The Windows 7 Control Panel explained: Hardware and Sound

by David Nield on March 7, 2011

Hardware and Sound

Hardware and Sound brings together all of the settings and tools pertinent to your system’s hardware setup. This screen enables you to add and remove devices, configure the way that peripherals work, change the settings on your monitor, and change the power plan employed by a laptop.

Devices and Printers - visit these screens to add and re-configure hardware devices. View the printers, input devices, displays and other peripherals hooked up to your machine, and troubleshoot or change the settings for each one. Some router and network settings are also available from here.

AutoPlay - control the way in which Windows deals with new media (such as DVDs) or devices (such as USB sticks) as they are plugged into the machine. You can have the operating system take a particular action, ask you to make a decision each time, or simply do nothing.

Sound - clicking here will launch the Sound configuration dialog. From here you can configure your speaker or headphone setup, change the playback and recording devices that are in use, update the relevant drivers, and more. There are also options to change the sound scheme being used by Windows.

Power Options - this screen will be of most use if you are using a laptop. Change the length of time the computer waits before it goes into sleep or hibernation mode, change the delay before the screen shuts off, and more. If you need to conserve battery power, then this is the place to do it.

Display - visit this area of Control Panel to access the more technical aspects of your monitor and graphics setup. The settings here enable you to change the screen resolution and text size, calibrate the colour options, and configure extra features such as ClearType.

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