Microsoft Management Console in Vista

Before you start

Objectives: learn where to find and how to use MMC in Vista

Prerequisites: you have to know what is MMC in general.

Key terms: computer management, snap-in, console, mmc, service, monitor


We can open MMC by going to the Start Menu and typing in ‘mmc’ in the search menu.

Empty MMC

Image 198.1 – Empty MMC

This way we will open a blank MMC. To work with our computer we need to add snap-ins. To do that we can go to the File menu and then select Add/Remove Snap-ins.


Image 198.2 – Snap-ins

Snap-ins are programs that we can add to the Management Console to manage a part of our computer. For example, we can addComputer Management. To do that select Computer Management and click Add. After that we need to specify whether we want to see events on this computer or remote computer.

Local or Remote Computer

Image 198.3 – Local or Remote Computer

In our case we will select Local computer and click Finish. Let’s also add Disk Management and Local Users and Groups.

Selected Snap-ins

Image 198.4 – Selected Snap-ins

When we are finished adding snap-ins we can click the OK button. The selected snap-ins will appears inside the Management Console.


Image 198.5 – Console1

There are three different parts of the Management Console. The left side shows us a tree view of the different snap-ins and option within each snap-in. By expanding any snap-in we can see options that we can configure in that snap-in. In our example we clicked on the Disk Management snap-in.

Disk Management

Image 198.6 – Disk Management Snap-in

Notice how the middle pane changed based on what we selected on the left hand side. Let’s take a look at another example, Local Users and Groups. When we select an object in the middle the Actions pane on the right changes to show the types of tasks that we can perform for that specific object.

Local Users and Groups

Image 198.7 – Local Users and Groups

We could save this console as a preset console by going to the File menu and then selecting Save As. That way when we open it again we would have these same snap-ins already added.

Computer Management Console

In many cases we will probably use predefined consoles that ship with Windows. One common one is Computer Management. To open Computer Management, right-click Computer, and choose Manage. This opens the Computer Management pre built MMC Console.

Computer Management

Image 198.8 – Computer Management Console

This console has several snap-ins that have already been added to it. For example, Event Viewer shows us events that have taken place on our computer. We can Use Event Viewer to view logs about programs, system events, and security. Each entry can be listed as a warning, error, or information event. There are three groups of logs in the Event Viewer. The Application log contains events such as application installations, un-installations, and application errors. The System log contains a list of events such as system modifications, malfunctions, and errors. The Security log contains a list of events such as security modifications and user login events. If we browse to the Windows Log and then go to Application, we can see a list of events that have occurred on the system related to the applications. Also, if we select an event we can see more information about what it was.


Image 198.9 – Events

If we have a problem with our PC, it is a good idea to check system related events in Event Viewer and look for errors. Another snap-in that is included in Computer Management is Device Manager. In Device Manager we can see a list of devices within our computer, organized by type.

Device Manager

Image 198.10 – Device Manager

By right clicking on a device and going to it’s properties, we can see additional information about that device and we can manage the details of how it operates. We can use the Device Manager to add, remove, or update device drivers for hardware, to enable or disable devices and to view properties of devices. Another predefined snap-in is Reliability and Performance Monitor.

Reliability and Performance Monitor

Image 198.11 – Reliability and Performance Monitor

Here we can see the statistics about how our computer is working. We can see the CPU utilization percentage, disk use, network usage and memory information. A counter identifies a specific statistic, such as % Processor Time or % Disk Free Space. We can add or remove counters to customize the statistics you can see. Real-time data are displayed in a graph. To save statistics we have to use use a data collector set, since Performance Monitor does not save any data by itself. Under Reliability Monitor we can see a historical data about our computer. Reliability Monitor shows an historical chart that identifies when software installs/uninstalls and failures have occurred. By clicking on a day, you can view the changes to the system that have affected its stability. Here we can also see our system stability index that ranges from 1 to 10 (10 being the most stable). The stability rating is affected by application, hardware, Windows, and other failures.

Reliability Monitor

Image 198.12 – Reliability Monitor

Another snap-in that’s within Computer Management is a Services snap-in.


Image 198.13 – Services

A service is a program that runs in the background that provides some kind of functionality for the system. For example, a DHCP service enables us to register and update IP addresses. By looking at the services we can see the status of these various services. In our case the DHCP service is started and the Startup type is Automatic.

DHCP Service

Image 198.14 – DHCP Service

In this window we can also stop a service that is already running. In most cases we need to be careful that we do not stop services that are required for the system.


We can open empty MMC and add snap-ins to it, or we can use predefined Management Consoles which already have default snap-ins added to it. Predefined consoles provides most of the functions that we will need to work with when we are troubleshooting and managing our computer.