What Is the “Windows Feature Experience Pack” on Windows 10?

Windows 10 clear desktop background logo

Windows 10 now has a weird specification called “Experience”. Standard desktop versions of Windows 10 indicate that you have installed the “Windows Feature Experience Pack.” What does it mean? Microsoft is still a secret, but here’s what we know.

Another Windows 10 mystery

If you go to Settings> System> About and scroll down to “Windows Specifications”, you’ll see a line titled “Experience”. This probably indicates that you have installed the “Windows Feature Experience Pack”.

This section also tells you which edition of Windows 10 you have installed, what update version you have installed, when it was installed and the version number of your operating system.

We know what it all means, but what is a “Windows Feature Experience Pack”?

Unfortunately, Microsoft won’t explain it! Microsoft Observer Mary jo foley Microsoft asked about this and received a “no comment” from Microsoft. We think we can explain a lot of things anyway.

RELATED: Read this to understand Windows 10 update names and numbers

Some features of Windows 10 are part of the pack

As Foley points out, the Windows Feature Experience Pack is one of many “Features on demand»In Windows 10. For example, Microsoft Paint is now an “on-demand feature”.

This particular feature is preinstalled with Windows. Microsoft says that it “includes functionality that is essential to Windows functionality” and that you should “not remove this package.”

The same documentation states that Windows Feature Experience Pack was first introduced in Windows 10 version 2004 – this is the May 2020 update.

According to Foley, the pack currently includes features like a capture tool for taking screenshots and a text input panel. Rather than being part of the base version of Windows 10 itself, these features are part of this preinstalled “pack”. Microsoft may move more features from Windows 10 itself to this “features on demand” pack.

Most of these “on-demand features” are listed under Settings> Apps> Apps & Features> Optional Features, but the installed “Experience Pack” does not appear here.

Optional features in Settings on Windows 10

Track down the clues in the Windows Store

So why does this Feature Experience Pack even exist? Why not just leave these features in Windows 10?

Well Microsoft won’t say it, but we sure have some ideas. Take a look at this: The Microsoft Store has a listing for a “Windows Feature Experience Pack“And one”Windows 10X Feature Experience Pack. This suggests two things.

The Windows Features Experience Pack in the Microsoft Store

Faster updates for Windows components?

As of the October 2020 update, there is no indication that this Feature Experience Pack will be updated through the Store yet. However, it could be!

If Microsoft were to update the feature experience pack through the Store, the company could update the software inside the pack more than once every six months.

Anything that is moved from Windows to the bundle – maybe a built-in app like File Explorer or a component like the Windows taskbar or the Start menu – could be updated much faster.

A single OS for all Microsoft devices?

Microsoft is working hard on Windows 10X, which was going to be designed for dual-screen devices, but now it looks like it will initially be a more “modern” version of Windows that limits traditional desktop apps to containers.

These different versions of Windows may have the same underlying operating system and differ only in their “Feature Experience Pack”.

In other words, it could help move forward Objectives of Microsoft’s Windows Core operating system: Have a single core Windows operating system that powers all devices, with different experiences installed on them. Imagine if a future Xbox could run Windows 10 with the “Xbox Feature Experience Pack” or if a future Windows Phone could run Windows 10 with the “Windows Phone Experience Pack”.

RELATED: What is Windows 10X and how is it different?

Clues about a future, but useless in the present

From the Windows 10 October 2020 Update to the end of 2020, you should ignore the “Experience” line in the Settings screen and forget about “Windows Features Experience” for now. It really doesn’t mean anything.

Its presence is an artifact of Microsoft’s development process: The company is still experimenting internally, and signs of this experimentation are showing in released versions of Windows 10. This information can be important to Microsoft engineers experimenting and troubleshooting, but This is not the case. It doesn’t mean anything to Windows users outside of Microsoft.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Microsoft just said it publicly?

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