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Turning Windows Features On and Off

Thursday, April 21st, 2011 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

“Always hidden.”  That’s what Microsoft’s motto about its operating systems should be. Something like this:

If you want it, if you need it, it’s always there. Always hidden.

Microsoft Windows. The world’s biggest treasure hunt.

So last night, I am fiddling around with things because I am just that daring (you don’t want to do too much of that; take my advice) and found something that I had no idea was there, and I honestly have never seen a reference to it ever anywhere. It’s a way to access and turn on or off additional features in Vista or Windows 7.

Always hidden, I’m telling you.

This hidden tip starts at the Run line. Go to your Start button, left-click, and then on the right side of the Start menu that pops up, you will see your Run line. (If you don’t, click here to get it back.) I may have mentioned it a couple of times; if you would rather use a keyboard shortcut, just type Win + R (Win being your Windows key) and your Run box will pop up. If you still would like to access it through the start menu, the example is below.


When the box pops up (it says Run in the top left corner), type optionalfeatures in the Run line (it’s to the right of Open :).


Right here you may get one of those fine “I need you your permission blah blah blah” warning boxes, just left-click on Continue.


Here’s where the fun starts (at least for me, geek that I am). A box will pop up with all kinds of features in it. What you want to do is go down the list and put a checkmark next to the features that you would like to turn on. For instance, the very first one is Games. Since I use Windows games as something to do when I install something, etc., I put a checkmark next to it, and so on.


Now there are a lot of features on there that you may not understand. I would think that since they are described as “optional features”, checking one that you might not understand shouldn’t hinder you in any way. Notice, though, that I said that I would think that it would be okay, that I don’t know if it would be okay. Let’s just say that you are a lot better off doing a little research before you do anything, even if it seems like it’s harmless. Who knows how those guys that made the optional features thing even think? These guys are probably the ones who hid this in the first place, a concept that is weird all by itself.

So there you have it. A new feature of features that you may not have known about. And of course you know why.

Always hidden.

~ Lori Cline

Note: For a huge list of Run commands for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, click here.


One Response to “Turning Windows Features On and Off”

  1. Robert Wurzburg says:

    In Windows 7, I came to the same screens by going to Control Panel, Programs
    and Features, then on the left is “Turn Windows features on or off.” Next a
    window opens “Windows Features” and you can scroll through the list to un-
    check or check which Windows 7 features you want to run. You might need the
    Windows 7 instalation disk that came with your computer for some features
    to be installed, if they weren’t included by the computer mfr. as shipped.
    You will be prompted if so, and need to be logged in as Administrator to do
    any changes. Then restart your computer, and check for Microsoft Updates as
    turning on a feature could involve getting critical or important Windows or
    other program security and other updates, depending on which program or any
    feature you now have installed or activated.

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