We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

We've partnered with Certified Experts, Carl Webster and Richard Faulkner, to bring you two Citrix podcasts. Learn about 2020 trends and get answers to your biggest Citrix questions!Listen Now


"unable to register the control panel" error message

bshawn asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I get the above error message every time I re-boot.  At first I didn't notice any adverse effects, but now I find that my MS joystick either refuses to work, or works only intermittently in any game under Win95--even MS games.  Most games don't even show a joystick available.  The control panel shows the joystick as working normally.  There may be other problems as well, but this is all I've noticed.

I can't find any references to this message, and reinstalling Win95 doesn't help.  Any ideas?

Shawn Huckaby
Watch Question

When you say, "The control panel shows the joystick as working
Do you mean in the Device Manager? If not look there for any red flags indicating a problem.


Actually, both the 'gaming devices' section of the control panel, and also the device manager both show everything functioning normally, with no conflicts.

Go to http://www.microsoft.com/kb/ , choose Windows95 and go to search. Type joystick. You will find 11 articles on the subject.
Also, you know the make and model of your joystick?
How about passing that info along to me so I can better help.

Oh Yea,
Article ID: Q141602 takes you to a exstensive list of other articles relating to you problem.
Again, send me more info on your joystick , make and model and configuration so I can better help.

Bud Allen


The joystick is the Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro.  Again, I'm not really sure that the joystick problem is anything but a symptom.
(and possibly not even related.)

Something else odd I've noticed.  Previously when re-installing Win95, I would get the choice of either a full install, or to only restore those files that had been changed/damaged.  Now I don't get a choice; it goes directly to a full install--almost as though it doesn't detect a previous installation at all.

I'm so confused!

Well, we all get confused.
If you're going to re-install there are many switches you can use to force setup to behave. It's a long list so rather than post them here, go to http://www.microsoft.com/kb/ and look up Article ID: Q128400.
This article describes the switches you can use with the Windows 95 Setup program.
The following switches can be added to the Setup command. For example,
setup /?
 /? - This switch provides a brief summary of the available Setup switches
and the correct command line syntax.
I have not tried this one but i think it's the option you're after.

b - This switch enables Prompt Before mode. It prompts you before a detection module is called so that you can step through each detection module manually and decide if you want to skip it.
The default is disabled. Example: setup /p b

1st. Give me more information about your system. Is it OSR2? Did it come with Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro already installed or did you install it?
2nd. Do you have System agent Installed?
3rd. Do you have sidewndr.exe 1.0 on your system?
4th. I'm not sure that OSR2 has a "MSD.EXE". if it does, from dos prompt type "MSD" and see if it reports any information in game adaptors.


Sorry for the delay in updating.....I uninstalled/reinstalled directX 3.0, and then reinstalled my video drivers.  This has eliminated the "unable to register..." message.

Still the joystick problem remains, though.
-No, I'm not running OSR2.  Just regular Win95, although I do have all of the service packs and updates.  I installed the Sidewinder myself.  Originally it used it's own driver, but I later added a Microsoft Sidewinder Game Pad, which added a new driver for both, called a "Game Device Profiler".  
-Yes, I do have system agent installed.
-No, I don't have sidewndr.exe installed.  The game pad game device profiler overwrote it with new drivers.  All I have left is Sidewndr.vxd in Windows\System.
-Sorry, don't have MSD anymore.


What driver are you using for "Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro"?
The driver A2495.exe contains the following files:
x86            Date       Size       Version
\CNTYCODE.DOS 8/4/95 3    915          
\COMMON.IN_   8/4/95 3    5290         
If that's not the driver you are using, then you can get it at:
In Case you don't get the directions, well, I'm here to please:
To install this driver, follow these steps:

     Create a blank formatted 3.5"/1.44MB diskette for the file.
and from 'My Computer' or 'Windows 95 Explorer', double-click the file you downloaded - this will extract the driver.
Launch Control Panel.
     Double-click the Add New Hardware icon. At the prompt "Do you want Windows to Search for new hardware?" click No.
     Click the hardware type for the driver you are installing.
     Click the Have Disk button.
     Enter the location of the driver file.
     Follow the instructions on your screen.

To upgrade an existing driver with this driver, follow these steps:

     Create a blank formatted 3.5"/1.44MB diskette.
My Computer' or 'Windows 95 Explorer', double-click the file you downloaded - this will extract the driver.
     Use the right mouse button to click My Computer, then click properties on the menu that appears
     Click the Device Manager tab, then double-click the device type and the device you want to upgrade.
     Click the Driver tab, then click the change Driver button.
     Click the Have Disk button.
     Enter the location of the driver file.
     Follow the instructions on your screen.
This should fix you Joy stick prolems.
VERY GLAD TO HEAR that you got rid of that "unable to register the control panel" error message.

Have fun and let me know how this works out.


Unfortunately, that still didn't solve my problem.  I went ahead and tried that driver, but it only made things worse.  The joystick wasn't even calibrated (or calibratable).  So I did some more digging at the MS FTP site and found sdwndr15.exe, with a file date of February 7, 1997.  This is the latest driver file for both the Sidewinder joystick and game pad.  After installing it, I'm right back where I started.  ie it works briefly in any game, and then quits--with the game no longer even recognizing you have one attached.



Adjusted points to 225

Well i see I've been rejected. I Don't mind, we need other help.
i found this at http://www.microsoft.com/kb/.
How to Troubleshoot a GamePort Joystick
Article ID: Q141854. You might take a look at it. Also there is a ton of articles relating to you problem there to.
At Step 1 I choose All, and at Step 5 I typed in
Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro.
Lots to ponder on.
Have you considered that your Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro may be defective?

Stay in touch, and good luck


Hope I didn't step on your toes; I really do appreciate your efforts.  

I know that the joystick isn't defective, because it operates fine when I reboot to DOS.  I'll dig some more through the knowledge base at MS.

It's always good to see what is being configured when a device is installed.  What I mean is simple:  try to find another one who is using the same joystick.  Check out their registry and control.ini files (or system.ini or win.ini for that matter).
What I think is:
1.  Something is wrong with the update of the system files.
    Try to get familiar with the technical side of the install.
    Check to see which entries are modified.  Search the
    registry for a joystick string.
2.  Did you connect your joystick to a sound card or a gamepad ?
    Is the sound card joystick jumper enabled ?
    If it's a game pad - is it conflicting with another device ?
3.  Try to install the joystick on another machine.
4.  Try to use setup / p f to create a new registry log and
    a new detection phase when re-installing Win95.
5.  Get a CH FlightStick Pro or Flightstick 16 or another
    joystick and test it.  Try to use different joystick drivers
    for the device.  It is possible other devices are
    conflicting with a unique module of the joystick where
    others won't.
6.  Try to use Cleansweep's Registry Sweep or Remove-It
    Clean-It or Microsoft's RegClean to remove unneeded or
    duplicate Entries in the Registry.  It is possible an old
    Entry is resident there, intact - where you have actually
    solved your problem !
    For that matter, check to see if there are duplicate Entries
    for the joystick in the Registry, if there are - try to
    remove the first one but be sure to backup the Registry

Hope something will help,
    let me know ... !

Another place to look is right click my compute, properties, device manager, sound and game controllers, joystick port, properties, resources, and adjust these because they may be in conflict and not show it.  This on top of everything else may help.  Would a complete fdisk, format c:/u/s be so bad?

Are you using a separate game card or the joystick port on the sound card?  If the first make sure the latter is disabeled.

billogle is propably in the right path. I have a motherboard with soundcard (2 in 1) and an extra game card with two inputs. I could not use either until i've made windows recognize the game card.

I would say you have an I/O conflict.


Well, lot's of avenues to check out.  I'm not using a separate game card, and only one joystick port; on the sound card.  I'm not showing any I/O conflicts, (although device manager isn't always accurate).  I'll swap some more settings and get back to you.  
BTW, I'm getting the "Unable to Register the Control Panel" message again----and I know that if I re-install my video drivers it will go away, at least for a while.

Just changing some settings won't always work either.  The gameport/midi port is usually set for 330--the same IO Adaptec scsi boards default to.  Do you have one?  Change the SCSI card io address.  You won't be able to get around it any other way.  Don't have one?  Did anyone mention the possibility of a bad game port/joystick?  Check Control Panels, Multimedia, Advanced, this is somewhat like device manager for mm devices.  You can do more nitty gritty configuration of these devices here.
Your "Can't register the control panel" is almost certainly due to a corrupted Win95 install -- we've seen it dozens of times at work.  However, reinstalling Win95 overtop of your existing system won't fix a lot of corruption, particularly in the registry, which is where I believe your problem is.

To do this, there are two solutions:

1) (preferred)  Physically delete your windows directory and all system files in your root (including hidden files), and most particularly your hidden registry files SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT.  Obviously you'll have to do this from DOS mode.

2)  There is a command line switch for Windows 95 setup which purges the registry (most of the time).  I believe it is /pf but you'd have to check.

Either of these should allow Win95 to start installing a clean registry, which should solve your control panel problems -- as an added bonus, it will let Win95 start from scratch on installing drivers for your hardware, possibly fixing other little problems.

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.