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I've accidentally switched my Windows XP Control Panel to "Classic Mode". How can I restore this back to the original Windows XP default (without reinstalling, of course)?

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If you have accidentally closed the view pane on the left hand side of Control Panel (i.e., you can't see the 'Switch to category view' button), you can get it back:

Control Panel / Tools / Options / General - select 'Show common tasks in folders' and apply. Once you have the view pane back you can 'Switch to classic view' or 'category view' as you please.

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Check here:

By default, the Windows XP Control Panel appears as a window in which various options are divided into categories. This "Category View" makes it easy for users to locate the specific set of options that they wish to access.

However, you may prefer the more traditional view of the Control Panel in which the sets of options are represented by a series of icons. This "Classic View" of the XP control panel is similar in appearance to the control panel on earlier versions of Windows.

You might also need to switch the control panel view to more easily follow a set of instructions that you have been given. If the instructions assume that the Control Panel is displayed in Classic View, when it is displayed in Category View on your computer, the instructions may appear confusing or erroneous. And of course the opposite is equally true.

Luckily, changing the view of the Windows XP Control panel is very easy.

To change views:

  • Click "Start" and then click "Control Panel". The Control Panel should open.

  • If the Control Panel is in Category View, click "Switch to Classic View" on the left of the window.

  • If the Control Panel is in Classic View, click "Switch to Category View" on the left of the window.

You can use the "Switch to.." link to toggle the Control Panel view as desired.

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