Overview – Optional Features in Windows 11
Do you want more features out of your existing Windows, and
Harness the unknown features of windows.
To do so, the only thing you need to do is to turn on the Windows optional Features.
By the end of this article, you will be able to:
- know the List of Windows Optional Features with uses,
- Manage Windows optional features using Control Panel,
- Manage Windows optional features using Windows Settings,
- understand the Advantages and Disadvantages of Windows optional features,
- and Should you use the optional features (Conclusion)?
Manage Windows Optional Features in Windows 11 with Control Panel
Step #1: Open the Control Panel from the Start menu.
Step #2: Click on the Programs.
Step #3: Select the ‘ Turn Windows Features on or off ‘ option.
Step #4: Now, a dialog box appears listing the windows optional features. Check or Uncheck the boxes to enable or disable the optional features respectively.
Step #5: Once completed, a dialog box appears stating, “Windows has completed the requested changes”.
Step #6: Now simply restart your computer for the changes to take effect properly.
Now, you know the steps to manage Windows Optional Features using Control Panel.
Check out the second method to manage windows optional features using Windows Settings, covering some more additional optional features.
Then, we will see a massive detailed list of Windows Optional Features with their uses.
Manage Optional Features in Windows 11 with Windows Settings
Step #1: Open the Windows Settings from the Start menu.
Step #2: Click on the “Apps” option on the left sidebar.
Step #3: Select the “Optional Features” option
Step #4: Select the ‘ View Feature ‘ button.
Step #5: A dialog box appears listing the windows optional features. Check or Uncheck the box to enable or disable the optional features respectively and press the “Next” button.
Step #6: Press the Install button and wait until the feature is installed.
Step #7: Restart the PC to make changes take effect properly.
Now, you know the steps to manage windows optional features through Windows Settings as well.
Let’s dive further into the list of optional features in windows 11 with uses.
List of Optional Features in Windows 11 with Uses (A-Z)
- .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) – This functionality is required to execute applications created with the Microsoft.NET Framework 3.5 or earlier. You can switch on earlier help if you like, but it typically turns on automatically when you need it.
- .NET Framework 4.6 Advanced Services – This feature is required to run the applications built using the .NET Framework 4.6 in Windows.
- Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services – Support for the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP, which is a protocol for accessing a directory) for directory-enabled applications has been added.
- Containers – Provides services and tools to create and manage Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V containers on your desktop.
- Data Center Bridging – This feature is an IEEE standard (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association) that allows converged fabrics in a data centre to share the same Ethernet network infrastructure for network, storage, clustering, and traffic management.
- Device Lockdown – You can enable this feature to add services and tools to provide a more controlled experience. Typically, you’ll enable this feature when setting up a kiosk or a temporary device.
- EMS and SAC Toolset – Emergency Management Service and Special Administrator Console to control selected components of servers remotely and interact with nPartition Console via Command Prompt.
- Graphics Tools – You can add DirectX Graphics Tools Support in Visual Studio to develop DirectX supported Games or Apps wothout worrying about debugging. So, you don’t need to switch to other destros or engine for game development.
- Hyper-V – Microsoft offers its own virtualization technology that allows you to create and manage virtual machines such as Parrot OS, Kali Linux, Garuda Linux, etc, on your computer.
- Internet Explorer Mode – Microsoft has officially announced to discontinue Internet Explorer by June 15, 2022. Still Microsoft continue Internet Explorer as Optional Feature for compatibility purposes. You can enable it to add Internet Explorer functionality in Microsoft Edge.
- Internet Information Services (IIS) – Allows to set FTP Servers (File Transfer Protocols) to host websites with Management Services. Example: FileZilla is an open-sourced FTP Server.
- Internet Information Services Hostable Web Core – Allows you to set an environment to host applications on the web. Example: It can be used to host ASP.NET Progressive Web Applications along with Static Websites.
- IrDA infrared – Available Support for Infrared Data Association (IrDA) devices but require IrDA supported hardware.
- Legacy Components – Allows you to add support for old components on Windows. This includes DirectPlay, a feature that was used to be part of DirectX. It is useful if you are using apps that uses old windows components for working.
- Math Recognizer – Provides an additional Math Input Panel, with user controls and recognizing features.
- Media Features – Provides a way to remove Windows Media Player from Windows. It is useful if you use other media players such as VLC Media Player, Microsoft Movies and TV App, etc.
- Microsoft Message Queue (MSMO) Server – Enables applications to run correctly on unreliable networks by queuing messages instead of sending them as they’re generated.
- Microsoft Paint – Enhanced paint feaures with same interface integrated with OLE 2.0 Functionality.
- Microsoft Print to PDF – This feature allows to print a document in PDF Format instead of printing on a paper as a hard copy.
- MSIX Packaging Tool Driver – Support for conversion of win32 apps to MSIX (Windows App Package Format) format.
- MultiPoint Connector – If you enable this feature, you can monitor and manage your computer using a MultiPoint Manager and MultiPoint Manager Dashboard applications through Multipoint Servers.
- OpenSSH Server– OpenSSH-based secured shell for Secure Key Management and access to remote machines.
- Print and Document Services – Using this feature you can enable or disable services like scan, fax and networking printing on a Multifunction Device (MFD).
- Print Management Console – Adding functionality to manage printers, print drivers, and printer servers.
- RAS Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) – You can use CHMAK to create custom profiles to connect to remote access servers. Using this feature, a network administrator can customize remote connection feature for users.
- Remote Differential Compression API Support – It is a synchronization technique that identifies data withdrawn or added from synchronized files and permits rapid comparisons between them
- RIP Listener – If you’re in a network that still uses version 1 of the RIP protocol, you can use RIP Listener to listen for RIP updates.
- Services for NFS (Network File System) – Allows you to access files using the Network File System (NFS) protocol. Typically, you’ll use this feature to access files on Network Attached Storage (NAS).
- Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) – Enables SNMP agents on your computer that monitors switches, routers, and other devices in the network, and reports to the network console.
- Simple TCPIP Services (echo, daytime etc) – Provides support for additional TCP/IP protocol services, including “Echo”, “Character Generator (CHARGEN)”, “Daytime”, “Discard”, and “Quote of the Day (QUOTE)”.
- SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support – Adds support to configure file and printer sharing for previous versions of the OS, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 R2.
- SMB Direct – Allows the use of network adapters with Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability to improve file sharing support using SMB 3.x (Server Message Block).
- Steps Recorder – Added support for capturing windows screen display with screenshots. Save and share them antime you want.
- Supplementary Fonts – Supplementary Fonts of different languages worldwide.
- Telnet Client – This is a command-line utility that allows you to connect to other computers or devices, such as routers and switches, running a telnet server. This network protocol isn’t secure, and you shouldn’t use it outside of your own network including Public Networks.
- TFTP Client – This is a command-line utility that you can use to upload and download files using Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP). This protocol isn’t secure, and you shouldn’t use it unless is a requirement even on your own network.
- TPM Diagnostics – Tool to retrieve diagnostic information about Trusted Platform Module.
- Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 – Newer applications use .NET 4 that adds a new identity framework, but applications created with older .NET technologies may still require this feature.
- Windows PowerShell ISE – Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) is a graphical editor for Powershell Scripts with syntax-coloring, tab completion, and visual debugging.
- Windows PowerShell 2.0 – This is an advanced command-line scripting tool / engine, similar to Command Prompt. PowerShell comes enabled by default, but it’s possible to disable the feature on Windows 11.
- Windows Process Activation Service – Installs services that may be required if you’re using IIS (Internet information Services) web services such as FTP Manager, FileZilla etc.
- Windows Subsystem for Linux – Installs the Ubuntu Bash shell command-line utility on Windows 11 involving some additional steps to complete the installation.
- Windows Storage Management – Advanced Storage Management Configurations using Storage Management Provider (SMP).
- Windows TIFF iFilter – When this feature is enabled, Windows 11 can index and search Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) using optical character recognition (OCR), but it typically uses more system resources than traditional file indexing and searching. However, if you work with these type of documents, it can help you to find those scanned documents quicker.
- Windows Fax and Scan – Integrated Faxing and Scanning Applications for windows and within Windows.
- Wireless Display – Without using 3rd Party screen sharing tools, share your display wirelessly to other devices.
- WMI SNMP Provider – Enables WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) Clients to consume SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) information through CIM Model as implemented by WMI.
- WordPad – Creating and editting .rtf, .docx, and .txt instantly within a few clicks.
- Work Folders Client – Allows file synchronization with network file servers such as Sync Share Server.
- Windows Hello Face – Unlock Windows with Windows in-built Face Application. No more passwords, pins and fingerprints, unlock just with face scan and expressions.
- XPS Services – This is an old Microsoft feature similar to PDF feature we learnt before that is Print to PDF. You can still print documents to XPS, but PDF is a format that’s more widely supported. If you don’t use it, you can clear the check mark to remove it.
- XPS Viewer – This is an application that Microsoft includes with the OS to open XPS files. If you don’t work with any XPS files, you can safely disable this feature.
Pros of Windows Optional Features
As we have seen above, Windows offers many additional features that many people don’t know and these features can be downloaded and enabled using the Windows Optional Features.
Involves Useful Features
Many optional updates are beneficial to users such as Windows Connect App, and many are used by developers well like the Dot Net Framework, Virtualization, etc.
Cons of Windows Optional Updates
Increased Storage Usage
Many optional features use up a lot of internal storage on the device. For some users, this might be an issue.
FAQ’s Related to Windows Optional Features
Can we turn on all the windows optional features at once?
Yes, as far as you don’t have storage constraints on your PC, you need not worry about downloading and installing the windows optional features.
Can we turn off all the windows optional features?
Yes, you can turn off as many features as you desire. You can turn of optional features with Windows Settings and Control Panel.
Does turning on optional features increase windows performance?
No, turning on the windows will not impact the overall working of windows in any aspect. Due to excessive RAM Consumption, your PC may slow down a bit if you add a lot of windows optional features.
So, considering the pros and cons, you can decide whether to enable the Windows Optional Features or not. I would recommend you not to turn on all the features at once, instead, just turn on the required features only.
We’ve addressed the following issues in this article to give you guidance regarding the use of windows optional features. Let’s integrate them all.
#1: Steps to manage windows optional features using windows settings.
#2: Steps to manage windows optional features with control panel.
#3: List of Windows Optional Features with Benefits.
How many features did you find useful and turned on?
Remove Windows.old Folder – Want to install optional features but having storage conflicts? Delete the windows.old folder to free up 15-25 GB of Storage Space.
Disable Visual Effects in Windows 11 – Improve your device’s speed drastically, but compromise with the Windows appearance and Animations by disabling Visual Effects.