Windows 7 System Tools: Microsoft Management Console (MMC)
The MMC interface
Windows 7 comes with many tools for administering and managing computer systems and networks. Many of them are presented in a format called a Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Although there are various ways to access these tools individually, the MMC format allows you to combine a selection of tools into one interface. This provides for a customized system management console tailored to suit an individual's particular needs.
Use of the term MMC in the literature is not always consistent. MMC is sometimes applied to individual system tools and sometimes to the container that acts as the host for combining individual tool modules (also called snap-ins) into a master interface with all your favorite tools.
To configure your own set of system tools, open an empty console by entering "mmc" (without quotes) in the Start search bar, in the Start-Run line, or in a command prompt. You may need to grant administrator privileges. The window shown in Figure 1 will open.
Figure 1. Basic MMC container before snap-ins are added
To add or remove snap-ins from MMC, open the "File" menu and select "Add/Remove Snap-in..." This will open the dialog shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Dialog to add or remove snap-ins
There are a number of preconfigured consoles or system tools. These are listed in Table I. They can be opened by entering the file listed in the table in the Start search bar, the Start-Run line, or the command prompt. The file extension "msc" must be included.
|azman.msc||Authorization Stores Manager Console|
|certmgr.msc||Certificates Manager Console|
|comexp.msc||Component Services Console|
|compmgmt.msc||Computer Management Console|
|devmgmt.msc||Device Manager Console|
|diskmgmt.msc||Disk Management Console|
|eventvwr.msc||Event Viewer Console|
|fsmgmt.msc||Shared Folders Management Console|
|gpedit.msc||Group Policy Editor Console*|
|lusrmgr.msc||Local Users and Groups Console|
|napclcfg.msc||NAP Client Configuration Console|
|perfmon.msc||Performance Monitor Console|
|printmanagement.msc||Print Management Console*|
|rsop.msc||Resultant Set of Policy|
|secpol.msc||Security Policy Management Console*|
|taskschd.msc||Task Scheduler Console|
|tpm.msc||Trusted Platform Module|
|wf.msc||Windows Firewall Management Console|
|wmimgmt.msc||Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Console|
Some of the consoles are specialized and of more interest to systems administrators than for typical usage. Those consoles that are of the most interest to average PC users are shown in Table II with a brief description of their function.
|Computer Management||Combines the Task Scheduler, Event Viewer, Shared Folders, Local Users And Groups, Reliability And Performance Monitor, Device Manager, Disk Management, Services, and WMI Control snap-ins, providing control over a wide range of computer tasks.|
|Device Manager||Enables administration of all attached hardware devices and their drivers.|
|Event Viewer||Used to display a variety of logged information.|
|Performance Monitor||Provides many details of system performance|
|Task Scheduler||Manages tasks that run automatically|
|Windows Firewall With Advanced Security||Configures rules and makes other firewall settings|
The computer management console (compmgmt.msc)
A console with a number of snap-ins already configured exists and is called the computer management console. It is likely to be the most useful console for average PC users. It can be opened by entering "compmgmt.msc" in the Start search bar or by several other paths. For example, it can be reached by right-clicking Computer in the Start menu and choosing "Manage' from the context menu that opens.
Figure 3 shows this console with the Task Scheduler selected. As the left column in the figure shows, the console contains a number of useful system tools, including Event Viewer, Performance Monitor, Device Manager, Disk Management, and Services.
Figure 3. Computer management console
Microsoft Management Console in Windows XP
The functions of the management consoles in Windows XP are similar and are discussed in a related article.