Windows 10’s Wireless Display Feature is Now Optional

Posted on August 30, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile, Smart Home, Windows 10 with 17 Comments

I was testing Wireless DeX with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and when I tried to connect it with my PC’s display, I noticed something odd. Windows 10’s Wireless Display feature, which lets you use your PC’s display as a standalone Miracast-capable display, is no longer provided by default in Windows 10.

As it turns out, there’s a reason: This feature has been added, belatedly, to the list of Windows 10 features that have been removed in version 2004.

But that’s weird, because Wireless Display was not on the list of Windows 10 features that had been removed in version 2004 when Microsoft first announced this list three months ago in late May. At that time, there were only three removed features: Cortana, Windows To Go, and the Mobile Plans and Messaging apps.

But if you check the list today, you’ll see a new item, which Microsoft describes as the Connect app.

“The Connect app for wireless projection using Miracast is no longer installed by default, but is available as an optional feature,” the page notes. “To install the app, click on Settings > Apps > Optional features > Add a feature and then install the Wireless Display app.”

There’s really no need for these instructions, since you’ll find out how to install the app and regain the Wireless Display feature by navigating to the spot in the Windows 10 UI where this feature normally lives: Settings > System > Projecting to this PC. There, you will now find a note about adding the “Wireless Display optional feature” with a link to the Optional features UI.

Anyway, it works just like it did before, once you add the now-optional feature. I’ll be writing up Wireless DeX soon, probably tomorrow.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Windows 10’s Wireless Display Feature is Now Optional”

  1. Avatar

    SvenJ

    Odd. Projecting to this PC, is not a setting that can be found by opening settings and typing into the find a setting box, 'Projecting to this PC'. Well done MS.

  2. Avatar

    IanYates82

    The projecting to the PC thing was quite handy for me at the start of the "work from home" thing that we started very suddenly. I had a second laptop so put it on the table next to my main one at home and did the wireless display thing to it - that made me a second monitor that was more than good enough for coding, etc.

    • Avatar

      IanYates82

      In reply to IanYates82:

      I really hope they don't remove the function - they were doing well with Miracast and should stick with it.


      Given I can see infrared adapter support is still one of the optional features you can enable, the fact it's moved to this optional features list doesn't necessarily sound the death knell.


      (I used irDA to transfer some files once, about 20 years ago back at uni - it worked well enough I suppose)

  3. Avatar

    glenn8878

    I never got it to work. Optional broken.

  4. Avatar

    jgraebner

    I wonder when they actually moved it to optional. I had to install the feature to try it out on my Surface Go 2, which came with 1909. If it's already installed, I assume it doesn't remove it on an upgrade, right?

  5. Avatar

    panderse

    Odd, I don't see the Wireless Display feature listed when going to the optional features UI. I'm on build 19042.487 from the Beta Channel and running an enterprise version. I wonder if our IT admins need to add this feature to their WSUS configuration for this to show up? I've seen similar stuff for some of the language settings that were also moved to optional features and which I couldn't then install on my work PC.

    • Avatar

      philbypond

      In reply to panderse:

      I'm not seeing it either and I'm on WIndows 10 pro 2004 Build 19041.450. The settings page for Projecting to this PC has the link to optional features, but Wireless Display is not there. I have added other optional features like Sandbox without issue. Anyone have advice?

  6. Avatar

    datameister

    Why can't we get a 60 GHz wireless interface (display/mouse/keyboard) built into all monitors so we can sit a phone or tablet down in front of such a monitor/mouse/keyboard system, press the obvious pairing button, and then use the big screen desktop configuration with the processing system in the portable device. Walk away more than 15 ft and it unpairs automatically.

  7. Avatar

    skipper

    I hope they don't get rid of it, I use it on my Surface pro to project to another Surface pro, to use as a second screen when working away from home...........back in the day

  8. Avatar

    swiftress

    At least it's not yet another projection onto WinRT. That's a developer joke. I'll show myself out.

  9. Avatar

    remc86007

    Why make this optional? Was Microsoft paying licensing for it?

  10. Avatar

    jgraebner

    I'd forgotten it even had that feature. Just tried it with DeX and it works okay, but since it doesn't let you use the PC's keyboard/mouse it's definitely pretty hard to use. The phone can be used as a touchpad and the phone's on-screen keyboard does pop up when needed, but that is rather awkward. I'd love it if it offered a wireless experience that was more like the wired DeX to PC, where the PC's keyboard, mouse/touchpad, and even the touchscreen work.

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