The Windows Learning Center

Windows 7 System Tools: Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

Summary

A description is given of how to find and use Management Consoles for Microsoft Windows 7 network and system maintenance.

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
Empty MMC console

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
Adding snap-ins to MMC

Existing consoles

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.

Table I. Management consoles in Windows 7
(* indicates not present in Home Premium)
File Name
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.mscĀ  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*
services.msc Services 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.

Table II. Most Useful Consoles for Average Users
Name 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
Services Manages services
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
Windows 7 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.