Microsoft’s Windows is a complex operating system with hundreds of features created to improve its functionality. In previous versions, the only way to disable a certain feature was to uninstall it from your PC.
But with Windows 10, you can turn these features, which are known as ‘optional features’, on or off via Control Panel. Although Windows 10 introduced the Settings app to give users easy access to system settings, the old Control Panel still offers more options when it comes to configuration and personalization settings.
Today’s post shows you how to manage Windows 10’s many ‘optional features’.
How to Turn On or Off Optional Features on Windows 10 Using Control Panel
If you’re an average Windows user, you may never need to use most of these ‘optional features’ on Windows 10. Some are created for developers, system administrators, and IT specialists. Others like the .NET Framework are required by third-party apps to function properly.
Many components are for the advanced user, and disabling some of them could lead to slow PC performance or make your system vulnerable. Some of these features are enabled or installed by default.
This is how to easily turn features on and off in Microsoft’s Windows 10:
First, press the Windows Key and type in control panel.
- Select “Control Panel”, which should be the first result.
- Choose “Programs”.
- Select the “Turn Windows features on or off” link. This takes you to the “Windows Features” dialog window, which lists all the features installed on your PC.
- To turn on a feature or component, place a checkmark next to its corresponding box. A filled box indicates that certain parts of the feature are turned on, but not all.
- To disable a feature, simply clear its checkbox, and then select “Yes” if prompted.
- When you’re done making the changes, click “OK”.
- Restart your PC for the changes to be effected.
To the average computer user, some of these components may seem strange. Here’s a list of some of the features that you can disable because you probably don’t need them anymore or won’t use them at all:
Under Media Features, you’ll find Windows Media Player. Although Windows Media Player is still popular, many users don’t use it because it doesn’t support some video and audio formats. Windows 10 now comes with Groove Music as the default media player, which you can use in place of Windows Media Player.
Legacy Components – DirectPlay
DirectPlay, an API of Microsoft DirectX API, was used 10 years ago for games in Windows Live. Modern games neither use nor need this feature, and you can, therefore, remove it.
Internet Explorer 11
As you’re well aware, Microsoft released Edge with the advent of Windows 10. However, you can still find Internet Explorer 11 among the list of features on your system. You can safely remove Internet Explorer 11 if you don’t need to use it.
Other features that you can enable or disable safely include:
- Windows Fax and Scan,
- Remote Differential Compression API support,
- Internet Printing Client,
- Microsoft Print to PDF,
- Windows PowerShell 2.0 – this is an old version that’s simply lying around in your system,
- Windows Process Activation Service,
- Hyper- V,
- Active Directory Lightweight Services,
- Device Lockdown,
- XPS Services,
- XPS Viewer,
- Work Folders Client.
These are just a few of the items you’ll find listed in the “Windows Features” dialog window. However, you need to have some knowledge about the features that you want to disable since you may require some of them, depending on your computer usage.
How to Manage Windows 10’s Many ‘Optional Features’
Microsoft introduced the Settings app, which functions almost like Control Panel, but they are not the same. Control Panel is still feature-rich and gives you wider access to system settings.
You can use the Settings app to manage specific features that come with Windows 10. To manage ‘optional features’ using the Settings app:
- Open the “Settings” interface by pressing the Windows Key+I or right-click “Start” and select “Settings”.
- Select Apps > Apps & features.
- Click the “Manage optional features” link.
- Highlight the feature you want and select the “Uninstall” button.
- You’ll also see the “Add a feature” option, which allows you to add fonts for different languages and other features.
If you’re seeing these features for the first time, you don’t have to worry about them. For one thing, the Windows Operating System will automatically turn on the features as the need arises. For another, developers and IT experts are the ones who may need to use some of these features as part of their jobs.
As a final note, the security of your system should be given top priority. All you have to do is install Auslogics Anti-Malware to create an impenetrable wall between you and hackers. The tool is built to function alongside your antivirus without causing any conflict and provide additional security.
Among other things, Auslogics Anti-Malware will check your entire system and detect malicious programs, including cookies that track your online activity and browser extensions.