Microsoft Management Console (MMC) in Windows XP

Before you start

Objectives: learn about available pre-configured consoles, how to open and use pre-configured and also how to create custom Microsoft Management Consoles.

Prerequisites: you have to know what is Microsoft Management Console.

Key terms: microsoft management console, mmc, pre-configured console, computer management console, custom console


Pre-configured Console

Computer Management Console

Let’s take a look at pre-configured MMC that ships with our Windows XP. Go to Administrative tools (in Control Panel, or your Start Menu or All Programs menu if you have created shortcut), and click on the Computer Management. The following window opens:

Computer Management MMC

Image 118.1 – Computer Management MMC

Icons on the left group individual tasks. Each icon is a Snap-in that lets us work with related configuration values. For example,Event Viewer is a snap-in that we can use to view system messages. Disk Management is another snap-in that we can use to manage disks and volumes. When we select a snap-in from the left, panel on the right changes to show us actions that we can perform with that snap-in.

Event Viewer Snap-in

Image 118.2 – Event Viewer Snap-in

Pre-configured Consoles

Windows XP ships with a bunch of pre-configured consoles. We can launch them using Run menu (type in the name of the console and click OK). Available pre-configured consoles are:

  • Certificates – certmgr.msc
  • Component Services – comexp.msc
  • Computer Management – compmgmt.msc
  • Device Manager – devmgmt.msc
  • Disk Defragmenter – dfrg.msc
  • Disk Management – diskmgmt.msc
  • Event Viewer – eventvwr.msc
  • Group Policy – gpedit.msc
  • Indexing Service – ciadv.msc
  • Local Security Settings – secpol.msc
  • Local Users and Groups – lusrmgr.msc
  • Performance – perfmon.msc
  • Removable Storage – ntmsmgr.msc
  • Removable Storage Operator Requests – ntmsoprq.msc
  • Resultant Set of Policy – rsop.msc
  • Services – services.msc
  • Shared Folders – fsmgmt.msc
  • Windows Management Infrastructure (WMI) – wmimgmt.msc

The majority of the pre-configured XP consoles are set to work on the local machine by default, but if we have the appropriate permissions, consoles can be used to administer remote computers. We can right-click on Snap-in and select Connect (not every Snap-in supports this), and enter the name of the remote computer we want to manage (or select Browse if we don’t know the name).

Custom Console

We can create our own consoles containing the snap-ins that we use the most. To do that, first we need to open MMC shell. Go toStart Menu, and then click on Run. In Run dialog, type in mmc and click OK.

Run dialog

Image 118.3 – Run dialog

The following window will open:

Empty MMC Console

Image 118.4 – Empty MMC Console

Notice that this MMC is blank. It only contains Console Root object which we can rename as we like. Just right-click it and click Rename. We can now add snap-ins. To do that, we must go to the File menu and click on Add/Remove Snap-in, and then clickAdd… New window opens and now we can select which Snap-ins we want to see in our MMC (we can select multiple Snap-ins). After we are done selecting, we click on Close, and OK.

Adding MMC Snap-in

Image 118.5 – Adding MMC Snap-in

In our example we have added Performance Logs and Alerts snap-in. Our console now looks like this:

Custom MMC

Image 118.6 – Custom MMC

To save this Snap-in, go to the File menu, and select Save. Notice the folder in which the new Snap-in will be saved (it’s Administrative Tools). Write the name of your console, and click Save. Microsoft Management Consoles use the extension .mscwhich stands for Microsoft Common Console Document (MCCD). By default, files which use the .msc extension open with the application Microsoft Management Console (MMC). If we go back to Administrative tools in Control Panel, notice that we don’t see our newly created console. But, if we create shortcut to Administrative Tools in our All Programs menu, we will see our custom Snap-in in Administrative Tools there.

Remember

Windows XP ships with a bunch of pre-configured consoles. We can launch them using Run menu (type in the name of the console and click OK). We can create our own consoles containing the snap-ins that we use the most. To do that, first we need to open MMC shell. Microsoft Management Consoles use the extension .msc which stands for Microsoft Common Console Document (MCCD).

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