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Securely Disable Access To Windows Features

One of the good things about Windows 10, Is the array of built-In features that extend functionality to the operating system, without the need to opt for third-party tools. These are accessed In Control Panel, namely by selecting Turn Windows features on or off. Not every feature Is needed and If users sharing your PC enable the lot, It may cause performance and/or stability Issues. As such, I will show you how to securely disable access to Windows features.

Before I make a start, here's what I'm referring to. Navigate to Control Panel > Programs, and then click the Turn Windows features on or off link as shown below.

You will then see quite a number of features that you can enable & disable, by selecting their respective checkbox.

There's no need to enable each and every one- doing so can cause your computer to lose performance to some degree and In the worst-case scenario, system Instability may be experienced. If you're sharing your PC with multiple users, there's nothing stopping them from not only enabling features, but also disabling those that are required by certain programs and applications to function correctly.

As a result, I will demonstrate how to securely disable access to Windows features, by using the good old Group Policy Editor. Do note that the GPE Is only available In Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education editions. If you're running either of these, then this tutorial Is for you. So without further delay, let's get this started.

Step One:

The first thing you need to do, Is access the Group Policy Editor. Open the Run menu, enter gpedit.msc and hit OK as shown below.

Step Two:

The Group Policy Editor will now open, so navigate to the following directory.
User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Programs

Make sure Programs Is selected and on the right pane, double click "Hide Windows Features".

Step Three:

To the left of the window, click the Enabled radio button, and then hit OK to finalize the process.

Step Four:

Windows features Is now securely disabled. Let's try accessing It, by navigating to Control Panel > Programs, and then clicking Turn Windows features on or off.

Last Step:

As you can see and as expected, an error message has been returned, confirming that Windows Features has been disabled. Perfect!

Final Thoughts:

As you've most likely realized, the entire process to disable Windows Features Is extremely simple and only takes around a minute or two from start to finish. The good thing about It, Is that the change takes effect Immediately, without the need to reboot your computer. If you want to enable access as per It's original state, refer to Step Three above, click the Not Configured radio button and hit OK.


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