Open Programs and Features in Windows 10: A Step-by-Step Guide

Windows 10 offers a practical feature known as “Programs and Features,” which allows users to manage both the installation and removal of software on their systems. Utilizing this function, we can effortlessly add or remove programs, inspect installed updates, and turn Windows features on or off. It serves as a centralized hub for software management tasks, simplifying what could otherwise be a complex process to navigate.

A computer screen displaying the Windows 10 desktop with the Start menu open and the cursor hovering over the "Programs and Features" option

Gaining access to “Programs and Features” is straightforward, providing several methods depending on user preference. We might opt to open it through the Control Panel, execute a search directly from the taskbar, or employ the Run command with a specific instruction. Each approach is designed to offer convenience and flexibility, catering to various user habits and enhancing the overall user experience in Windows 10.

Considering personal use and technical support, mastering how to open “Programs and Features” shows to be invaluable. It equips us with the necessary tools to maintain the optimal performance and utility of our Windows 10 operating system. This knowledge ensures that we can troubleshoot issues, customize features, and maintain software with confidence and efficiency.

Accessing Programs and Features

A computer screen displays the Windows 10 desktop with the Programs and Features window open. The cursor hovers over the list of installed programs

In Windows 10, managing installed software is crucial for both system performance and security. We’re going to look at several straightforward methods to access the Programs and Features so you can easily add or remove programs.

Using Windows Search

We can swiftly locate Programs and Features using the search box. Here’s how:
  • Hit the magnifying glass icon on the taskbar.
  • Type “Programs and Features” and select the top result.

Via Control Panel

Accessing Programs and Features through the Control Panel is a more traditional method.

  • Press Win+R, type %windir%\\system32\\control.exe, and hit Enter.
  • Set the view to ‘Large icons’ and click ‘Programs and Features’.

Shortcut Command Via Run Box

For direct access, use the Run dialog box with a simple command.

  • Use the keyboard combination Win+R.
  • Type appwiz.cpl and press Enter.

Navigating Through Settings App

The Settings app houses a modern interface to uninstall apps or manage optional features.

  • Open Settings with Win+I.
  • Go to ‘Apps’ and select ‘Apps & Features’.

Managing Features and Programs

We must know how to effectively manage the applications installed on our PCs. With the correct tools, we can uninstall, repair, or change existing software, and toggle Windows features on or off for optimal system performance.

Uninstalling or Changing Programs

To remove or modify programs on a Windows 10 platform, we navigate to the Control Panel. We can select ‘Programs and Features’ if the display is in large icons. For the uninstallation process, we simply locate the unwanted program, select it, and click ‘Uninstall.’ If it is a matter of making changes, we select ‘Change’ and follow the prompts provided by the application.

Tip: Always check for a ‘Repair’ option, as this can resolve issues without the need to fully uninstall the application.

Turning Windows Features On or Off

Windows 10 comes with a variety of built-in features, some of which may not be necessary for all users. To enable or disable these, we can use the ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ option within ‘Programs and Features.’ By ticking checkboxes, we can control which optional features are active, helping to streamline our systems.

Repairing or Modifying Installed Software

Occasionally, programs may not function correctly. Before deciding to uninstall, we can attempt to repair the software. This is achieved by selecting the program in ‘Programs and Features’ and clicking ‘Repair.’ If the software supports modifications, we may also choose ‘Change’ to adjust the installation to our needs.

Understanding these management tools ensures our systems run with only the software we need and perform as expected.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

How do I open Programs and Features?
To access Programs and Features in Windows 10, we can type appwiz.cpl into the Start menu search bar and press Enter. Alternatively, we go to the Control Panel, select ‘Programs’ and then ‘Programs and Features’.

What should I do if Programs and Features won’t open?
It’s effective to perform a system file check. We open the Command Prompt as an administrator, type sfc /scannow, and press Enter. The tool will scan for and fix any integrity violations.

FAQ Issue Solution
Can’t disable a Windows feature Internet Information Services (IIS) won’t turn off Use ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ in Programs and Features, and clear the checkbox next to IIS.
An app is malfunctioning App errors or crashes Visit Settings > Apps > Apps & features, select the app, and click ‘Advanced options’ to find Repair.
Failed updates Windows Update issues We run the Windows Update Troubleshooter available in Update & Security under Troubleshoot settings.

In our experience, most problems with Programs and Features can be addressed via these methods. However, if problems persist, we may need to consider more advanced troubleshooting steps or seek professional assistance. It’s crucial that we keep our system settings up to date to minimize the need for frequent troubleshooting.

Advanced Features and Administrative Tools

In this section, we’ll guide you through the nuances of using Windows 10’s Advanced Features and Administrative Tools. You’ll learn how to access optional features and leverage the power of PowerShell and Command Prompt to manage your system effectively.

Accessing Optional Windows Features

Windows 10 comes with a suite of optional components that can be activated or deactivated based on your needs. To manage these components:

Feature Importance Access Path
Internet Information Services (IIS) Host and manage websites, services Windows Settings -> Optional Features
Hyper-V Create and manage virtual machines Windows Features -> Turn Windows features on or off
.NET Framework 3.5 Support for applications using older .NET versions Windows Features -> Turn Windows features on or off

By navigating to Settings -> Apps -> Optional Features, you can enable features like Hyper-V for virtualization or Internet Explorer for legacy web support. For developers and IT professionals, components such as Microsoft Message Queue (MSMQ) Server offer message queuing capabilities, while the RAS Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK) and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) are essential for network management tasks.

Utilizing PowerShell and Command Prompt

PowerShell and Command Prompt are two integral parts of Windows 10 that provide a command-line interface for executing advanced administrative functions and automated tasks. Here’s how you use them:


We use PowerShell for complex scripting and automation. This modern command shell incorporates an integrated scripting environment with access to COM and WMI, allowing for the administration of every aspect of Windows.

Command Prompt:

Alternatively, Command Prompt is used for executing batch files or simple commands. Although less powerful than PowerShell, it’s often sufficient for routine tasks and system maintenance.

Remember, to run either tool with administrative privileges, right-click on their respective shortcuts and select “Run as administrator.”

Understanding and operating these tools efficiently can vastly enhance your capability to administer and fine-tune your Windows environment, crafting a more controlled and tailored user experience.

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