Configuring Microsoft Management Console in Windows 7

Using the Microsoft Management Console in Win 7 has certain benefits, including error notifications and help with administrative tasks.

The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a mainstay on Windows platforms, providing a single interface through

which solutions providers can perform administrative tasks related to computers, users, networks, services and other systems components. It's a graphical user interface-based component in Windows 7 that accommodates administrative tools called snap-ins. Using MMC, solutions providers can create custom consoles with snap-ins and share them with other users via email, over a network or by posting them to the Internet.

More resources on Windows 7 monitoring tools:
Microsoft Management Console Remote Server Administration Tools

Windows 7 performance monitoring tools

Windows 7 troubleshooting tools and tips

Windows 7 features include management tools for administrators

Microsoft Management Console 3.0 has a new Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box that simplifies adding, organizing and removing snap-ins and extensions. It also improves error handling by notifying solutions providers of snap-ins that can potentially cause MMC failure and gives various options for responding to such errors.

Creating consoles in MMC

MMC lets solutions providers create more flexible user interfaces and custom tools that unify administrative processes and simplify daily management tasks. The tools consist of one or more applications built upon the modularized snap-in framework.

To create a new console:

  1. Open the Start menu, type mmc in the Search box and click mmc in the resulting Programs list. The MMC console opens an empty set of window panes by default; there is no management functionality until you add a snap-in.
  2. Note: If you're logged on as a standard user, right-click mmc in the resulting Programs list and select Run as administrator.

  3. Select File > Add/Remove Snap-in (or press CTRL+M).
  4. In the Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box, select a snap-in from the list and click Add. Let's choose Computer Management as an example. The Computer Management snap-in dialog box appears with three options:
    • Local computer
    • Another computer
    • Allow the selected computer to be changed when launching from the command line

  5. Ensure the Local computer radio button is selected, and check the Allow the selected computer to be changed when launching from the command line check box. Click Finish. A new entry for Computer Management appears in the Selected snap-ins list.

Here's how to choose which extensions (additional utilities) appear in a snap-in:

  1. In the Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box, select the Computer Management (Local) snap-in and click Edit Extensions. In the Extensions for Computer Management dialog box, select one of the following options:
    • Always enable all available extensions: Select this option to include currently available extensions and extensions that are to be installed in the future.
    • Enable only selected extensions: This option selects individual extensions to appear in the snap-in. The extensions for the Computer Management snap-in include Device Manager, Disk Management, Event Viewer and many more.

  2. Click OK to save your changes, and then click OK again to close the Add or Remove Snap-ins dialog box. The Console Root pane in the MMC now contains a Computer Management node (entry). You can expand the node to view the available snap-in extensions.

Customizing the snap-ins display

Once you create a snap-in, you may configure how it appears within the console. The process for creating custom views is much simpler in MMC 3.0 than in previous versions:

  1. In the left pane, select System Tools under Computer Management.
  2. In the Actions pane on the right, click More Actions. A fly-out context menu appears with a number of configurable options, such as Connect to another computer, All Tasks, View and so on.
  3. Select View, and then select one of the four available options: Large Icons, Small Icons, List or Detail. You can also select Customize to enable and disable check boxes and selectively show or hide items from the console window.

Creating console taskpads

When creating consoles for other users, it's sometimes helpful to provide a simplified (restricted) view containing only a few available tasks. You can create this view through console taskpads. From the Actions pane, select More Actions, and then choose New Taskpad View. The New Taskpad View Wizard starts and walks you through a few self-explanatory screens that let you select taskpad styles. You can also choose whether you want to hide the Standard tab and how to display descriptions (as text or in pop-up windows).

Setting console file options

Along with restrictive taskpad views, you can limit the ability of other users to customize the console file as follows:

  1. In the MMC window, select File > Options.
  2. In the Options dialog box, under Console mode, choose User mode -- limited access, single window. Two check boxes become available. Select the first one to prevent users from adding to or changing snap-ins in the console. The second option, selected by default, allows users to customize views.
  3. Change the console name at the top of the dialog box, if desired, and click OK.
  4. Select File > Save to save the console file. Your changes will take effect when the console file is reopened.

This was first published in November 2009

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