How to fix Turn Windows features on or off is not working?

Issue: Hi, I wanted to enable Hyper-V via the Turn Windows features on or off when I accessed it, but nothing got populated – the message says, “Please wait,” and nothing happens. Are any fixes for this available?

Solved Answer

“Turn Windows features on or off” is a built-in functionality in the Windows operating system that allows users to customize their systems by enabling or disabling certain features. This feature is especially useful for power users who want to optimize their computer's performance or for users who want to add or remove specific functionalities. Examples of items in this list include Internet Information Services for hosting websites, Media Features for playing and recording multimedia, or Microsoft Print to PDF for saving documents as PDF files.

This utility is located in the Control Panel, and when accessed, a list of Windows features should populate, allowing users to choose what to turn on or off based on their needs. The changes made in this feature could result in noticeable differences in the system’s performance, functionality, and available applications.

However, some users have reported encountering an issue where the “Turn Windows features on or off” window simply does not populate, displaying a blank list (often showing the “Please wait” message). This usually happens due to corrupt system files, Windows Update glitches, or issues with the Windows Component Store. In such cases, it appears as if the feature isn't working since it fails to display the list of features that can be turned on or off.

If you're facing this issue, don't worry. There are several solutions that you can attempt to fix this problem, depending on what exactly is causing it in your specific case. From performing a System File Check to manually resetting the Windows Update components or repairing the Windows Component Store, several different methods can help you restore the functionality of the “Turn Windows features on or off” tool.

How to fix Turn Windows features on or off is not working?

Remember, a detailed step-by-step guide for each potential fix will be provided in the sections below this article. Every computer system is unique, so it may take a few tries before you find the solution that works for your specific situation. Running a scan with a potent PC repair tool FortectMac Washing Machine X9 might help you resolve the issue automatically.

Fix 1. Clear Windows Store cache

  • In Windows search, type wsreset.exe and press Enter.
  • Wait till a black window shows up – do not interact with it or close it.
  • Once it's gone, Microsoft Store should restart.
  • Try downloading apps once again.

Reset Windows Store cache

Fix 2. Run SFC and DISM scans

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Repair damaged system files as follows:

  • Type cmd in Windows search
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator
  • When the User Account Control window pops up, click Yes
  • Use the following command and press Enter:
    sfc /scannow
  • After the SFC scan is complete, use the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • Restart your system.

SFC and DISM

Fix 3. Install all Windows updates

  • Type Updates in Windows search and press Enter.
  • Here, click Check for updates.
  • Wait till Windows downloads and installs all the files.
  • If optional updates are available, install them as well.
  • Reboot your device.

Install Windows updates

Fix 4. Reset Windows update components

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  • Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  • In the Command Prompt window, copy and paste each of these commands, pressing Enter after each:
    Net Stop bits
    Net Stop wuauserv
    Net Stop appidsvc
    Net Stop cryptsvc
    Ren %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.bak
    Ren %systemroot%\system32\catroot2 catroot2.bak
    Net Start bits
    Net Start wuauserv
    Net Start appidsvc
    Net Start cryptsvc
  • Close down everything and restart your PC.

Reset Windows update components

Fix 5. Enable Windows Modules Installer service

If the Windows Module Installer service is disabled, the system may fail to download or install Windows updates, leading to potential security risks or system functionality issues, as your computer would not be updated with the latest security patches or feature improvements. Moreover, it can also affect the operation of the “Turn Windows features on or off” function, as this feature relies on the Windows Module Installer service to add or remove system components.

  • Type Services in Windows search and hit Enter.
  • Scroll down to find Windows Module Installer service from the list.
  • Double-click to open Properties.
  • Under the Startup type, select Automatic from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Start and OK.

Enable Windows Modules Installer service

Fix 6. Delete a registry entry

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It is worth noting that making a backup of your registry is a good idea before modifying it. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Type regedit in Windows search and press Enter. In the older Windows versions, you can press Win + R instead.
  • User Account Control (UAC) will ask whether you want to make changes – click Yes.
  • When Registry Editor opens, click File > Export.
  • Under Export range, pick All.
  • Name it and save it to the location of your preference and close down the Registry Editor.

Backup registry

Once done, you can now use Command Prompt to remove the following registry entry:

  • Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  • In the new window, copy and paste the following command:
    reg delete HKLM\COMPONENTS /v StoreDirty
  • Press Enter.

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About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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