When you want to restrict users from accessing certain parts of Control Panel, you can use GPO to hide specific Control Panel items.
Control Panel is one of the most important parts of Windows. From the control panel, you can find all sorts of options and modify the system to your heart’s content. Even though most control panel options require administrative privileges, there are still options that can be modified or set by any user regardless of their privilege. If you don’t like this behavior or if you have some settings that you’d like to lock away, you can use the Group Policy Editor to hide the control panel items. The good thing is, you can either hide control panel items for a specific user or for all users.
Once hidden, those control panel items will not be accessible for those users. Without further ado, let me show how you can hide specified control panel items in Windows using GPO.
Note: To follow the below method, you should be using Windows Pro or Enterprise version.
Hide Control Panel Items GPO Windows
To hide the control panel items, we are going to use the Group Policy Editor. In the Group Policy Editor, all you have to do is type in the Control Panel item name and it will be hidden.
1. First, open the Start Menu, search for “Edit Group Policy” and click on the result to open the Group Policy Editor.
2. In the Group Policy Editor, you will see a bunch of folders on the left panel. On the left panel, expand the folder structure and go to “User Configuration → Administrative Templates → Control Panel”.
3. On the right panel, find and double-click on the “Hide specified control panel items” policy.
4. In the policy properties window, select the “Enabled” radio option.
5. This action will enable an additional option under the Options section. Click on the “Show” button.
6. In the new window, select the blank field and enter the name of the Control Panel item. For example, I want to hide the Date and Time settings. So, I entered “Date and Time” as that is the control panel item name. Click on the “Ok” button to save changes.
To get the name of a control panel item, open the Control Panel and set the View By to either “Large icons” or “Small icons”. You can enter the names you see them.
7. Click on the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons to save policy changes.
8. Close the Group Policy Editor and reboot Windows to make the policy changes apply.
After restarting, you will no longer see the control panel item you’ve hidden. In my case, I can no longer see the Date and Time control panel item.
If you ever want to revert back, simply open the policy and select “Not configured” or “Disabled” and you are good to go.
As you can see, it is pretty easy to hide any control panel option you want using GPO. Keep in mind that the above procedure will hide the control panel items for all users including the Administrators. If you want to apply the policy to only non-administrations then you have to open the Group Policy Editor for Non-administrators by creating a new snap-in. That way, you as an administrator can still access the hidden control panel items while blocking the regular users.
Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible. If you like this article, do check out how to back up group policy editor and how to see full user account details in Windows.