Microsoft Management Console
By Jesse Franklin
The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a fully customizable utility that comes built into Windows XP. The MMC allows a user to do many administrative and maintenance tasks easily. You can access this utility by typing MMC in the command line. Click START, and then click RUN. There, you will type the letters MMC.
Some of the common tools that use the MMC interface are Disk Defragmenter, Event Viewer, and Shared Folders. In this article I will discuss using the MMC interface. One advanced tool that I think is worth the extra effort in explaining is Local Users and Groups.
Each tool that I mentioned already is actually called a 'snap-in'. You can add a snap-in to the MMC Console by clicking File, Add/Remove snap-in., and then click Add. A box will appear with a list of snap-ins. Find the ones you want to use and add them individually by selecting each one and and clicking Add. When you have all the snap-ins you want, click Close. Also, click OK on the Add/Remove snap-in box. Now you will see your list of snap-ins in the MMC Console.
Saving your MMC Console
By default, the MMC Console you create is called Console 1 and is saved in Administrative Tools located by clicking Start, Programs. You have the option of saving the console and changing the name when you close the MMC. A good place to save the console if you will use it often is right on the desktop. Be careful with this because it can now be accessed and changed easily. Remember that you can prevent a console from being changed.
Limiting Access to Your MMC Console
As the administrator of your system, you might want to limit access to the custom console that you create so that it cannot be modified. Each console uses Author Mode by default. As long as you are in Author Mode you will be able to lower the access level of the final version of your custom console.
To limit access to your console you will have to first log onto your PC using an account that has administrative privileges. If you are using a 'guest' account, chances are you do not have administrative privileges. From the MMC console you will want to click File, then Options. In the Options window you can change the console name, icon, and console mode. Click the arrow next to the dropdown list next to 'Console Mode' and chose the setting that says 'User Mode Limited Access'. Chose either Single or Multiple window it doesn't really matter which one you chose. It's your decision on how you will want the console to be accessed from now on.
The difference between Limited Access Single Window and Limited Access Multiple Window is that you will have a Window button at the top of a multiple window console. You can change the way the different add-ins are displayed when you click the Window button. User Mode Full Access gives a user full access to the console, but does not let the user add or remove snap-ins.
Do not worry about a console that you restricted access to. If you want to add or remove a snap-in later you can always make a new customized console. You can have as many consoles as you need for many different tasks you may need to perform. I use one console for monitoring system performance and another one for managing users and groups. I keep both of these consoles on my desktop for easy and quick access.
What will you use the MMC for? I guarantee that after using MMC you will not want to use XP the old fashioned way. There is so much more to the MMC that I didn't even mention. You can spend hours a day fine tuning and perfecting the performance of your system. Please be careful. I want to encourage the average user to step out on a limb here, but don't do the boogie dance just yet. There are plenty of tutorials and web pages dedicated to the anxious new users of Windows XP. Good luck with your adventures!
Article last reviewed: 03/24/2004