Microsoft seems to be under the impression that change is good and will not confuse users of a previous versions of their Windows operating system once they upgrade to a new version of Windows.
It is interesting that they decided to change on elementary function in Windows Vista if you compare it to Windows XP: the Add/Remove Windows Components.
If you go into the Control Panel in Windows Vista you will not find Add / Remove Programs like in Windows XP and there is also no SYSOC.INF file where you can remove the HIDE parameter to add more windows components to the Add / Remove Programs menu.
The function in Windows Vista is called Turn Windows Features on or off and is available in the Programs and Features menu.
There is however a huge difference. You may have noticed the on or off phrase and that is exactly what is happening. The components that you select are not uninstalled and still on the hard drive if you select to turn a feature off. So, you can't use the feature to free up hard drive space like you could before.
There is only one known way to remove Windows components permanently and that means to prepare a special installation DVD with Vlite or another program that allow you to remove components from the Vista installation DVD.
That's however not the easiest thing to do and if you are not an experienced user you may run into a couple of issues here. While you can't break anything, you may burn a couple of coasters until you have figured out how to create the right Vista installation disc using a program like Vlite.
You can however remove lots of Windows components using the Programs and Features applet including the Windows Firewall, Windows Media Player and Windows Mail, but again, those are only disabled, not deleted from the hard drive.
Update: All new versions of Windows, up to Windows 10 which is the latest version at the time of updating this article, use the same "turn Windows features on or off" applet that Microsoft introduced in Windows Vista.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.