How to configure the Windows 7 Microsoft Management Console

This article is excerpted from the book "Microsoft Windows 7 Unleashed" by Paul McFedries, published by SAMS, copyright Pearson Education Inc. all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

There are two essential rules to management. One, the customer is always right; and two, they must be punished for their arrogance.

—Scott Adams

The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a system administration program that can act as a host application for a variety of tools. The advantage of MMC is that it displays each tool as a console, a two-pane view that has a tree-like hierarchy in the left pane (this is called the tree pane) and a taskpad in the right pane that shows the contents of each branch (this is called the results pane). This gives each tool a similar interface, which makes it easier to use the tools. You can also customize the console view in a number of ways, create custom taskpad views and save a particular set of tools to reuse later. These tools are called snap-ins because you can "snap them in" (that is, attach them) as nodes to the console root.

This article gives you an overview of the MMC and shows you a few techniques for getting the most out of its often-useful tools.

Reviewing the Windows 7 Snap-Ins

When you work with the MMC interface, what you're really doing is editing a Microsoft Common Console Document, a .msc file that stores one or more snap-ins, the console view and the taskpad view used by each snap-in branch. You learn how to create custom MSC files in this chapter, but you should know that Windows 7 comes with a large number of predefined MSC snap-ins, and I've summarized them in the table below.

Launching the MMC

To get the MMC onscreen, you have two choices:

To start with a blank console, select Start, type mmc, and then press Enter. To start with an existing snap-in, select Start, type the name of the .msc file you want to load (see table), and then press Enter. Next page: Adding a snap-on.

Default Windows 7 Snap-Ins

Snap-In File Description
Active X Control N/A Launches the Insert ActiveX Control Wizard, which enables you to choose an ActiveX control to display as a node. I haven't been able to find a good use for this one yet!
Authorization Manager azman.msc Used by developers to set permissions on applications.
Certificates certmgr.msc Enables you to browse the security certificates on your system.
Component Services comexp.msc Enables you to view and work with Component Object Model (COM) services.
Computer Management compmgmt.msc Contains a number of snap-ins for managing various aspects of Windows 7. You can examine hidden and visible shared folders, set group policies, access Device Manager, manage hard disks, and much more.
Device Manager devmgmt.msc Enables you to add and manage your system hardware.
Disk Management diskmgmt.msc Enables you to view and manage all the disk drives on your system.
Event Viewer eventvwr.msc Enables you to view the Windows 7 event logs.
Folder N/A Enables you to add a folder node to the root to help you organize your nodes.
Group Policy
Object Editor gpedit.msc Enables you to work with group policies.
IP Security Monitor N/A Enables you to monitor Internet Protocol (IP) security settings.
IP Security Policy Management N/A Enables you to create IP Security (IPSec) policies.
Link to Web Address N/A Adds a node that displays the contents of a specified web page.
Local Users and Groups lusrmgr.msc Enables you to add, modify, and delete user accounts.
NAP Client Configuration napclcfg.msc Enables you to configure Network Access Protection (NAP) for a computer.
Performance Monitor perfmon.msc Enables you to monitor one or more performance counters. See Chapter 6, "Tuning Windows 7's Performance."
Print Management printmanagement.msc Enables you to view and manage either local printers or network print servers.
Resultant Set of Policy rsop.msc Shows the applied group policies for the current user.
Security Configuration and Analysis N/A Enables you to open an existing security database, or build a new security database based on a security template you create using the Security Templates snap-in.
Security Templates N/A Enables you to create a security template where you enable and configure one or more security-related policies.
Services services.msc Enables you to start, stop, enable, and disable services.
Shared Folders fsmgmt.msc Enables you to monitor activity on your shared folders.
Task Scheduler taskschd.msc Enables you to schedule programs, scripts, and other items to run on a schedule.
TPM Management tpm.msc Enables you to configure a work with Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security devices.
Windows Firewall with Advanced Security wf.msc Presents an advanced Windows Firewall interface.
WMI Control wmimgmt.msc Enables you to configure properties related to Windows Management Instrumentation.
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