Control Panel via D:\temp\FOO.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}

Posted on 2001-07-15
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Hi all,

This is not really a problem, rather it is a request for an explanation.

If I create an empty directory called "D:\temp\FOO.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}", when I examine this directory in Explorer it gives me control panel!

This is handy for administrators to get some control of locked-down PCs, but the end-users could just as easily use this trick.

My question is "How does it work?".  It seems bizarre.


Question by:mjsmith99
  • 2
  • 2

Expert Comment

Comment Utility
This is embedded in Windows. If you wish to restarin users having access to the control Panel, you should set this up using system policies. this way the user will not have access to the control panel, even xwhen he makes this directory manually.

Some interesting articles:

PSS ID Number: Q134849
Article last modified on 10-20-2000


The information in this article applies to:
 - Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
- Microsoft Windows 98
- Microsoft Windows 95
- Microsoft Windows NT Workstation version 4.0
- Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0
This article describes how to create a cascading Control Panel, Printers, or
Dial-Up Networking menu from the Start menu.
To create a cascading Control Panel, Printers, or Dial-Up Networking menu,
follow these steps:
1. Right-click Start, and then click Explore.
2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Folder.
3. Type one of the following names for the new folder, and then press ENTER:
   For a cascading Control Panel menu:
   Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
   For a cascading Printers menu:
   For a cascading Dial-Up Networking menu:
   Dial-Up Networking.{992CFFA0-F557-101A-88EC-00DD010CCC48}
   NOTE: The cascading Dial-Up Networking menu does not function in Windows 98,
  Windows NT, or in Windows 95 with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 installed.
   The folder will automatically rename itself to simply Control Panel, Printers,
  or Dial-Up Networking, and will appear on the Start menu as a cascading menu.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 for each cascading menu you want to add.
5. Close Windows Explorer.
For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft
Knowledge Base:
   ARTICLE-ID: Q135893
  TITLE : Windows 95 Tips.txt File Contents
Additional query words: CLSID class id
Keywords          : kbui kbusage win95 win98 kbfaq ModWinAPIViewer kbfaq
Technology        : kbWinNTsearch kbWinNTWsearch kbWinNTW400 kbWinNTW400search kbWinNT400search kbWinNTSsearch kbWinNTS400search kbWinNTS400
Version           : :4.0,95
Issue type        : kbhowto
Copyright Microsoft Corporation 2000.

Here some more info about virtual folders:

PSS ID Number: Q179513
Article last modified on 01-30-1999

The information in this article applies to:
 - Microsoft Windows 95
- Microsoft Windows 98
When you right-click an icon in a folder such as My Computer, Network
Neighborhood, Control Panel, Dial-Up Networking, or Printers and then click
Create Shortcut, you receive the following error message:
   Windows cannot create a shortcut here.
  Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead?
This behavior occurs because these are virtual folders. Unlike folders in
Windows Explorer, virtual folders are not storage locations for files or file
system objects. Virtual folders are also known as Windows shell space objects.
Virtual folders are part of the graphical user interface (GUI) that allow easy
access to customizable features in Windows.
Other differences between virtual folders and file system folders include:
 - Virtual folders cannot contain a folder, but can contain a pointer to a
  folder (for example, the Fonts folder in Control Panel is a pointer to the
  Windows\Fonts folder).
 - Virtual folders cannot have attributes (such as read-only, hidden, or
 - Virtual folders cannot be customized if you install the Windows Desktop
  Update component as part of Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.0 or 4.01.
When you create a shortcut for an object in a virtual folder and receive the
message that the shortcut will be placed on the desktop, the shortcut that is
created on the desktop works correctly. The shortcut also works correctly if you
move it to another file folder.
This behavior is by design.
Additional query words: link
Keywords          : kberrmsg kbui win95 win98
Version           : WINDOWS:95,98
Platform          : WINDOWS
Issue type        : kbprb
Copyright Microsoft Corporation 1999.

Here is another Technet article worth looking into:


best regards


Author Comment

Comment Utility
Thanks Draak,

I tested the use of policies, and this trick overrides them.  For example if I type CONTROL at the DOS prompt I get an IE page with "Action Cancelled" because the policies exclude Control Panel, but I CAN access Control Panel via the suitably named directory.


Accepted Solution

Draak earned 100 total points
Comment Utility

You are absolutely right. It works. So I thought to dig a little deeper: I renamed the control.exe. So you can enter the control panel, but you cannot open any of the controls. Again this did not work, because in Windows 2000, the system automatically replaces the control.exe when it is missing. the last thing you can do and this does work, is to hide all the control panels within Control Panel. you can do this by renaming or removing all *.cpl files

Rename them and or move them around within the system, so the user cannot easily figure out where the files are. Eventually you can create a batch that puts them back whenever you wish to intervene on the machine.

best regards,


Author Comment

Comment Utility
Thanks for your comments Draak.

It looks like it really isn't possible to properly lock down an NT4 workstation (not just because of this).


Featured Post

Why You Should Analyze Threat Actor TTPs

After years of analyzing threat actor behavior, it’s become clear that at any given time there are specific tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that are particularly prevalent. By analyzing and understanding these TTPs, you can dramatically enhance your security program.

Join & Write a Comment

A few months ago I had an issue with LaserJet 1020 printer which was installed to XP and Windows 7.  It was installed to XP and working, but when I tried to connect from a Windows 7 PC, it would attempt connection and then fail.  Sometimes the Spool…
Possible fixes for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 updating problem. Solutions mentioned are from Microsoft themselves. I started a case with them from our Microsoft Silver Partner option to open a case and get direct support from Microsoft. If s…
This Micro Tutorial will give you a basic overview of Windows DVD Burner through its features and interface. This will be demonstrated using Windows 7 operating system.
The viewer will learn how to successfully create a multiboot device using the SARDU utility on Windows 7. Start the SARDU utility: Change the image directory to wherever you store your ISOs, this will prevent you from having 2 copies of an ISO wit…

772 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

12 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now