While digging around for an answer to another issue, I came across this KB article

Essentially it boils down to this: Windows XP comes with a bunch of pre-loaded software. Lots of it you can’t even find in Add/Remove programs. Why? Because Microsoft designed it this way.

By simply opening up the file Sysoc.inf (This is in the %SystemRoot%\Inf folder), and removing the word ‘hide’ you can force these programs to show up.

You can scan through and figure out what each item is. Some of them won’t do anything for you. For example, even under Windows XP Pro you can turn on Terminal Services. It will show up in Add/Remove components, but you won’t be able to install it.

Lets look at mine. I am going unhide MS Word Pad. Here is what the line looks like:

Show Hidden Programs INF

Now I will unhide it by removing the word HIDE and saving the file. It would be a good idea to back up this file before making any changes…that way you can get things back to normal if you mess it up.

Show Hidden Programs INF

Notice that both commas stay, so you have two in a row. Now I will open up add/remove programs from the control panel. In this case I know that MS Word Pad is part of Accessories. So I click on “Accessories and Utilities” then click on details. And again click on “Accessories” in the next window and details. Now I can see the option to add or remove MS Word Pad:

Show Hidden Programs INF

You can do this for many other components. This can really help when you want to trim down a system, but at the same time have the opportunity to bring something back if you need it.

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Abdelouafi Omar Taoufik