When most people hear the term “God Mode,” they think of video game cheat codes that give the player invincibility or other game-breaking attributes. But there’s also a Windows God Mode, at least sort of.
First uncovered in Windows Vista, power users discovered that renaming a folder with a certain string of characters would enable a special Control Panel interface that consolidated practically every Windows setting and management feature under one virtual roof. Officially called the “Windows Master Control Panel” by Microsoft’s internal development team, the users who discovered the feature affectionally renamed it Windows God Mode.
Windows God Mode works with most supported versions of Windows, including Vista, 7, and 8 (although there are some reports of stability issues when it’s enabled in 64-bit versions of Windows Vista). To activate Windows God Mode, create a new folder on your Desktop and give it the following name:
You’ll immediately notice that the Folder icon has turned into a Control Panel icon. Opening the folder reveals a list of hundreds of shortcuts to various Control Panel settings and system management features. Just about everything in the list – from changing your User Account Control security level, to viewing installed fonts, to viewing your Windows Update History – can be accessed via standard user-facing menus, but having it all in one searchable place is convenient, especially for power users.
And searchable is the crucial word here. Windows God Mode was never supposed to be discovered or used by consumers. Microsoft created this behind-the-scenes folder in order to facilitate the Windows search features that were introduced in Vista. When searching in the Windows Control Panel, you can type queries such as “firewall” and receive results that link directly to the Control Panel settings for the various Windows firewall features.
That magic happens because the Windows God Mode folder, which is always operating in the background even if you’ve never enabled its visibility, links each Control Panel setting with various keywords that users might type to find it. You can see these keywords in a separate column of the Windows God Mode folder. As an example, the keywords for the Control Panel setting to “Change SmartScreen Settings” are smart, screen, smartscreen, and internet.
Notably, Microsoft even anticipated misspellings, and includes keywords like ajust, maneger, and scaners, in addition to their correctly spelled counterparts.
Creating the Windows God Mode folder is safe and easy, but some of the settings linked within it can significantly alter the way your computer operates. So feel free to create and explore the folder, but be careful when modifying settings if you’re not sure of their function.
Once you’re done exploring the Windows God Mode folder, you can remove access to it by simply deleting it. You can then recreate it at any time by repeating the steps above. Note that you can also rename the folder to something other than “God Mode.” Just replace “GodMode” in the string above with your own name, making sure to preserve the period between your custom name and the opening bracket. If we wanted to name our folder to “TekRevue,” for example, we’d name our folder as follows:
Now that you’ve seen the Windows God Mode folder, you’ll probably agree that the name is a bit exaggerated. Still, if you’re a Windows power user looking for quick and easy access to virtually all of your operating system’s settings and management options, Windows God Mode can be quite handy.