filename. The Name property -- not to be confused with filename -- is normally only seen listed inside the Details pane of a file Properties window.

Type * into search field.

You may now open the setting as you would any other file: Double-clicking the mouse or pressing the enter key.

Setting window opens

Windows 10

This same technique works in Windows 10 -- with one exception -- an extra step is required before the setting can be opened. After a setting is found, right-click and select Open file location from the shortcut menu:

Open file location

The same setting object is selected, but the name property is no longer visible,  replaced once again by the original filename. Inexplicably, Windows 10 will not open a settings object unless its filename is visible in Explorer.

Double-click or press enter to open

After double-clicking or using the enter key to open the setting, its window shortly appears:

A settings window opens

If you try this technique, let me know what you think. I hope you find it fun and interesting.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Related:
ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon