Windows 10 v2004 Onwards Several Inbuilt Applications To Become ‘Optional’ To Optimize Reserved Storage Size And Help Updates?

Microsoft Windows 10 operating system, just like its predecessors, contains several applications and features which may not be used by all. In fact, Windows 10 comes with several features for both consumers and business, and hence, many of these features remain disabled after installation. Users have the option of either activating the feature or letting it remain disabled. With the upcoming Windows 10 2004 Feature Update, Microsoft is making quite a few iconic and signature Windows OS features ‘Optional’.

Microsoft has quietly decided to make Windows 10 leaner. In other words, the Windows 10 installation will now take up lesser space. This is because Microsoft has tagged quite a few inbuilt Windows 10 features as Optional. With the arrival of Windows 10 with 20H1 Update, the operating system’s several components will be tagged or transitioned into optional features. This means users can disable them. Transitioning the features to optional is expected to optimize the disk space and hence help in curtailing the ‘Reserved Space’ which Microsoft mandates for the installation of updates.

Windows 10 Spring 2020 Update To Transition Several Apps And Features Into Optional:

With a presumed aim of reducing clutter and optimizing the Reserved Storage space on the primary drive on which Windows 10 is installed, Microsoft appears to have converted quite a few traditional apps and features into optional. Transitioning the features into optional will allow users to uninstall/disable them from the Settings app.

The following are the new entries into the ‘Optional Features’ list:

  • Paint.
  • Notepad.
  • WordPad.
  • PowerShell (ISE) – Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment
  • Print Management Console: This is used for enabling the management of printers, printer drivers, and printer servers.
  • Windows 7’s Steps Recorder, which is a tool with a keylogger, screen capture, and annotation feature, is now optional.
  • Windows Fax and Scan: This adds faxing and scanning capabilities.

With the arrival of the Windows 10, 2004 Update users can simply switch off these features via the “Manage Optional Features” setting. Incidentally, the optional features can’t be entirely removed from the device. In other words, they will continue to occupy a small amount of space on the primary hard drive.

Many of the aforementioned features are important, and turning them off could potentially break functionalities on the Windows 10 computer if the user does not have a replacement or alternative installed. Features such as Paint, Notepad, and WordPad are still quite popular. However, there are several useful alternatives like Paint.NET and Notepad++ that are loaded with additional functionalities.

Experts indicate that if the users choose to ‘disable’ or ‘remove’ the feature, only the manifests and metadata for the programs remain on the disk so that Windows still knows them and can be reinstalled if necessary, using the Windows Update. A new offline installation is currently not possible. Attempting to reinstall the features offline can end in error 0x8024402c.

It is interesting to note that the majority of the features that have been transitioned to ‘Optional’, collectively occupy little hard-drive space. A typical Windows 10 OS installation takes anywhere between 10 and 20 GB. These features collectively do not take up more than 100MB.  Additionally, these programs do not have much impact on the resources as well. Hence a few Windows 10 users claim Microsoft might be just beginning to experiment with converting Windows 10 default features into optional and reducing the installation size.

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.

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Windows 10 v2004 Onwards Several Inbuilt Applications To Become ‘Optional’ To Optimize Reserved Storage Size And Help Updates?

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