How to Enable or Disable Features in Windows via Group Policy Editor

I found at of settings in Group Policy Editor or GPEDIT.MSC is related to Windows, which one can use to enable or disable certain features on Windows 11/10. They all are located in Administrative Templates of Computer and User Configuration and apply to the l computer.

Type Group Policy Editor on the Start screen or use WIN + R, type gpedit.msc, and press the Enter key. In this post, we will share how you can use to enable or disable features in Windows 11/10 via Group Policy Editor.

How to Enable or Disable Features in Windows via Group Policy Editor

How to Enable or Disable Features in Windows via Group Policy Editor

These are the three ways to enable or disable features:

  • Controlling Windows Store Access
  • Windows App Settings
  • Windows User options

1] Controlling Windows Store Access

Location : Windows Components > Stores

  • Turn off Automatic Download of updates
  • Allow stores to install apps on Windows to go Workspaces
  • Turn off the Store application.

Using it, you can not only control the automatic updates but also block complete access to Microsoft Store Apps. They are helpful in the corporate environment where computers should only use the in-house apps.

Though I haven’t seen any option to set Windows apps to auto-update, this feature can be used by the app itself or some other program.

In case you want to disable the New App installed Notification from Windows 8 Store, enable the settings at this location :

Location: Windows Components > File Explorer

  • Do not Show new application installed notification

2] Windows App Settings

Proxy control for Windows Apps

It is possible to control the apps to connect over a proxy network or only over the permitted network, both Intranet and the Internet. Useful if you want to make the apps work on proxy if the primary network has blocked it. More useful for Admins to ensure the network works only in a specific IP range.

Location: Network > Network Isolation

  1. Specify Internet / Intranet Proxy Server for Apps
  2. Private Network ranges for Apps

Safeguarding Printer Driver crashing the Apps :

Location: Printers

  1. Isolate Printer Driver from Apps

It ensures that Printer Driver, instead of loading the drivers into the Apps, is isolated and does not crash the apps. However, the apps have to honor or support this isolation method. Microsoft Office 365, Office 2019, 2007, 2010, etc., already support this.

Enable / Install Apps from outside Store :

If you have developed apps that include a certificate, Windows can recognize it. can be recognized by the computer, and you can install apps with no issues by enabling these settings. Typical examples are Line of Business Apps developed in your company.

Location: Windows Components > App Package Deployment

  • Allow All Trusted Apps to Install

Block Packaged Apps launching Desktop Apps :

The logic here is that a Store app or a signed app can start a file that might launch the desktop app because of the default association of the file with the desktop app. Since Desktop Apps run with higher privileges, it can raise security concerns.

Location : Windows Components > App Runtime

  1. Block Launching Desktop Apps with a File
  2. Block Launching Desktop Apps with an associated protocol

However, enabling the policy settings does not block packaged apps from launching HTTP, HTTPS, and mail to protocols that would be passed to a desktop app. The handlers for these protocols are accustomed to handling data from untrusted sources and are therefore hardened against protocol-based vulnerabilities. The risk of allowing these protocols to be passed to a desktop app is minimal.

3] Windows User Options

Stop sharing personal details with Apps.

Windows allows Apps to read basic details from your user profile to be used in the app. For example, your name can be used to fill in the name of the app automatically. You may choose to disable sharing such details.

Location : System > User Profiles >

  • Disable Sharing Personal Details to the app for all users.

Stop users from uninstalling apps from Start Screen :

Uninstalling an app is as easy as doing a right-click. If you do not want users to uninstall Apps from the Start screen, enable this setting.

Location : User configuration > Administrative Templates > Start menu and Taskbar >

  • Prevent Users from Uninstalling Apps from Start Menu.

Disable Application Compatibility :

Any version of Windows has built-in compatibility feature detection, allowing you to install programs using different settings. Starting with Windows 8, it is possible to disable this compatibility feature entirely if you wish to remove old app support entirely on your PC.

Location :  System > Troubleshooting & Diagnostics > Application Compatibility Diagnostics

  • Detect Compatibility Issues for applications  and drivers

Disable Start Screen Background Image :

If you don’t like the background image on Windows 8 Start Screen and would love to have only solid colored background, follow these steps

Location: Windows Components > Windows Desktop Manager

  • Enable Solid Colours only

Lot more policies are available for admins to change settings in Windows 11/10. if you have anything specific, leave that in the comments.



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