One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

Seeing how useful this tool is, it’s shockingly fameless. I’m talking about the Windows Mobility Center. Say what? See what I mean!

What Is The Windows Mobility Center?

In short, the Windows Mobility Center (WMC) is a one stop menu from which you can control many of your laptop’s hardware settings. It’s especially useful, if your¬†computer¬†doesn’t have all the function buttons you’d like, providing access to several different display settings, volume, battery status & power plans, wireless adapter, and more. Which tiles you see depends on your hardware¬†and¬†some manufacturers include¬†custom tiles.

Windows 7 Mobility Center   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

Note that if you’re missing one of the default tiles, it could mean that the hardware or driver isn’t installed. Also, if you have a hardware switch for your wirelss adapter, be sure it’s in the ON position to turn it on and off using the tile.

Per default, WMC is disabled on desktop computers, but can be enabled; see below for details.

How Can I Access The Windows Mobility Center?

Generally, you can find the Windows Mobility Center in the Windows Control Panel. In Category view, it’s listed under Hardware and Sound: Adjust commonly used mobility settings. In Windows 7 you can also access it super quick with the¬†keyboard shortcut¬†¬†Windows key + X.

Sadly, Microsoft decided not to offer a direct WMC shortcut in Windows 8. To access it from the desktop, right-click the Start button to open the new Win+X menu (or click the respective keyboard shortcut) and select Mobility Center from the menu.

Windows 8 Win+X Menu   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

Alternatively, click Windows key + C to open the Charms bar, search for mobility, and open WMC from the results.

If you can’t seem to find or open the WMC, it might have been disabled. See below for instructions on how to enable it.

If you’d prefer a direct keyboard shortcut in Windows 8 or a different one in Windows 7, you can create a desktop shortcut and set a custom¬†key combination¬†to open it. For the desktop shortcut, open the Control Panel, make sure you’re in list view, right-click on Windows Mobility Center, and select Create shortcut. You can move the shortcut from your desktop to a more convenient location.

To set up a custom keyboard shortcut in either Windows 7 or 8, right-click the WMC shortcut you just created, switch to the Shortcut tab, place your cursor in the Shortcut key field, and click your desired key combination. Note that you need to pick a key combination that isn’t already in use. When you’re done, click OK. This custom keyboard shortcut will work from anywhere in Windows 7 or 8.

Windows Shortcut Properties   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

To easily access the WMC on a Windows 8 touch device, you can move the desktop shortcut you created above to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs Рthis will place it in the App view. From here you can right-click and pin it to the Start screen.

Pin WMC to Start   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

What Can I Do With The Windows Mobility Center?

As mentioned above, the WMC comes with a set of default tiles, depending on what hardware is installed on your computer:

  • Brightness, to adjust the brightness of your display via a convenient slider.
  • Volume, to adjust the volume.
  • Battery Status, to see how much juice you’ve got left and to switch power plans and save battery life.
  • Wireless Network, to turn your wirless network on or off.
  • Screen Orientation, to rotate your screen.
  • External Display, to see the second monitor’s status and resolution, and toggle active screens.
  • Sync Center, possibly useful for owners of a Windows Phone.
  • Presentation Settings, to turn on custom settings for when you’re running a presentation, such as disabling the volume and screensaver, and showing a specific background.

Clicking a tile icon will open options for the respective setting. For example, the display brightness icon will open settings for your current power plan, which includes custom brightness settings for that power plan.

Balanced Power Plan   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

Clicking the presentations settings icon launches a window in which you can control how your computer behaves during presentations.

Presentation Settings   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

How Can I Get This On My Desktop Computer?

Per default, the Windows Mobility Center only launches if you’re on a mobile device. Desktop users will see a window informing them that the feature is available only on laptops. You can bypass this restriction with a registry hack provided by SevenForums. Simply download their Enable Desktop WMC registry file, follow instructions, and you’re in.

Enable WMC   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

Under the same link above, SevenForums also offers a registry file to disable the WMC.

Is It Possible To Add Custom Tiles?

Yes, and Microsoft released a thorough documentation on the Windows Mobility Center, which includes instructions on how to add custom tiles. Briefly, custom static or dynamic tiles can be added via subkeys under the following registry key:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\MobilePC\MobilityCenter\Tiles

It took Microsoft 47 pages to explain the process, so I won’t attempt to provide further details. Just know that some people have made custom tiles, samples, and tutorials available, including…

Custom WMC Tile   One Windows Tool To Get Instant Access To All Your Hardware Controls

Isn’t This The Most Useful Tool Ever?

Which other settings would you like to edit from the Windows Mobility Center? And what other Windows shortcuts should people know about?

13 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Extreme588

Awesome I can see it been use for pranks already :)

Tina S

How? And do let us know in case you make one available. :)

Reply

Hildy J

I’d like to see downloadable tiles for WiFi on/off (Dell removed that from the Venue 8 Pro with Win 8.1) and Bluetooth on/off (I don’t think this was ever available).

One thing you can use it for with tablets is screen rotation. Turn off auto rotate and use the rotation tile.

Tina S

Using it for tablet screen rotation is a good use.

I actually did see a Bluetooth toggle, but another download from the same site didn’t work, so I didn’t include it above. Turns out the Bluetooth tile download works. Here it is.

Reply

Kimchi R

Interesting but I’ll probably forget about it in a week.

Tina S

Here’s a friendly reminder to use the keyboard shortcut [WINDOWS] + [X] to launch the insanely useful Windows Mobility Center. ;) Hope it helps!

Reply

Justin K

Thanks Tina

Reply

Steve Balmer

On desktop 64-bit Windows 7 Pro, doesn’t appear in Control Panel, nor is it accessible via keyboard shortcut.

Tina S

As mentioned above, the Windows Mobility Center is typically disabled on desktop computers. There’s a link in the article to a registry file that will enable it.

Reply

Alastair

I have a pc windows 7 professional. I downloaded the windows mobility centre enable registry file and only got a three or four line entry in my registry, not the blue button I was expecting. I merged what I got and nothing happened.
Can anyone help?

Tina S

Alastair, I’m not sure I understand. What is the blue button you were expecting? And what’s that about the three or four lines in your registry?

Tina S

Have you found a solution to the problem you experienced, Alastair? You can also try posting on MakeUseOf Answers.

Reply

Mohammed A

thanks Tina S

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