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I'm guessing it's a group policy thing, because I have to run appwiz.cpl from cmd to launch the add / remove programs window. Is there a command line utility to control windows components? If not, how do I edit my policy to let me see the windows components?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Check: How to add or remove Windows Components by using Sysocmgr.exe.
also look at this thread.

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This may also help:

start > run > %windir%\system32\sysocmgr.exe /i:%windir%\inf\sysoc.inf

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If it is disabled by group policy you can go to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Uninstall

Change the NoWindowsSetupPage value to 0.

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