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Understanding Applets

The Control Panel consists of multiple components called applets. The Control Panel provides an organizational structure to the applets available on the system. In this section, you will learn what applets are and how to use the Control Panel interface to access them.

Defining a Control Panel Applet

Without applets, the Control Panel would be useless. The entire purpose of the Control Panel is to provide access to applets. A Control Panel applet is a special Windows application that is used to configure some aspect of the system and its add-on applications. Windows 7 ships with more than 40 Control Panel applets.

The modern Control Panel is a mixture of traditional applets and newer executable programs. Applets have a.CPL extension and executables have an .EXE extension. Many applets, dating back to Windows 3.x days, use the .CPL extension. For example, NCPA.CPL is still used to configure network adapter settings, and it was used as far back as Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. Windows 7 ships with at least 20 of these CPL files, as shown in Figure 5.1, which displays a directory listing from the Command Prompt.


  

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