How to unlock hidden features of Windows 10 using Mach2

Windows 10 Insider build, contains many hidden features that are used by Microsoft to test developer new features that are not officially released yet. These hidden features, though, are not enabled by default because it requires a special method to activate them.

There is a tool called Mach2 which comes into play and was released by Windows expert Rafael Rivera. When originally released, you'd to compile the programs and scan debug symbols to find new hidden features in Windows 10 builds. You can simply download the program and consult Rivera's GitHub repository for the latest features found in a newly released Windows 10 Insider build.

According to Rafael Rivera, these hidden features are located in Feature Control, which is a system used to gate off new and unfinished features from the production users in production code. Using Mach2, you can manage the Feature Store, a component of Feature Control, to find, to disable, and to enable features that are normally hidden from non-Microsoft users.

We will explain below that how you can download Mach2 and use it to enable hidden features in Windows 10 insider builds.

How to find hidden features in Windows 10

Before we start, It should be noted that Rafael Rivera warned that enabling hidden development features could cause problems with your Windows 10 installation. Therefore, they should only be used on a system that you do not care what happens, such as in a virtual machine with a saved snapshot.

To get started, firstly download Mach2 from the program's release page. Once downloaded, then extract the zip file and open a Windows 10 elevated command prompt.

At the command prompt, cd into the directory where you extracted Mach2 and type mach2.exe -help to see the program's instructions.

Mach2 instructions

To see what features are currently available in Windows 10, enter this command mach2 display and one more thing if you have not previously enabled or disabled any features, the listings will be empty. If you have enabled or disabled any feature already, then those listed features will be displayed. Below you can see that the feature corresponding to ID 23615618 is enabled.

Display Enabled Features

The feature ID 23615618 corresponds to new theme-aware Start Menu that is being developed.

After a new Windows 10 Insider build is released, Rafael Rivera will create a text file that compares the available features in the newly released build with the previous one. Rafael then hosts these files on his GitHub page so that you can see the new features that were added in this release.

These features use internal Microsoft names that do not make it clear what they do, and you will need to experiment with them to learn more.

For example, In the latest Windows 10 Insider build 20161, Rafael Rivera lists various new features (in green) found in this build that you can test. One of these features called LivePreviewForTabs and has an ID  of 25478404.

New features found in Windows 10 build

This feature is a test of a new ALT+Tab change that shows the Microsoft Edge tabs in the Windows task list. To enable this feature, you would type this command mach2 enable 25175482 and press enter.

Enable a hidden feature with Mach2

To disable a feature, we would use this command mach2 disable 25175482.

When disabling/enabling features, you may need to reboot the computer to be fully enabled or disabled. Now you know that how to find, display, enable or disable hidden features, it's time to start playing around and seeing what you can find.

Below we have listed some of the features that you could also activate in Windows 10 Insider build 20161 using Mach2.

Some Hidden Features in Windows 10 Insider Build 20161

We briefly went through the list of features in build 20161 and found a few that can be enabled. It should be noted that the hidden features can sometimes not work all of the time.

Some of the hidden features we found are listed below:

Redirect System Control Panel - ID: 25175482

Microsoft has started testing on removal of the System control panel in Windows 10 and instead redirecting users to a new modern About page.

New modern About page

Theme-aware Start Menu - ID: 23615618

New Windows 10 Start Menu tiles with colored backgrounds and hello to partially transparent theme-aware tiles that look so cool.

New Windows 10 Start Menu

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