How to Install Optional Features in Windows 11

Here’s how you can install optional features and components in Windows 11 to extend your computer’s functionality.

Windows 11 comes with tons of features and components, but not all of them are installed out of the box. These are called ‘Optional features’. The optional features are primarily intended for administrators and developers, since most users don’t use them or need them, they are disabled by default.

The Optional Features are not essential to run your Windows PC, but they can extend your computer’s capabilities and provide greater control over your PC. Some Optional Features add new functions to your system, some allow you to use legacy programs, and others are necessary in certain situations (for example, when you need to enable WSL to use Linux distributions on Windows).

Windows allows you to add or remove optional features or components on demand, depending on your tasks and preferences. For example, you can add or remove features like Hyper-V, Windows Subsystem for Linux, .NET Framework, Microsoft Defender Application Guard, and more.

Some of these optional features can be directly turned on or off from the Windows Features dialog windows while others need to be downloaded and installed through the Settings app. In this article, we will discuss different methods to install and remove optional features in Windows 11.

Install Optional Features in Windows 11

There are four different ways to install or remove optional features – Settings app, Windows Features applet, DISM Command, and PowerShell.

Install Optional Features using the Settings app

Although Windows Settings doesn’t have all the available optional features, you can still download and install several useful features. To install optional features through Settings, you will need an active internet connection. Let us see how to install optional features using Settings.

To start with, open Windows Settings by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting ‘Settings’. Alternatively, press Win+I to launch the settings app.

In the Windows Settings app, open the ‘Apps’ tab from the left pane and click on ‘Optional features’ on the right pane.

Here, you will see a list of features that have been already installed on your device. At the top of the Optional Features page, click the ‘View Features’ button on the ‘Add an optional feature’ tile.

On a pop-up window, you will see a list of all optional features available to install. You can sort the features by name or download size using the drop-down menu above. You can also use the search bar above to find the feature you wish to install.

Scroll down the list to explore the available Optional features. You can expand each to see the short description of the feature. Once you find the feature you want to install, select the feature by clicking the checkbox next to it. You can also select a few more features to install them all together. After selecting the feature(s), click the ‘Next’ button.

Then, confirm the features you want to install and select the ‘Install’ button. You can also edit or add more optional features using the option below.

The selected optional features will be downloaded and installed.

Check Optional Features History in Windows 11

To check the history of all the Optional features in Windows 11, click the ‘See history’ button on the Optional Features settings page.

This will show you a list of all the features you installed or removed since you have installed the operating system.

Install Optional Features using the Windows Features Dialog

Microsoft has moved a lot of system features from Control Panel to the Settings app. Still, some of the important optional features in Windows 11 are only available in the legacy Control Panel interface. Critical components like the Hyper-V virtualization tool, the Internet Information Services (IIS), Virtual Machine Platform, Windows Subsystem for Linux, etc., can only be installed through the Windows Features control applet.

Open the Start menu, search for ‘Control Panel’ and select the top result.

When Control Panel opens, click the ‘Uninstall a program’ setting under the Programs category. If the settings are viewed as large or small icons, select ‘Programs and features’.

Alternatively, you can type ‘Windows features’ and select the ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ control panel option from the result.

Then, click on the ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ link on the left-side panel.

The Windows Features dialog box will list more optional features that can be installed on your device. Some of the optional features are already installed by default. Now, check the features you wish to install and click ‘OK’.

Some features need to download the required files through Windows update to install. If prompted, select the ‘Let Windows Update download the files for you’ option.

Windows will search for the required files and install them.

Some features require a restart to apply the changes. So if you are prompted to restart, click the ‘Restart now’ button to finish installing the optional feature(s).

Enable Windows Optional Features using DISM Command on Windows 11

DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) is a command-line utility that can also be used to install and configure Windows optional components in Windows 11. As you know, the Windows Settings page only has some of the optional features while the classic Control Panel interface has other optional features, but neither has all the optional features. Unlike Windows Settings or Control panel, with the DISM tool, you can install any and all optional features in Windows 11.

First, launch Command Prompt as administrator. To do that, type ‘Command Prompt’, right-click the top result, and select ’Run as administrator’.

When the Command prompt opens, type the following command and hit Enter.

Dism /Online /Get-Capabilities

The above command will list all the optional features or components that are available in Windows 11 (including optional features from the settings and control panel) and their installation status. If the Status of a feature is ‘Not Present’, it means that the feature is not installed.

Scroll through the list of features and find the component you wish to install. 

If the result from the above command is hard to navigate, you can get the list of features in a table format with this command:

DISM /Online /Get-Capabilities /Format:Table

Once you find the feature, copy the name or Capability Identity of the feature. For instance, the Capability Identity for Math Recognizer is ‘MathRecognizer~~~~0.0.1.0’

Now, use the below command syntax to install the optional feature:

Dism /Online /Add-Capability /CapabilityName:FEATURE_NAME

Replace FEATURE_NAME with the capability identity of the feature, you wish to install.

For example, to install ‘Math Recognizer’, enter the below formula and hit Enter:

Dism /Online /Add-Capability /CapabilityName:MathRecognizer~~~~0.0.1.0

Once the installation is done, restart your PC to apply the changes.

You can also use the ‘Get-CapabilityInfo’ switch to get information about a capability or feature:

Dism /Online /Get-CapabilityInfo /CapabilityName:Feature_Name

Example:

Dism /Online /Get-CapabilityInfo /CapabilityName:MathRecognizer~~~~0.0.1.0

Install Optional features using PowerShell in Windows 11

Another way you can install any of the optional features in Windows 11 is through PowerShell. Here’s how you can do this:

First, open Windows PowerShell as administrator. To do that, type ‘Powershell’ in Windows search. Right-click on Windows PowerShell from the search result and select ‘Run as Administrator’. Alternatively, you can right-click the Start menu and ‘Terminal (Admin)’ to launch PowerShell in the Windows Terminal window.

In the Windows Powershell, type the following command and hit Enter to get the list of optional features:

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online

Or, use the below command to get the results in a table:

DISM /Online /Get-Features /Format:Table

Scroll down the list and copy the name of the feature you need.

Then, use the below command to install an optional feature:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName <Name> -All -Online

Replace <Name> with the name of the optional component.

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName HypervisorPlatform -All -Online

The above command will install the specified feature.

Once the installation is over, if you are prompted for a restart, Type ‘Y’ and hit Enter to complete the process.

Remove Optional Features in Windows 11

If you no longer need an optional feature, you can simply disable it using Windows Settings, Control Panel, Command Prompt, or PowerShell. Uninstalling an optional feature is quite similar to the installation process.

Uninstall an Optional Feature using the Settings app

Open Windows Settings by pressing Win+I, and head to the ‘Apps’ tab on the left pane. Then, select the ‘Optional features’ option on the right.

On the Optional Features settings page, locate the feature you no longer need and click it.

Then, click the ‘Uninstall’ button to remove the feature.

After the feature is uninstalled, if the recently removed feature under the ‘Recent actions’ says ‘restart required’, you need to reboot your PC to complete the process.

Uninstall Optional features using Windows Features Applet in Windows 11

Uninstalling optional components from the Windows features control panel is very similar to installing them. If you installed optional features through the classic Windows Features interface, then it is easier to uninstall features using the Windows Features applet. Here’s how you do this:

Open the Run command with Win+R, type ‘optionalfeatures’, and hit Enter. Alternatively, you can open the Control Panel and go to ‘Programs and Features’ > ‘Turn Windows features On or Off’.

In the Windows Features dialog box, simply uncheck the feature(s) you wish to uninstall and click ‘OK’.

Wait for the uninstallation process to complete and click ‘OK’.

Uninstall Optional Features using DISM on Windows 11

To uninstall optional features using the DISM command, launch the command prompt or PowerShell as administrator.

Then, use the command syntax to uninstall features with the DISM command:

Dism /Online /Remove-Capability /CapabilityName:Feature_Name

Replace Feature_Name with the capability identity of the feature, you wish to remove.

For example, to uninstall ‘Math Recognizer’, run the following command:

Dism /Online /Remove-Capability /CapabilityName:MathRecognizer~~~~0.0.1.0

Uninstall Optional Features through PowerShell on Windows 11

To uninstall optional components through PowerShell, first, launch the PowerShell as administrator. You can also use the Get-WindowsOptionalFeature command to check the installation status of the features.

Then, use the following command to uninstall an optional feature through PowerShell:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName <Feature name> -Online

Substitute <Feature name> with the name of the feature, you wish to uninstall.

To uninstall the ‘HypervisorPlatform’ feature, run the following command:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature –FeatureName HypervisorPlatform -Online

If you are prompted to restart, type ‘Y’ and hit Enter to restart your computer.

Install Windows Optional Features Offline on Windows 11

For most optional features, Windows installation has all the necessary files required to install the optional feature. But for some optional features, you need an active internet connection to download the files required for the feature through the Windows update. However, what if you don’t have an internet connection on the device on which you want to install optional features? If you try to install certain features without the internet, you can get the 0x8024402C error code.

In such cases, you have to use the source files that are already present in the installation media. All the files that are required to install any optional feature are found in the ‘sxs’ folder in the Windows installation media (like bootable USB or DVD). The ‘sxs’ folder can be found inside the ‘Sources’ folder.

Enable Windows Optional Features Offline using Command Prompt

To install an optional feature, first, you need to know the technical names of the feature(s) as the technical names can differ from the general name of the feature. For example, the technical name of .Net Framework 3.5 is ‘NetFX3’.

To get the technical name of the available optional features along with their installation status, run the following command in the elevated Command Prompt:

Dism /Online /Get-Features /Format:Table

The above command will display the technical names of the feature as shown below.

Next, mount the Windows 11 installation media (USB or DVD) to your computer or available on your machine and note down the respective drive letter. Simply insert the USB drive or DVD with installation media into the computer.

Then, launch the Command Prompt with administrative privileges. Now, use the following command to install a Windows optional feature:

Dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:<featurename> /All /Source:<Driveletter>\Sources\sxs /LimitAccess

Here, substitute <featurename> with the technical name of the feature you got using the previous command and replace <Driveletter> with the corresponding drive letter for the mounted installation media (e.g. J).

For example, run the below command to enable the ‘HostGaurdian’ feature:

Dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:HostGuardian /All /Source:J\Sources\sxs /LimitAccess

The command assumes J\Sources\sxs as the source for the required files to install the feature. LimitAccess prevents DISM from using Windows Update or Windows Server Update Services for acquiring the source files.

To disable the optional feature, you can use the Windows Feature applet or run the following command:

Dism.exe /online /disable-feature /featurename:HostGuardian

Enable Windows Optional Features Offline using PowerShell

You can also enable Windows features offline using Windows PowerShell.

First, mount the Windows 11 installation media (USB or DVD) to your computer or available on your machine and note down the respective drive letter. Then, launch the PowerShell as administrator.

In the PowerShell, run the below command to get the list of optional features:

Get-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online | FT

Then, use the following command to install optional features without the internet:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName <Featurename> -Source "<Driveletter>:Sources\sxs"

In the above command, substitute <Fname> with the technical name of the feature you wish to install and replace <Driveletter> with the corresponding drive letter for the mounted installation media (e.g. J).

For example, run the below command to enable the ‘Client-ProjFS’ feature:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Client-ProjFS -Source "J:Sources\sxs"

If prompted, type ‘Y’ and press Enter to restart the computer and complete the operation.

To disable the optional feature, you can use the following command while replacing Fname with the name of the feature:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName <Fname>

Example:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Client-ProjFS

Install Optional features Offline Through Group Policy Editor

If you are not comfortable using the command line tool to install optional features, you can use Group Policy editor to point your system toward the local SXS folder and then use the Graphical User Interface (GUI) like the ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ applet to install features.

Mount the installation media to your computer and copy the sxs folder from the Sources directory to your local system. For instance, we copied the sxs folder to C:\Sources\sxs

After that, open the Run command box, type gpedit, and hit Enter to launch the Local Group Policy Editor.

When Group Policy Editor opens up, navigate to the following location using the left navigation panel:

Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System

Then, double-click the ‘Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair’ setting on the right-side panel.

Then, select the ‘Enabled’ option.

Specify the path for the SXS folder you have copied. Enter the path under the ‘Alternate source file path’ field.

After that, check the ‘Never attempt to download payload from Windows Update’ option under the Alternate source file path. Then, click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’ to close the group policy editor.

Next, open Command Prompt as administrator, and run the below command to update the changes you made in the group policy editor:

gpupdate /force

After that, open the Windows Features dialog box and select the feature(s) you want to install. Then, click ‘OK’ to enable the feature(s).

This will automatically detect the alternate source files you specified and enable the features without the internet.

If you want to download the source files through Windows Update or Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) again, go back to the group policy editor and select ‘Disabled’ for the ‘Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair’ setting.

How to Fix Windows Features Dialog box is Blank or Empty Issue

Sometimes when you try to access the Windows Features dialog window to enable or disable certain features, it will turn out to be blank or empty as shown below. It usually happens if the ‘Windows Modules Installer’ Service is disabled or set to start manually. The ‘Windows Modules Installer’ handles windows updates and other optional features installations. 

To fix this, you have to set the Windows Modules Installer startup type as automatic. Here’s how you can do this:

Open the Run command box, type services.msc and hit Enter.

In the Services window, find the ‘Windows Modules Installer’ service and double-click on it.

Now, choose ‘Automatic’ from the ‘Startup type’ drop-down menu, click ‘Apply’, and then click ‘OK’.

After that, close the Service window, restart your computer and then try again. If it still not working, try running SFC and DISM scan, create a new admin account, or restore your PC using the restore point.