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Discover optional Windows features that you can enable and disable

Discover optional Windows features that you can enable and disable

Discover optional Windows features that you can enable and disable

The optional Windows features hide many secrets of the operating system, but also many unnecessary parts.

It is difficult to understand the large scale of any operating system, and Windows in particular. Although at first glance the only thing we have is the desk, there are many pieces underneath, some very necessary and others that are there just in case.

And is that Microsoft programmers have the difficult task of adapt your system to a huge number of different computers, each with their own needs. But, if all we want is to use the desktop, do we really need all those pieces?

Changing the parts that make up Windows

For example, a user who only has Windows installed to play, does not need all the components that a company’s employees do. There are also users who need support for a specific file type, which most do not need.

Why Windows comes with many optional parts, which we can activate or deactivate according to our needs. By default there are many activated, since Microsoft wants to make sure that we can complete most of our tasks without touching anything, but without taking up too much space or resources.

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Now let’s go over these optional Windows features, check what we need and what we can disable to get more free space and performance improvement. Let’s see the ones that come with Windows 10 Pro, but if you use Windows 10 Home or Enterprise keep in mind that they may include different features.

All about optional Windows features

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First of all, we have to access the menu from which we can enable and disable features. To do this, we click with the right mouse button on the start menu, and click on Control Panel; we can also just search for panel.

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Once in the control panel, click on Programs, and there, on Activate or deactivate Windows features. A window will open from which we can see the list of characteristics. You can disable or enable them as you see fit, and when you click OK, Windows will uninstall or install them. We review them below:

  • Multimedia features. This is the collection of multimedia programs included by default with the Windows installation, such as Windows Media Center.
    • Windows Media Player. This option activates or deactivates only the multimedia player, but keep in mind that if you deactivate the previous option, you will also deactivate this one.
  • Work Folder Client. It is a special folder in which we can store files and access them from other computers connected to the network.
  • Telnet client. Telnet is a protocol that allows us to control another computer over the network. It is very old and is only available in Windows 10 for compatibility reasons and because many companies continue to use it.
  • TFTP client. It allows us to transmit files between computers on a network. It is a simplified version of FTP that is no longer widely used.
  • API support for remote differential compression.It allows programs to determine if a file has changed, and what parts have the change. Required for some programs.
  • Legacy components. Commonly known as Legacy, these components are only necessary if we are going to use old programs, designed for old versions of Windows.
    • Directplay. A DirectX API to connect video games to the network. It is no longer used and only needed in older games.
  • Listening to RIP. This is one of the oldest protocols used by routers or switches, which is not necessary for most users.
  • Print to Microsoft PDF. This service adds a new printer to the list, which allows us to convert the content into a PDF. Very useful.
  • Internet Information Services. A web server with which we can mount our own web page. Only recommended if we need it because we are web developers.
    • Web administration tools. Programs and scripts to manage our web server.
    • World Wide Web Services. The web server.
    • FTP server. If we want to mount a server to share files over the Internet, this is a simple option.
  • RAS Connection Manager (CMAK) Administration Kit. A tool to connect with remote servers and Internet operators. In disuse.
  • Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) Server. It allows us to create messenger applications in Windows, it is useless if you are not a developer.
  • Internet Information Services Hostable Web Center. Related to the IIS web server (see Internet Information Services above).
  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). A network management protocol, which is only necessary if you plan to mount a server, a router, or a switch.
  • WAS service (Windows Process Activation Service). It allows the use of IIS features in services created with WCF instead of HTTP accessible websites. In other words, you don’t need it if you’re not working with those technologies.
  • Advanced .NET Framework Services 4.6. Includes services necessary for some applications that use the latest version of .NET. Probably most of the options can be disabled, and if they are enabled it is that an app is using them.
  • Simple TCPIP services. It includes tools that may be useful for system and network administrators, but not for the rest.
  • XPS services. The XPS format is an alternative to PDF, which allows us to save and sign electronic documents, but it never took off. It is not a great loss if we decide to remove it, since Windows 10 already has full support for PDF files.
  • Windows Identity Foundation 3.5. Related to .NET, it allows creating apps in which users can identify themselves.
  • Windows PowerShell. A command terminal that allows us to execute commands and programs using only the keyboard. A powerful tool if you know how to use it.
  • Windows TIFF Filter. Adds greater compatibility with TIFF image files, including indexing and searching. Useful if you are a graphic artist who works in this format.