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Cannot access Control Panel stuff

Posted on 2006-06-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
i cannot access control panel stuff, nor IE properties, neither Network properties.
If i do a right click on desktop icons, nothing happens, no error message.
The same apply to Start, Configuration, Control Panel.
I already try using command line like this:
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL sysdm.cpl,,1
Could somebody help me?
Thanks in advance.
Question by:Richie_Simonetti
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LVL 29

Assisted Solution

blue_zee earned 300 total points
ID: 16887861
Lee Tutor's troubleshooter is excellent:


See if these help you and post back your findngs.

LVL 38

Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 100 total points
ID: 16890518
Excellent links on LeeTutor's page, but one of them has a glaring error that you'll probably spot anyway:

"Windows 95 and Windows 98" section.  The *.cpl files are NOT in the C:\Windows\System32 folder, but in C:\Windows\System.

You should maybe make sure that the registry is correctly set to handle opening of Control Panel applets as follows:

Scroll over the following text and copy it (Ctrl and C keys), then open Notepad and Paste the contents (Ctrl and V keys).  Remove any extra blank lines at the end, and then press the Enter key twice to add 2 new ones.

Do a File > Save As and browse to somewhere like your desktop.  Click the black arrow in the drop-down list for the "Save As Type" field, and set it to save as "All Files (*.*)".  Type in a file name such as "cplfile.REG".  Be sure to add that dot REG after the file name.  Close Notepad

Locate the file (it will show with a kind of green Rubiks Cube type icon).  RIGHT-Click on the new *.REG file, and choose "MERGE".

Reboot after it tells you that the information was correctly merged to the registry.

-------------- start of text to copy (DON'T include this line) ----------


@="Control Panel extension"



@="Open with Control Panel"

@="C:\\WINDOWS\\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL %1,%*"

-------------- end of text to copy (DON'T include this line) ----------

If it WAS a simple problem with a registry entry, then this first step might save you the hassle of extracting new *.cpl files from the Windows CD.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 16890568
Hmmm. I see you are a Sage level in VB Programming Richard.  Sorry if that suggestion sounded a bit simplistic.

One of the links mentioned forcing the recreation of CONTROL.INI.
If you happen to see any lines under a [don't load] section header in that file and if they are set to "no", then delete the lines or change the value to "yes".  For example:

[don't load]

Usually lines there jus hide the named applets, but it's worth checking anyway.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 16890605
To your knowledge, have their been any "policies" set on that computer?
If so, then some of the registry settings mentioned in this question might have been applied:

If searching winguides.com, I suggest you start here:
and in particular:
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 16893933
Thanks to all of you!
policies was the first item that i checked. Nope.
To this moment i cannot access the computer (i work with it remotely via VNC). i like the control.ini resurrection idea. I will try that first.
i will keep you informed.
Thanks again
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 16893957
one more thing.
Since all stuff that i want to load uses rundll, maybe it is corrupted or worse, a virus.
I alredy did a scan and no virus was found but.. who knows?
LVL 29

Assisted Solution

blue_zee earned 300 total points
ID: 16894098

Usually the Control Panel problems are not related to virus or malware, but as you say... who knows?

Download A Squared Free:


Install, update and do a full system scan. Delete everything it finds.

Who knows?

Best of luck,

LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 16894423
mmmm, A2 is well known company? i wouldn't like to solve a problem using another one, if you know what i mean.
LVL 29

Assisted Solution

blue_zee earned 300 total points
ID: 16894560

Yup it is an excellent malware scanner.

That's the only purpose for my suggestion.

And on this topic, see these:

To Home Users: Do you want free security programs that really works?

All free. Be aware that some will require Windows XP or 2K and will not run on Win9x systems.

LVL 13

Accepted Solution

gonzal13 earned 100 total points
ID: 16895638
If you can access the OS and Windows explorer than do the following:
Reinstall win98 over itself. It will not change any of your configurations.
Open Windows explorer.
Insert the cd rom
Click X when the windows logo appears
goto your cd rom drive
goto win98
click setup
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 16898077
Boot to a Win98 boot floppy, rename RunDLL32.exe and extract a new copy from the Windows 98 CD using the command:

extract /A x:\win98\base4.cab rundll32.exe /L c:\windows

Reboot and then run SFC to see if it reports missing or changed files to restore from the CD.
What version of shell32.dll is currently in c:\windows\system and what file size and creation date is it?

Win98 shell32.dll extracted from CD =    4.72.3110.6      ~  11 May 1998 20:01:00 ~ 1,400,832 bytes
Win98se shell32.dll extracted from CD = 4.72.3612.1700 ~ 23 April 1999 22:22:00 ~ 1,400,832 bytes
Windows ME shell32.dll extracted from CD = 5.50.4134.100 ~ 08 June 2000 17:00:00 ~ 2,281,472 bytes

Version on my win98se system with IE6 SP1 = 4.72.3812.600 ~ 06 December 2001 23:25:08 ~  1,388,616 bytes
Not sure about the date on this one though.  Looks like the time of creation has been modified somehow.  Don't even know what updated it either, but could find out.

RunDLL32.exe versions are the same for Win98 and 98SE = 4.10.1998 ~ < dates as above> ~ 24,576 bytes
WinME version = 4.90.3000 ~ date as above ~ same file size as Win98.SE version.
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 16905583
unfortunately, deleting control.ini diddn't slove the problem. Indeed, file is not re-created.
Besides reinstall, there is another option?
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 16909343
Control.ini is one of those files that is created during windows setup depending entirely on the current configuration of the system, so it's not something that can be extracted from a *.cab file on the Windows CD.

I'll bet its template is created by one of the inf file that is unpacked and consulted for instructions during Win98 setup, and is thereafter populated.  I would have to look in my cab files to see if I can find this out, but in the meantime perhaps if you create a basic file with section headers, it MIGHT be populated when control panel is opened next.

Here's my Win98se control.ini (I've commented it):

[don't load]
; Uses of this already discussed.
; Section header can be safely deleted.

; used to load 3rd-party control panel applets by specifying path to them
; My control panel has an applet for the custom settings of my
; integrated SoundMax audio chip.  Maybe creating a blank mmcpl section
; header would cause it to be re-populated
SMax3cp.cpl=C:\Program Files\Analog Devices\SoundMAX\SMax3cp.cpl

; The patterns are just pre-defined here, so you
; could copy this section into a new ini file
Bricks=187 95 174 93 186 117 234 245
Buttons=170 125 198 71 198 127 190 85
Cargo Net=120 49 19 135 225 200 140 30
Circuits=82 41 132 66 148 41 66 132
Cobblestones=40 68 146 171 214 108 56 16
Colosseum=130 1 1 1 171 85 170 85
Daisies=30 140 216 253 191 27 49 120
Dizzy=62 7 225 7 62 112 195 112
Field Effect=86 89 166 154 101 149 106 169
Key=254 2 250 138 186 162 190 128
Live Wire=239 239 14 254 254 254 224 239
Plaid=240 240 240 240 170 85 170 85
Rounder=215 147 40 215 40 147 213 215
Scales=225 42 37 146 85 152 62 247
Stone=174 77 239 255 8 77 174 77
Thatches=248 116 34 71 143 23 34 113
Tile=69 130 1 0 1 130 69 170
Triangles=135 7 6 4 0 247 231 199
Waffle's Revenge=77 154 8 85 239 154 77 154

; I believe that these are all standard drivers installed by
; windows, but can't be certain.  Try copying it to a new ini file
; and see if it works.
l3codecx.acm=Fraunhofer IIS MPEG Layer-3 Codec
mcicda.drv=[MCI] CD Audio
mciseq.drv=[MCI] MIDI sequencer
mciwave.drv=[MCI] Sound
mciavi.drv=[MCI] Microsoft Video for Windows
mcipionr.drv=[MCI] Pioneer Videodisc
mcivisca.drv=[MCI] ViSCA VCR
mciqtz.drv=[MCI] Microsoft ActiveMovie
syncor11.drv=syncor11.drv[No Driver Description]
mmsystem.dll=mmsystem.dll[No Driver Description]

[Screen Saver.3DText]
; I don't have a screensaver configured, but the value
; of the Text line is one I had set a while ago.

It's worth at least trying to copy and paste this as a new experimental control.ini

Expert Comment

ID: 16952661
Hmmm , do you have Active Desktop enabled under View ? If you do , try changing it to Classic Desktop..

Just a thought :P
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 16953208
nope. I always disable it. it is resource eater.
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17060603
Last suggestion didn't work
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 17061133

Have you tried the malware scanners like A Squared mentioned above?
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17167529
well, i finally changed the PC and the other with the problem goes to PC cemetery.
LVL 16

Author Comment

ID: 17167552
Thanks a lot.
LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 17167555

Let its Soul go to PC Heaven...??

Feel free to post for a refund.


LVL 29

Expert Comment

ID: 17167563

Oh... you split!


LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 17167625
Thank you Richie.

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