What is Windows 10 Features on Demand & how do I install FOD?

In this post, we will discuss what are Windows 10 Features on Demand and why some users (specifically Windows 10 systems managed via WSUS) might be unable to download and install FOD (Features on Demand).

What is Windows 10 Features on Demand

Windows 10 Features On Demand are additional feature options available through Windows Update. This download allows organizations to pre-configure Windows 10 installation software with these features prior to deployment. This download can also be used to install features from local media.

Features on Demand (FODs) are Windows feature packages that can be added at any time. Common features include language resources like handwriting recognition or other features like the .NET Framework (.NetFx3). When Windows 10 or Windows Server needs a new feature, it can request the feature package from Windows Update.

Unlike previous Feature Packs, Features on Demand v2 can apply to multiple Windows builds and can be added using DISM without knowing the build number. Always use Features on Demand that match the architecture of the operating system. Adding Features on Demand of the wrong architecture might not return an error immediately, but will likely cause functionality issues in the operating system.

Windows has two different types of Features on Demand:

  1. FODs without satellite packages: FODs with all language resources packaged into the same package. These FODs are distributed as a single .cab file and can be added using either DISM /Add-Capability or /Add-Package.
  2. FODs with satellite packages: When you install this type of FOD, only the packages that apply to the Windows image are installed, which reduces disk footprint. These FODs are distributed as a set of several .cab files, but are installed by specifying a single /capabilityname. They can only be added using DISM /Add-Capability (and not /Add-Package).

Windows Features on Demand not installing

Starting with Windows 10 version 1809, FOD (Features on Demand) and language packs can only be installed from Windows Update and not via WSUS.

If you cannot install Windows 10 Features on Demand, you’ll need to configure the Group Policy to go directly to Windows Update to download and install FOD.

Press Windows key + R, type gpedit.msc, hit Enter to launch the Group Policy editor.

Windows 10 Features on Demand

Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System.

Scroll down on the right pane, locate and double-click Specify settings for optional component installation and component repair.

This policy setting specifies the network locations that will be used for the repair of operating system corruption and for enabling optional features that have had their payload files removed.
 
If you enable this policy setting and specify the new location, the files in that location will be used to repair operating system corruption and for enabling optional features that have had their payload files removed. You must enter the fully qualified path to the new location in the “”Alternate source file path”” text box. Multiple locations can be specified when each path is separated by a semicolon.
 
The network location can be either a folder, or a WIM file. If it is a WIM file, the location should be specified by prefixing the path with “wim:” and include the index of the image to use in the WIM file. For example “wim:\\server\share\install.wim:3”.
 
If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, or if the required files cannot be found at the locations specified in this policy setting, the files will be downloaded from Windows Update, if that is allowed by the policy settings for the computer.

Click the radio button for Enabled

Also, set the following:

  • Alternate source file path: <BLANK>
  • Never attempt to download payload from Windows Update: Uncheck
  • Download repair content and optional features directly from Windows Update instead of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS): Check

Click Apply > OK.

Windows 10 v1809 and later users should now be able to download and install Features on Demand.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Obinna Onwusobalu, MCSA MCTS MCITP, has studied Information & Communication Technology and is a keen follower of the Windows ecosystem. He runs a computer software clinic. He says, it's best practice to create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system.