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Understanding Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) hosts administrative tools that you can use to maintain networks, computers, services, and other system components.

The MMC administrative tools (called MMC Consoles) manage the hardware, software, and network components in the Windows system. MMC is a feature of the Windows 2000 operating system, and it can be used on Windows NT, Windows 95, and Windows 98 operating systems. In addition, MMC functions are used in conjunction with several software applications designed to run in the Windows environment.

MMC does not perform administrative functions, but hosts tools that do. The primary type of tool you can add to a console is called a snap-in. Other items that you can add include:

  • ActiveX controls
  • Links to Web pages and folders
  • Links to the Windows Task Manager, views, and tasks

In general, there are two ways to use MMC:

  1. Author Mode - Creating consoles by modifying existing MMC Consoles or writing new ones
  2. User Mode - Administration with existing MMC Consoles

For more information about the differences between user and author mode, see MMC Console Access Options.

The MMC Window

If your current operating system has MMC Console functions available, they are located on the Start Button - Programs menu or in the Administrative Tools folder in Control Panel. To open MMC, click Start, click Run, and then type mmc and press [Enter].

An MMC window appears divided into two panes. The left pane contains two tabs labeled Tree and Favorites. The Tree tab, also called the console tree, displays the items that are available in a given console. The right pane is called the details pane. It shows details about - and command functions pertaining to - items selected in the console tree. The details pane can display many types of information including Web pages, graphics, charts, tables, and columns.

At the top of each MMC window is a command menu bar for opening or creating new MMC Consoles. Click the New Console icon or click Console - New from the command menu.

When a new MMC window is opened, it displays command toolbar and drop-down menus, similar to, but separate from those of the main MMC window. In addition, there is a status bar at the bottom of the window and a description bar along the top of the details pane.

In the console window, you can assemble and configure a new console and then work with the tools in the console. After items are added to a console, you can hide any of the tool bars to prevent users from making unnecessary changes to the console.

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