You can install and remove optional features from Settings > Apps > Optional Features. Instead, you must install some features from the Programs and Features window in Control Panel. You can also use the
Windows 11 offers a wide variety of features, and many of them, like the Windows Subsystem for Linux and language packs, aren’t installed by default. You can also remove features that are installed by default. Here’s how to do it, graphically or from the command line.
What you need to know about optional features in Windows 11
There are other methods to add and remove features (e.g using PowerShell), but often require more in-depth technical know-how. In this article, we’ll start with the Settings app and Control Panel app. For most of your feature needs, you won’t need to use anything other than these two apps.
Where to find optional features in the Settings app
The first method involves using the Settings app. Open Settings and then click “Apps” from the left menu. Then, select “Optional Features” from the list on the right. You’ll end up in a menu showing installed features and an option to add more features.
Where to find optional features in the control panel app
Next, in the Control Panel app, you can access the “Programs” menu and then navigate to the “Programs and Features” section. Here you will see a list of all installed programs and features. You can uninstall, make changes or repair many of them from this menu.
Additionally, you can use the Start menu to navigate directly to a section of the Control Panel app that only lists features with no programs. Type “Turn Windows features on or off” in the Start Menu search bar, and you’ll find a result with this exact text. This is similar to how you would find the same window on a Windows 10 PC.
When you click on this result, a pop-up window will open which is part of the Control Panel app. This window is called “Windows Features”.
How to install or remove optional features in Settings
Start by clicking on the Windows icon in the lower left of the system tray. This is the Start menu. Here you should see the Settings app stuck in this window.
If you don’t see the Settings app icon in the Start menu, click the “All apps” button at the top right of this window. This shows you an alphabetical list of all your apps, so you need to scroll down to “S” to find the Settings app. Now, use the instructions mentioned at the beginning of this article to access the “Optional Features” menu.
How to install optional features in Settings
To install a new feature, click the “View Features” button at the top right of this window.
After that, you’ll see a pop-up menu listing all the available features you can add. There are checkboxes next to each of them. Select the one you want to add, then click “Next” at the bottom of the pop-up window. If you can’t find the feature you want in the list, you can use the search bar at the top of the pop-up window to search for one by name.
When you click “Next,” another pop-up window will open showing what will be installed based on what you ticked off the list shown earlier.
To confirm the installation, click the “Install” button at the bottom of the window. Once done, the pop-up window will disappear and you will see the features you selected installed from the “Optional Features” menu in the Settings app.
Once the installation is complete, you will see the new features in the “Installed Features” list within this same menu. You are now ready to use your new feature to your heart’s content!
How to remove optional features in Settings
You can also remove unwanted features from the “Optional Features” menu in the Settings app. In the “Installed Features” list, click the one you want to uninstall. If you can’t find it in the list, use the search bar just above where the list begins to search for it by name.
Once you click on the feature you want to remove, the menu will expand slightly to reveal an “Uninstall” button. Click the “Uninstall” button and that feature will be removed.
How to install or remove optional features in Control Panel
Use the instructions at the beginning of this article to access the “Programs and Features” section of the Control Panel app.
How to remove optional features in Control Panel
After opening the “Programs and Features” section of the Control Panel app, scroll through the list to find the program or feature you want to remove. Click on the name of the program or function, and you will see a few options appear in the bar above the list.
The options that may appear are “Uninstall”, “Change” and “Repair”. That said, you may not see all three of these options for all programs and features. The “Uninstall” option is guaranteed to appear. However, what the “Change” and “Repair” options look like depends on the program or feature you clicked. Use the “Uninstall” option to remove a program or feature.
How to activate and deactivate the functions
Alternatively, you can use the Windows Features window to turn features on and off without uninstalling them. Again, to find this window, type “Turn Windows features on or off,” and this part of the Control Panel app will be the first search result.
You can also find this same pop-up window by clicking “More Windows Features” at the bottom of the Settings app, despite it being part of the Control Panel.
From the moment you open this section of the Control Panel app, you will see a list of features, those that are turned on and those that are turned off. There are also checkboxes next to each feature, which you can check or uncheck to turn any feature on or off.
How to manage features from the terminal
If you don’t want to manage all the menus mentioned above, you can enable and disable optional features directly from the Terminal. Press the “Windows” and “X” keys simultaneously to open an alternative Start menu (sometimes called the “secret” Start menu). From here, click “Terminal (Admin)”.
You want to use “Terminal (Admin)” instead of “Terminal” because, in the latter, you will not have permission (referred to as “elevation” in Terminal) to run commands that require administrator access.
To disable an optional feature, use this command line (replace “[ ]” with the name of the function you want to disable):
Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature --FeatureName  --Online
Next, to enable an optional feature, use this command line (replace “[ ]” with the name of the function you want to enable):
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature --FeatureName  --Online