Control panel

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Note icon color.pngWikipedia has more information about Control panel (Mac OS).

Under Mac OS 9 and earlier, a control panel is a small application which enabled the user to modify software and hardware settings such as the sound volume and desktop pattern. Control panels differ from extensions in that they allow the user to specify options, whereas extensions provide the user with no interface for setting preferences. In many software distributions extensions provided the functionality and the corresponding control panel provided all the configuration options.


The original control panels in the earliest Mac OS were all combined into one small desk accessory. Susan Kare designed the interface for the original control panel, and tried to make it as user-friendly as possible. This design was used until System 6 when separate control panel files ("cdev"s) were added, accessible solely through the control panel.

With the debut of System 7 the control panels were separated into individual small application-like processes accessible from the Finder, and by a sub-menu in the Apple menu provided by Apple Menu Options. By Mac OS 9, many control panels were true applications..


In Classic Mac OSs from System 7 up to Mac OS 9 control panels are activated by the system software during the boot process. Some are used to set values of system variables stored in the Parameter RAM, some add extra functionality to the system. Control panels usually just have to be stored inside a folder called "Control Panels" inside the active "System Folder". This way the system software recognizes the control panels after loading the files from within the "System Folder" itself and the folder "Extensions" which is stored inside the "System Folder".

List of control panels

The control panels included with Mac OS 9: