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Turn Windows features on or off shows an empty list

Posted on Monday, December 20 2010

When it comes to webservers, my favorite is Apache. Today, however, I needed to install Microsoft’s IIS on my Windows 7 notebook for a bunch of compatibility tests of some Python web applications I wrote.

Installing IIS on Windows 7 is normally a very painless task. You just go to Start --> Control Panel --> Programs and select Turn Windows features on or off from the dialog box that opens. Thereafter you simply select IIS and the additional components you’d like to install. After a few moments IIS is installed and ready to use.

But today, once more, Windows did its best to cod me...

After clicking *Turn Windows features on or off* the upcoming dialog box, that should list these features, was empty. No matter how often I re-opened the dialog, it remained empty and it turned out to be a pretty stubborn problem.

I tried:

None of these steps helped, the list of components remained empty.

After some research on the web, it turned out that this problem has been around since quite a while and both, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, are affected. Microsoft has described the effects in its knowledge base article 934538 but the steps described there didn’t help to fix the problem. Many desperate users seemed to have reinstalled their systems because they didn’t find a solution for this issue.

Fortunately I came across a comment, which led me to this knowledge base article, which – at a first glance – has nothing to do with this problem. However, after installing the described "System Update Readiness Tool" for my version of Windows (in this case Windows 7 Professional x64), the problem was fixed and the list of components was properly populated.

I haven’t investigated this whole issue any further, since I had to get back to my actual task. But I thought I leave a few words about it here, just in case...

Tags: windows