Being able to block the Control Panel with Group Policy is quite easy, simply enable “Prohibit access to Control Panel”. Blocking certain control panel applets, like Sound, is harder! You would think that enabling “Hide specified Control Panel items” would do the trick – that is until you read the description for that setting.
So it isn’t as simple as entering in Volume to block the Volume and Sound applet. To make sure that we block the correct applet, let’s learn the incorrect and correct way for PowerShell to list our Control Panel canonical names.
Firing up PowerShell, we can use the Command Explorer or we can use Get-Command to search for a built-in CMDLET. Searching for Control, the command explorer found these commands:
Notice the last command, Show-ControlPanelItem. Looking promising doesn’t it! On my management machine, I entered Show-ControlPanelItem. It immediately prompted for a name – like a dummy, I typed *.
As you can see, I have about 50 windows opened – to be exact, I have all 52 control panel applets opened. As a bonus, the control panel app Narrator was kind enough to tell me every single application that was opened. Show-ControlPanelItem probably should be renamed to Open-ControlPanelItem (and I probably should run get-help when testing out a new command).
Back to our command explorer list, you’ll notice command named Get-ControlPanelItem. After reading Get-Help and executing the command, I got the output that I wanted!
I can now add my restricted control panel applets to the Hide specified Control Panel items setting.
You will notice that I now have Microsoft.Sound listed. Microsoft.Sound is needed to block the Sound applet on Windows 7 + machines. The other two are needed to block the Sound applet on Windows XP and on Windows Vista machines. Now you can easily restrict the control panel with Group Policy and PowerShell.
If you need to find specific Group Policy Settings (like how to hide the control panel), check out this series!