The Windows 10 operating system comes with scores of features available to you without having to install anything extra, but only some of them are turned on by default when you start using your computer.

Windows 10 has a hidden list that you can get access to that offers a checkbox next to each feature so you can either choose to turn them off or on. Many of them are enabled already, and a lot of them are not. Between them all, there is lots to go through. You might want to disable some of the ones that are currently enabled, or you might fancy enabling some of the ones that are disabled at the moment. The features on offer from this particular Windows Features dialog are not the same as you would find from the Settings application that you can navigate to from the Start menu. These features are likely deemed less valuable or less suitable to use, but they can still be of relevance to the right people out there, so it’s important you at least check them out to see if any of them are features you might wish you were using already. You won’t have to worry too much about disabling the ones that you don’t use since the Windows 10 operating system is already designed to optimize itself for performance, and you won’t likely be noticing any performance drawbacks from leaving the default options enabled. You can also thank the way Windows 10 looks after start-up processes for that too.

From the list of optional features available, you can turn on or off any of them whenever you want. Enabling and disabling these features won’t change the amount of hard drive space that is being used up to store them. Instead, disabling the ones you don’t think you’ll use very often can help reduce clutter around the operating system and not put any unnecessary stress on your device’s hardware. You could also argue that it’s going to help improve the performance of the operating system by having some of these features disabled as well—and who doesn’t want that?

With all that in mind, you might want to keep the features you don’t plan on using disabled for now. But if there are any additional features currently disabled that you wouldn’t mind using, then you can turn those on.

Some features may also become more popular over time—Hyper-V being one that has gained in popularity recently, thanks to a new Ubuntu virtual machine that has become available to use. It hasn’t been enough for Windows to consider turning on Hyper-V for computers by default, but it is an example of a feature that you now might want to consider turning on yourself, at least for a little while, so that you can check it out.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to turn on and off the optional features available in all versions of the Windows 10 operating system.

Method One: How to Turn On/Off Windows Features from Windows Features

You can turn on or off the optional Windows features from the Windows Features dialog that is available from the Control Panel. Here is how to do that:

1. Open the Control Panel and click on the Programs and features icon from the from the list of all Control Panel items. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the Control Panel in Windows 10: How to Open Control Panel in Windows 10

2. Click on the Turn Windows features on or off from the Programs and Features left side pane. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

This opens the C:\Windows\System32\OptionalFeatures.exe file.

Programs and Features: Turn Windows features on or off

3. Turn on or off the Windows features that you desire by using the checkboxes to the left of the names. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Windows Features dialog

4. It may not look like there are many extra features at first glance, but many of the features not yet turned on can be expanded to reveal sub options as well. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

Expanding additional optional Windows features

5. Restart the computer if Windows prompts you to restart before the features will work.

Method Two: How to Turn On Windows Features in PowerShell

1. Open an elevated Windows PowerShell window. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the elevated version of the Windows PowerShell window when you are using a version of the Windows 10 operating system: How to Open Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 10

2. Type one of the two commands below into the PowerShell window. The commands reveal the names of disabled features that you can enable. You’ll need to know the exact wording for the next part of the tutorial. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

With full details:

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName * –Online | Where-Object {$_.State –eq “Disabled”}

Without full details:

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature –Online | Where-Object {$_.State –eq “Disabled”}

Windows PowerShell: Get Windows optional features, disabled

3. Now type the the following command and substitute the Feature Name for the real name of the feature that you found using PowerShell earlier.

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName FeatureName -All -Online

For instance, if you wanted to enable DirectPlay, then the command you would enter is the following:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName DirectPlay -All -Online

4. Restart the computer if Windows prompts you to restart before the features will work.

Method Three: How to Turn Off Windows Features in PowerShell

1. Open an elevated Windows PowerShell window. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the elevated version of the Windows PowerShell window when you are using a version of the Windows 10 operating system: How to Open Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 10

2. Type one of the two commands below into the PowerShell window. The commands reveal the names of disabled features that you can enable. You’ll need to know the exact wording for the next part of the tutorial. (click to enlarge screenshot below)

With full details:

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName * –Online | Where-Object {$_.State –eq “Enabled”}

Without full details:

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature –Online | Where-Object {$_.State –eq “Enabled”}

Windows PowerShell: Get Windows optional features, enabled

3. Now type the following command and substitute the Feature Name for the real name of the feature that you found using PowerShell earlier:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName FeatureName -Online

For instance, if you wanted to disable the WorkFolders-Client, then the command you would enter is the following:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName WorkFolders-Client -All -Online

4. Restart the computer if Windows prompts you to restart before the features will work.

Method Four: How to Turn On Windows Features in Command Prompt

1. Open an elevated Command Prompt window. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the elevated version of the Command Prompt window when you are using a version of the Windows 10 operating system: How to Open Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 10

2. Type the following command into the command line and then press Enter: (click to enlarge screenshot below)

DISM /online /get-features /format:table | find "Disabled"

Command Prompt: Get features, disabled

3. Type the following command into the command line and then press Enter but change where it says FeatureName for the real feature’s name:

Dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:"FeatureName" -All

For instance, if you wanted to turn on the HTTPErrors, then the command you would enter is the following:

Dism /online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:"HTTPErrors" -All

4. If Windows says you need to restart Windows to complete this operating then press the Y button to confirm it.

Method Five: How to Turn Off Windows Features in Command Prompt

1. Open an elevated Command Prompt window. See this tutorial to read all the different ways in which you can open the elevated version of the Command Prompt window when you are using a version of the Windows 10 operating system: How to Open Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 10

2. Type the following command into the command line and then press Enter: (click to enlarge screenshot below)

DISM /online /get-features /format:table | find "Enabled"

Command Prompt: Get features, enabled

3. Type the following command into the command line and then press Enter but change where it says FeatureName for the real feature’s name:

Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:FeatureName

For instance, if you wanted to turn on the MediaPlayback, then the command you would enter is the following:

Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:MediaPlayback

4. If Windows says you need to restart Windows to complete this operating then press the Y button to confirm it.

That’s all.

This article was last updated on February, 21, 2020. 

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