Enable and Disable Windows Features

No matter which version of Windows you use, there is a lot of features that are installed with the system by default, many of which you probably will never use. Disabling Windows features you don’t use can optimize your system, making it faster and saving precious hard disk space.

This article shows you how to enable and disable features in Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

Windows 7 and Vista

To turn Windows features in Windows 7 or Vista, click Control Panel on the Start menu.

Opening Control Panel in Windows 7

Click the Programs link.

NOTE: If you are in Classic View, the link reads Programs and Features.

Clicking the Programs link in Windows 7

Under the Programs and Features heading, click the Turn Windows features on or off link.

NOTE: If you are in the Classic View, the Turn Windows features on or off link is on the left panel.

Clicking Turn Windows features on or off link in Windows 7

The Windows Features dialog box displays with a “Please wait…” message, while the features list is loaded.

Waiting for Windows Features list in Windows 7

When the list of features displays, you can move your mouse over one of the features and view a description of that feature.

Viewing a description of a feature in Windows 7

For each feature you want to turn off, select the check box to the left of the feature so there is NO check mark in the box. For example, since we are not using a Tablet PC, we decided to turn off the Tablet PC Components feature, along with some other features we don’t use. Once you have made your changes, click OK to close the Windows Features dialog box.

Closing the Windows Features dialog box

A dialog box displays showing the progress of the changes being made to your Windows system.

Dialog box showing the progress of changes

You must restart your computer for the changes to be completed. Click Restart Now if you are ready to restart the computer now. If you want to wait to restart the computer, click Restart Later.

Dialog box to restart your computer

While the computer is shutting down and again while it is starting up, the following message displays. Be sure you don’t shut off the computer while the features are being configured.

Configuring Windows features message

Windows XP

To turn Windows features in Windows XP, click Control Panel on the Start menu.

Opening the Control Panel in Windows XP

Click the Add or Remove Programs link (or the icon in Classic View) on the Control Panel window.

Clicking Add or Remove Programs link in Windows XP

On the Add or Remove Programs dialog box, click Add/Remove Windows Components in the left panel.

Clicking Add/Remove Windows Components in Windows XP

A dialog box displays asking you to wait while the list of Windows features is generated.

Please wait dialog box in Windows XP

The Windows Components Wizard displays with a list of Components. If the check box to the left of a component has a gray background, there are sub-components within that component. Click Details to view the components under that main component.

Clicking Details on the Windows Components Wizard

For example, the following dialog box shows the components available under the Network Services main component. You can turn on or off any of these components and click OK to accept your changes and return to the Windows Components Wizard.

Details for Networking Services in Windows XP

For each feature you want to turn off, select the check box to the left of the feature so there is NO check mark in the box. For example, we are not using MSN Explorer or Outlook Express, in addition to some other features. Once you have made your changes, click Next.

Clicking Next on Windows Components screen

The Configuring Components screen displays the progress of the changes being made to your system.

Configuring Components progress screen

When the changes have been made, the Completing the Windows Components Wizard dialog box displays. Click Finish.

Completing the Windows Components Wizard

You must restart your computer for the changes to be completed. Click Yes if you are ready to restart the computer now. If you want to wait to restart the computer, click No.

Restarting your computer

You can turn on any of the Windows 7, Vista, or XP features again, if desired, simply by following these procedures and selecting the check boxes for features you want so there is a check mark in each check box.

by Lori Kaufman

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