ADD/REMOVE WINDOWS FEATURES

Windows logoIn addition to stock configuration PC gamers occasionally have problems some older programs. Windows 8 and above for example do not install the .NET Framework 3.51 or older versions. Worse, the installer fails. The reason for this is that Windows has changed the way the features are added to Windows.

Open “Control Panel\Programs\Programs and Features” and on the left side menu you will see the shortcut to Turn Windows Features On or Off. In the screenshot, the entire list of features is presented so its clearer what is actually available.

FEATURES

Windows features generally are fine for most users as with the defaults.

.NET FRAMEWORK 3.5

The .NET Framework first shipped back with Windows XP in the early days. It was Microsoft replacement for Java which is called middleware, used by mostly corporations moving legacy applications to personal computers. .NET 3.5 shipped with Visual Studio 2010.

This is the biggest problem users of Windows 8 and above are experiencing. The old installer is blocked which is what is causing error messages. Windows Live Mail uses .NET 3.5 which is very popular.

.NET FRAMEWORK 4.5

By default. Windows 8 and above installed the newer version of .NET which is used by newer versions of Visual Studio.

ACTIVE DIRECTORY LIGHTWEIGHT DIRECTORY SERVICES

This is used with Windows Server and PC games should leave this off as its not needed. This is used mostly in shops with mixed Linux and Windows Servers.

Windows 8 features

HYPER-V

Hyper-V is virtual machine manager that now comes with Windows Professional. Gamers should leave this disabled. Enabling it will make many games unplayable due to jerky play as the video card drivers are not designed for this.

NVIDIA has indicated they are supporting Hyper-V but many games still are adversely affected. No word from AMD.

INTERNET EXPLORER

Google Chrome has become the browser of choice in recent years. Leave this enabled as some Windows components and applications use the lower level functions.

The Asus support disk installer uses IE to render its news panel.

INTERNET INFORMATION SERVICES

There are 2 components for IIS, these should be disabled as a gaming box is not a web server. Aspiring web developers can use Azure which has a free option for smaller sites.

LEGACY COMPONENTS

The legacy components are a small basket of leftovers from earlier versions of Windows. Legacy components should be enabled.

MEDIA FEATURES

This is Media Player and its related components. Even if you use another player such as iTunes, these should be left enabled so that the CODEC components are available.

MICROSOFT MESSAGE QUEUE (MSMQ) SERVER

This is another component used with Windows Server and should be disabled for gaming.

NETWORK PROJECTION

This is a service to use a network connected projector, used mostly for presentation purposes. Gamers generally use a panel connected to a graphics card due to the extreme performance needed.

PRINT AND DOCUMENT SERVICES

These are provided to support a printer. Some of the components are designed for network printers, some recent models now offer wireless network connectivity. The default settings are suitable for all users.

RAS CONNECTION MANAGER ADMINISTRATION KIT

This is for remote access. For security reasons this should be disabled.

REMOTE DIFFERENTIAL COMPRESSION API SUPPORT

OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) uses this to reduce the network load to sync documents.

REMOTE SERVER ADMINISTRATION TOOLS

These are intended to support remote desktop. This can be left on, it will not adversely affect gaming.

RIP LISTENER

This is the routing internet protocol listener, its used by the internet to be able to find machines for message routing etc. This is not needed as gaming rigs are not being used for network infrastructure.

SIMPLE NETWORK MANAGEMENT PROTOCOL

This is an old solution that came from the factory floor. The idea is to make it easier to manage machines remotely. This can be disabled as its not needed for gaming.

SIMPLE TCPIP SERVICES

These are additional network services that Microsoft ported to Windows. These are not needed as a gaming box is not used as network infrastructure.

SMB 1.0/CIFS FILE SHARING SUPPORT

This basket of components is used for shared folder and network attached storage. This is enabled by default and should be left on.

TELNET CLIENT

Telnet is an old unsecured connection to a remote machine. For example, we used it to connect to Linux when we used that for our Web Server. This is not generally needed as alternatives are plentiful.

TELNET SERVER

Telnet server provides the services for telnet clients to connect. Its also obsolete as remote desktop offers the full GUI etc. This should also be disabled.

TFTP

TFTP is the trivial FTP tool that is once again obsolete. We suggest the freeware Filezilla as a modern Windows program that does the job with drag and drop easily.

WINDOWS IDENTITY FOUNDATION 3.5

This is the system used by Windows to support the secure logon to web services. This is enabled by default and should be enabled.

WINDOWS LOCATION PROVIDER

Some services use location to find things like a nearby restaurant etc. This makes more sense for a tablet. It is enabled by default and it can be left on. There are other switches to block tracking etc.

WINDOWS POWER SHELL

The is a glorified version of the command prompt, it should be enabled at all times. This way shell scripts can be used to fix problems or to automate some services.

WINDOWS PROCESS ACTIVATION SERVICE

Windows Process Activation Service generalizes the Internet Information Services (IIS) process model, removing the dependency on HTTP. All the features of IIS that were previously available only to HTTP applications are now available to applications hosting Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services, by using non-HTTP protocols. IIS 7.0 also uses Windows Process Activation Service for message-based activation over HTTP. Gamers do not need this and it can be disabled.

WINDOWS TIFF IFILTER

Flatbed scanner programs generally use TIFF format files that can support multiple pages. Its an alternative to PDF. This feature enables searching of TIFF files.

WORK FOLDERS CLIENT

This is used by servers for assigned work space. Gamers do not need this and it can be disabled.

XPS SERVICES

XPS files are a rival format to PDF and not widely needed. Gamers can disable this unless they are using Microsoft Office.

XPS VIEWER

The viewer is handy for reading XPS files but once again its not widely used. It can be disabled without problem.

ERRORS

if you are having problems installing features. You can refer to KB2734782.

If Windows is wanting to download from the internet, and that fails, then remount the Windows ISO and open up the COMMAND prompt as an Administrator..

DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:NetFx3 /All /LimitAccess /Source:E:\sources\sxs

Change the E: drive to whatever the ISO is mounted at.  The desired feature can be changed too, this example is for .NET 3.5.