Beta to RC changes – Turning windows features on or off

The E7 team has posted an interesting blog post about the various Windows features that are available to turn on or off in the Windows 7 RC. Customers are now given more control, flexibility and choice in managing the features available in the RC of Windows 7.

Below are the list of extra features that are added to Windows 7 RC:

  • Windows Media Player
  • Windows Media Center
  • Windows DVD Maker
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Windows Search
  • Handwriting Recognition (through the Tablet PC Components option)
  • Windows Gadget Platform
  • Fax and Scan
  • XPS Viewer and Services (including the Virtual Print Driver)

Neowin had already reported about Internet Explorer 8 being an optional component in the latest Windows 7 build 7048, and so are the other features. Interesting features to note other than Internet Explorer 8 are the Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center.

However these options (turning Windows features on or off) are not made available during the Windows 7 installation and are available on the post-setup experience for Windows 7

"Finally, we know some have suggested that this set of choices be a "setup option". Some operating systems do provide this type of setup experience. As we balanced feedback, the vast majority of feedback we have received was to streamline setup and to reduce the amount of potential complexity in getting a PC running. We chose to focus this feature on the post-setup experience for Windows 7"

Deselecting a Windows feature makes that feature not available for use, which means that the files are not loaded by the operating system and are staged so that they can be easily added when the features are selected back again. Since these files are staged, users dont require the Windows 7 installation DVD to turn on the features again.

It would be interesting to see whether will there be an option for OEMs to streamline the Windows 7 post-setup experience where they could deselect/select some of the Windows features. This is also a great addition for Corporates where they would be able to streamline the Windows 7 setup for deployment (using the MDOP)

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no, thats a very old version of Windows XP, we're onto Vista now, and soon Windows 7 so no, its not like it is in that picture 'removing access via start menu / desktop' is not the same as removal of iexplore.exe etc

i just noticed you can disable windows search, eliminating the search aspect of the start menu, i guess those XP users will love that :P this isn't possible under vista, am i right?

TRC said,
Why is this a big deal exactly? You can do this in XP.

Not to this extent. Anyway, this should remove the need for nLite/vLite/(7Lite?) as well.

Glad you can turn off that horrible media center. they should try to bring an update to vista that allows you to turn off more but if not oh well.

This is brilliant, i never use dvd maker, or media center or windows defender , so i always wanted to remove them,

great work MS...

Neither do I and it'd be great that I can turn off those features. Wait, I do use Defender. It runs in the background and does its own thing every once in a while. Its looking after my PC, so all's well!

TBH, I don't see myself "turning off" any of the above features. I'm not sure how exactly it is hurting me if I don't use it but keep it "turned on" (whatever that nomenclature actually means, is yet to be seen). I guess choices are good, and MS is giving us more choices. So this is good news...just doesn't apply to me directly.

True, this way they are looking out for everyone. For people who'd like to turn off some features, they can, for those who don't, they can leave them untouched knowing that they always have the choice to do so if they ever wish to. Great going MS! You are 101% FTW!

Another great move by Microsoft. However, I think it would be even better if there was a way to specify what options are to be installed and enabled during the setup. Windows 9x was the best example of this, you could choose from a range of features.

Why not just decide on the defaults and then offer an 'Advanced...' button. Allow those who want a streamlined experience to just go Next > and take the defaults and allow the advanced users to hit Advanced and pick what they want?

C_Guy said,
Another great move by Microsoft. However, I think it would be even better if there was a way to specify what options are to be installed and enabled during the setup. Windows 9x was the best example of this, you could choose from a range of features.

Why not just decide on the defaults and then offer an 'Advanced...' button. Allow those who want a streamlined experience to just go Next > and take the defaults and allow the advanced users to hit Advanced and pick what they want?


quite simply because the defaults have been already chosen, if you want to change the options in the setup program then you have to goto the 9x style of OS installation which was slow and confusing for noobs, however this way it caters for everyone.

DJ Woody said,
quite simply because the defaults have been already chosen, if you want to change the options in the setup program then you have to goto the 9x style of OS installation which was slow and confusing for noobs, however this way it caters for everyone.


It is a rare thing when I agree with C_Guy, but in this case he is right (and amazingly, he is supporting exactly the way that Apple handles installs of OS X!). What is so hard for Microsoft about having a "customize" or "advanced options" button available during installation? If users want a simple install, they just hit "next", if they want to have options they can hit the "customize" or "advanced options" button and switch to the 9x style of installation. It doesn't have to be an either-or situation.

As we balanced feedback, the vast majority of feedback we have received was to streamline setup and to reduce the amount of potential complexity in getting a PC running. We chose to focus this feature on the post-setup experience for Windows 7

That's funny, because during the Vista beta, there was a lot of feedback saying the exact opposite, and begging for an advanced setup option where we can specify which bits are installed from the get-go. I don't think anyones asked for an advanced option for W7 because we got tired of our requests falling on deaf ears.

from the tech community, yes, from the people microsoft cares about? Average consumers? They don't want to have a huge list of features bogging down the install. It's why it got stripped out in the first place and very likely why they haven't re-added it.

There is probably a way to script the install before maybe? Or just script it to remove whatever after the initial image install is done. Whatever OEM's have and use to get the same job done.

Rolith said,
from the tech community, yes, from the people microsoft cares about? Average consumers? They don't want to have a huge list of features bogging down the install. It's why it got stripped out in the first place and very likely why they haven't re-added it.


What's wrong with the way OS X handles this? At install, you have the option to hit a Customize button to pick and choose the features you want or need. If you don't hit the button, it proceeds with a default install. Why is it seeminly so difficult for Microsoft to adopt this idea?

roadwarrior said,
What's wrong with the way OS X handles this? At install, you have the option to hit a Customize button to pick and choose the features you want or need. If you don't hit the button, it proceeds with a default install. Why is it seeminly so difficult for Microsoft to adopt this idea?

Yes, that would be a good idea. Adding the option to hit a Customize button would be very simple indeed.
The point is that MS obviously doesn't want people to be able to choose what is installed, and what not.

Man...they are doing great with this. Now we have true choices - I'm sure the IE files remain integrated. Didn't they say a long time ago they couldn't remove it or something?

Didn't they say a long time ago they couldn't remove it or something?

Yes, and it couldn't, because Explorer was integrated with it. But it is no more as of IE 7.

they don't remove the rendering engine because a lot of other applications/frameworks/configurations depend on it but it's IMPOSSIBLE to rune IE without re-enabling it/reinstalling it.

Mhh.. Ok Now lets check

Windows Media Player- OFF (I use Winamp and VLC)
Windows Media Center- OFF (I dont like it but my family loves it)
Windows DVD Maker- OFF (Already own Nero and Convert X to DVD)
Internet Explorer 8- OFF (No second thoughts since i am Firefox user)
Windows Search- Dont know whats exactly this. Is this Windows search service of Vista? If so, i'll turn it to OFF
Handwriting Recognition (through the Tablet PC Components option)- OFF ( I dont have a tablet PC)
Windows Gadget Platform- OFF ( Dont use gadgets )
Fax and Scan- OFF (Useless for me)
XPS Viewer and Services (including the Virtual Print Driver)- OFF (XPS is a big j/k)

Winamp has an old style. The way Windows Media Player 12 sorts music is a lot better. Who the hell uses playlists anymore?

Half of the features you're turning them off either because you don't want to explore them or you don't know what they are for.

I didn't get the point of your comment though.

Why turn off Windows Search?
That thing is EXTREMELY useful.
Especially if you have more applications than you can comfortably fit onto the start menu.

windows search is used with a lot of other windows features... disabling it when it literally is capable of having ZERO impact on performance and batter life when properly configured (I think it's set up to have zero impact on battery life by default on 7) is kinda mind blowing...

Glendi said,
Winamp has an old style. The way Windows Media Player 12 sorts music is a lot better. Who the hell uses playlists anymore?

Half of the features you're turning them off either because you don't want to explore them or you don't know what they are for.

I didn't get the point of your comment though.

Only reason i use Winamp is because of plethora of support for different formats. and i regularly play FLAC

You need a Commodor64!

IE is needed to handle .asp pages well, don't say you don't access any asp pages. Rest you can compromise on.

sibot said,
IE is needed to handle .asp pages well, don't say you don't access any asp pages.

LOL... You got it all wrong.
Pages with .asp extensions usually output HTML, so any webbrowser will work.

"Windows Search" is the Indexing Service.
If you don't like high HD activity in the background while it's indexing everything and the kitchen sink, turn it off.

Yeah, cuz you know, everyone still has small 20GB HDDs in their systems, we need to save 100MB or so by removing those parts.

You really think you gain much space or even performance by taking out IE and WMP?

GP007 said,
Yeah, cuz you know, everyone still has small 20GB HDDs in their systems, we need to save 100MB or so by removing those parts.

You really think you gain much space or even performance by taking out IE and WMP?

If you have to manage more then 500 machines the size of images becomes important to how much hard drive space and time is required to backup all those workstations.

Windows XP requires maybe 2-4 gigabytes per image while Vista needs 10-20 gigabytes per image. This requires a lot more space and takes a lot more time.

hardgiant said,

If you have to manage more then 500 machines the size of images becomes important to how much hard drive space and time is required to backup all those workstations.

Windows XP requires maybe 2-4 gigabytes per image while Vista needs 10-20 gigabytes per image. This requires a lot more space and takes a lot more time.

Using vLite in a corporate environment?
not smart

10-20GB? You must be talking about Vista + apps then cuz no way the OS itself goes up to 20GB.

And the point still stands, taking out those apps in question won't save you gigs of space anyways.

hardgiant said,
If you have to manage more then 500 machines the size of images becomes important to how much hard drive space and time is required to backup all those workstations.

vLite in corporate environments? You should consider using MDOP and move away from a product which is not supported by Microsoft. This is such a bad decision to use vLite in corporate!

But that will not change any thing.. I will use all what Microsoft wants me to use. Why?

It's a good Q!!!

Because I wanna live a life without walls and I wanna be out of the Box.

Is the Snipper tool still in Tablet features?
It's stupid to keep tablet stuff on a desktop PC just to keep a built-in screenshot tool.

No, it's under Accessories now.

I never use the start menu to get to programs anyways. I just press it and type "snipp" and press enter

Great, although I wouldn't hate Microsoft for including a button in one of their dialog boxes that pops up during installation to bring up that dialog box to configure the install. I guess it's hard to do now with their image-based installs though, but it would be the appropriate place to do it, rather than installing stuff that is later just there waiting to be uninstalled.

Well, it said turning on and off. So I guess, you just turning it off not uninstalling them. I mean that stuffs still remain in your system even you turn it off.

It remains but it isn't hooked into the system. They should allow choice as to what's installed, or not, during the setup phase. WIM based images do support it.

I'm happy that I can at least "remove" media center.

Outstanding, and while we all hope it'll shut up the whiners that want to customize and control every single aspect, it won't... but at least this is proof positive (as if we need it) that the Windows 7 team is actually reading the feedback they're getting and implementing quite a bit of it.

Windows Live Services is not a Windows feature and hence you dont see them in the list and is available as a separate download.

Indeed Chaks. Windows 7 doesn't coming with the Windows Live software, it's a separate download and install, so why would they appear in the "Windows Features" panel?

TCLN Ryster said,
Indeed Chaks. Windows 7 doesn't coming with the Windows Live software, it's a separate download and install, so why would they appear in the "Windows Features" panel?

I dont see it in the list (??)

Chris-Gonzales said,
not that great "out of the box experience" now is there (no live software)

Users said Windows is a bloatware and now when Microsoft gives options, you say there is no "out of the box experience"

SH3K0 said,
Wouldn't Windows Live Messenger be a feature?

Nope. Windows Live Messenger is now a part of Windows Live Essentials, which you can download from download.live.com

bobbba said,
Exactly, it's fantastic that the EU is managing to make MS behave better and make these features optional :)

This should be shown on first boot/install

Huh, the EU hasn't complained about instant messaging.

Edit: oh maybe I misunderstood a post here.. it didn't use a quote and maybe referred to this entire Live Essentials pack

krustylicious said,
This should be shown on first boot/install

They probably will be. I'm sure the Getting Started window will appear as part of the OOBE by release time and it includes the Live Essentials link.

Chris-Gonzales said,
not that great "out of the box experience" now is there (no live software)

I disagree that Windows Live Essentials is essential for a great "out of box experience." How I would classify a great out of box experience: everything is running, stable, and ready to load software on.

Windows are effectively being disallowed to add any other applications to Windows - so I think they gave up trying to include them as default (even thought the intent is to make Windows better). I don't really class them as bloatware as they arent trial software / adverts / subscription etc. I would prefer they came preinstalled and can then be removed in one click.

What effectively the complaing has done is mean that loads of comapies pre load the other Microsoft software anyway. So then to remove it you have to go through more than one remove option. If it was all included then you could just open up one panel and do it.

As many have said it hardly makes a difference removing the apps anyway. None of the programs are background or use considerable resources.

Indeed, especially being able to remove the following junk is greatly appreciated:

Windows Media Player
Windows Media Center
Windows DVD Maker
Internet Explorer 8

Actually it just removes the shortcuts and the program's exe file the way it has been done since XP SP1 I think. The rendering engine and other backend stuff remains. It's not like they use a lot of disk space though so there's nothing wrong with this. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. Personally I don't see the point in removing them period.

TRC said,
Actually it just removes the shortcuts and the program's exe file the way it has been done since XP SP1 I think. The rendering engine and other backend stuff remains. It's not like they use a lot of disk space though so there's nothing wrong with this. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. Personally I don't see the point in removing them period.

the people at Opera/google/etc etc will whine that this is monopolizing the market! and sue MS