Q. How do I add and remove features from Windows 7?

A. One benefit of the componentization of Windows 7 is the option to remove parts of the OS that would previously have been thought of as core, such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player. You can remove these parts by opening the Programs and Features Control Panel applet and selecting the Turn Windows features on or off link. Deselect the various features you no longer want on your system, as shown here.

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Note that while the binaries for unselected features aren't loaded by the OS when it boots, the source files are still staged and available on the OS installation. This means that if you want to add the feature back, you don't have to find the Windows 7 media. Also note that although the main binaries for the features won't be loaded, any APIs they provide will still be available for other components or applications that need them.

The features that are newly removable in Windows 7 are listed here.

  • 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)
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