A laptop running Windows 11.
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek
You can install and remove optional features from Settings > Apps > Optional Features. You must install some features from the Programs and Features window in Control Panel instead. You can also use the Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature or Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature commands.

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 of adding and removing features (such as using PowerShell), but they often involve more in-depth technical know-how. In this article, we’ll start with the Settings app and the Control Panel app. For most of your feature-related needs, you won’t need to use anything besides 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-side menu. Then, select “Optional Features” from the list on the right. You’ll end up in a menu that shows your installed features and an option to add more features.

A menu listing the installed features.

Where to Find Optional Features in the Control Panel App

Next, in the Control Panel app, you can go into the “Programs” menu and then enter the “Programs and Features” section. Here, you’ll see a list of all your installed programs and features. You can uninstall, make changes, or repair many of them from this menu.

The Programs and Features menu in the Control Panel app showing a list of installed programs.

Additionally, you can use the Start menu to navigate directly to a section of the Control Panel app that only lists features without any programs. Type “Turn windows features on or off” in the Start menu’s 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, it will open a pop-up window that is part of the Control Panel app. This window is called “Windows Features.”

The Windows Features menu showing a list of on and off features.

How to Install or Remove Optional Features in Settings

Start by clicking the Windows icon in the bottom-left of your Taskbar. This is the Start menu. Here, you should see the Settings app pinned to this window.

Red arrows pointing to the Windows button on the Taskbar and the Settings app in the main menu.

If you don’t see the icon for the Settings app 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 top of this article to navigate to 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.

Red arrow pointing to the View Features button in the Settings app.

Afterward, you’ll see a pop-up menu listing all of the available features that you can add. There are check boxes next to each one. Tick the one(s) that you want to add, and 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.

A pop-up window listing the features you can add to your PC.

When you click “Next,” you’ll get to another pop-up window that shows you what will be installed based on what you ticked from the previously shown list.

A pop-up window showing what feature will be installed.

To confirm the installation, click the “Install” button at the bottom of the window. Once you do, the pop-up window disappears and you’ll see the features you selected being installed from the “Optional Features” menu in the Settings app.

In the Settings app, the Windows Storage Management feature is being installed.

Once the installation is complete, you’ll see your new features in the list of “Installed Features” within this same menu. You’re 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 list of “Installed Features”, 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 look for it by name.

After clicking on the feature that you want to remove, the menu will expand slightly to reveal an “Uninstall” button. Click the “Uninstall” button and that feature will be removed.

Red arrows pointing to a feature and its "Uninstall" button in the Settings app.

How to Install or Remove Optional Features in Control Panel

Use the instructions at the top of this article to get to the “Programs and Features” section of the Control Panel app.

How to Remove Optional Features in Control Panel

Once you have the “Programs and Features” section of the Control Panel app open, scroll through the list to find the program or feature that you want to remove. Click the name of the program or feature and, on the bar above the list, you’ll see some options appear.

Clicking on a feature in Control Panel and seeing options for it.

The options that can appear are “Uninstall,” “Change,” and “Repair.” With that said, you may not see all three of these options for all programs and features. The “Uninstall” option is guaranteed to appear. However, the appearance of the “Change” and “Repair” options depends on the program or feature you clicked. Use the “Uninstall” option to remove a program or feature.

How to Turn Features On and Off

Alternatively, you can use the Windows Features window to turn Features on and off without uninstalling them. Once 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.

Red arrow pointing at the search result in the Windows Start menu that leads to the Windows Features window of the Control Panel app.

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.

Button that opens the "Windows Features" window at the bottom of the Settings app.

From the moment you open this section of the Control Panel app, you’ll see a list of features—those that are turned on as well as those that are turned off. There are also check boxes next to each feature, which you can tick or untick to turn any feature on or off.

The Windows Features menu showing a list of on and off features.

How to Manage Features From the Terminal

If you don’t want to deal with all of the above-mentioned menus, you can enable and disable Optional Features directly from the Terminal. Press the “Windows” and “X” keys at the same time to open an alternate Start menu (sometimes called the “secret” Start menu). From here, click “Terminal (Admin).”

Red arrow pointing to "Terminal (Admin)" in the secret Start menu.

You want to use “Terminal (Admin)” instead of “Terminal” because, in the latter, you won’t have permission (referred to as “elevation” in Terminal) to run commands that need Admistrator access.

To disable an Optional Feature, use this command line (replace “[ ]” with the name of the feature you want to disable):

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature --FeatureName [] --Online

Using a command line to disable a feature in Terminal.

Next, to enable an Optional Feature, use this command line (replace “[ ]” with the name of the feature you want to enable):

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature --FeatureName [] --Online

Using a command line to enable a feature in Terminal.

RELATED: How to Install Android Apps on Windows 11

Profile Photo for Reyadh Rahaman Reyadh Rahaman
Reyadh has been writing full-time for years, covering technology and video games at websites like VGKAMI and Game Rant. When he's not writing technical articles for various publications, he's working on his fiction novels, playing video games, or reading up on interesting topics. Reyadh studied Broadcast Television/Videography at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.
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