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Article ID: 812631 - Last Review: January 12, 2015 - Revision: 3.0

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This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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When you use Control.exe and Desk.cpl to programmatically open the Display Properties dialog box and select the Appearance tab, the Appearance tab may not be selected. The Display Properties dialog box opens, but a different tab, such as the Screen Saver tab, is selected.


This problem may occur if you use the following command to open the Display Properties and select the Appearance tab:
control.exe desk.cpl , , 2
Windows XP does not process the value 2 correctly to select the Appearance tab. As a result, a tab other than the Appearance tab is selected when the Display Properties dialog box opens.


Service pack information

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Microsoft Windows XP. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322389  ( ) How to obtain the latest Windows XP service pack

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: (
Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.

The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in coordinated universal time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.
Date         Time   Version         Size    File name
09-Jan-2003  18:59  5.1.2600.1155  129,024  Desk.cpl
09-Jan-2003  18:59  5.1.2600.1155  236,544  Desk.cpl   IA64
09-Jan-2003  16:45  5.1.2600.1155  129,024  Wdesk.cpl  IA64


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section. This problem was first corrected in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2.

More information

For additional information about Control Panel files in Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
313808  ( ) Description of Control Panel Files in Windows XP

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbautohotfix kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbwinxpsp2fix kbwinxppresp2fix kbfix kbbug KB812631
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