How to turn features on and off in Microsoft Windows 10 from System Settings

Learn how to navigate the labyrinth of System Settings in Microsoft Windows 10 to access optional features and apps.

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Image: LightFieldStudios, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getting Microsoft Windows 10 configured to satisfy your particular needs requires patience, persistence, and a little knowledge. Customizing Windows 10 by adding and subtracting features, apps, and fonts can be accomplished in several different ways, but those ways are not always self-evident.

In a previous article, How to turn features on and off in Microsoft Windows 10 from the Control Panel, we showed you how to reach optional Windows 10 configurations and features through the Control Panel. In this how-to tutorial, we will show you how to add and subtract optional features, tools, utilities, and applications in Microsoft Windows 10 by accessing the System Properties menu.

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System options

To reach the options we are looking for you have to open the Settings screen for Windows 10. Click or tap the Start Button and then click the Setting icon to bring up the menu shown in Figure A.

Figure A

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Figure A

Click the Apps item on the menu to reach a screen that should look like Figure B.

Figure B

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Figure B

As you scroll down the screen, you will see many apps, settings, drivers, and features listed. Every app you have ever installed, whether part of Windows 10 or from a third-party, should be listed here. Clicking on an item in that list will present you with several options, including one to uninstall.

At the top of this screen, you will see an option that will allow you to restrict access to just those apps listed and sold on the Microsoft store. Presumably, those apps are more-closely vetted and are safer to use than other third-party apps.

Just below that entry, you will see a link that will take you to additional optional features, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

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Figure C

Many of the applications and features in this list are optional for a reason and won't be missed by most users. For example, Windows Explorer 11 is in the list and can be uninstalled if you primarily use Edge or some other web browser.

Clicking the Add a Feature button will take you to a long list of other options, most of which deal with alternative fonts, but there are a few applications in the list that may apply under very specific circumstances. Open SSH Server is a notable member of this list of optional features.

If you move back to the Apps & feature screen shown in Figure B, you will also see the Default apps item in the left-hand navigation screen. Clicking that link will take you to a screen similar to Figure D, where you can change the default app associated with many common files on your Windows 10 system. Click the item to choose a different default application.

Figure D

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Figure D

Note: Be careful what features and apps you turn off and on with this technique—the default settings will work just fine for the majority of Windows 10 users and changes in this list should only be made when necessary and for specific reasons.

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