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Windows 7: All About the Snap-Ins

The Microsoft Management Console 3.0 gives you a full range of options for managing Windows through an extensive list of snap-ins.

Jorge Orchilles

Adapted from “Microsoft Windows 7 Administrator’s Reference” (Syngress, an imprint of Elsevier)

Microsoft has based most of its management applications on the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). The MMC provides a framework for building management consoles. Microsoft and many third-party application vendors have used this framework for creating their management consoles.

The MMC uses snap-ins for system and application management. Windows 7 comes with many built-in MMC snap-ins you can use to manage the system. You can use them to manage user settings, Windows applications, security, and many other vital aspects of the system.

Windows 7 contains the following built-in MMC snap-ins:

  • ActiveX Control – You can add individual ActiveX controls to view and configure. These Internet Explorer plug-ins add functionality to the browser.
  • Authorization Manager – You can set permissions for Authorization Manager-enabled applications.
  • Certificates – You can configure different certificate stores available on the system. Certificates help provide a secure operating environment. You can use them for identification, securing data and securing communications. There are certificate stores for users, applications, and the system itself.
  • Component Services – You can manage the system’s COM+, or Component Services configuration. You can also configure Distributed Computer Object Model (DCOM) and Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) settings. These are especially important when programs need to communicate between multiple computers.
  • Computer Management – This is actually a collection of snap-ins used for task scheduling, disk management, performance monitoring, and many other configuration and management tasks.
  • Device Manager – This is for viewing and configuring hardware installed on the system. You can disable devices, update drivers and troubleshoot potential issues.
  • Disk Management – This is for disk and volume management. You can create volumes, format disks and enable fault tolerance.
  • Event Viewer – This is for viewing system event logs that help you determine if your system or applications are having problems. You can also use the Security log to determine if there has been unauthorized access.
  • Folder – This is to add a folder for organizing your snap-ins, which comes in handy if you’ve added numerous snap-ins to a single MMC console.
  • Group Policy Object Editor – This lets you configure the Group Policy Objects on the system.
  • IP Security Monitor – This helps you monitor the status of your IP Security (IPsec) configuration, which secures communication between computers.
  • IP Security Policy Management – This helps you understand and configure the settings in your IPsec policy.
  • Link to Web Address – This lets you add a Web page to the MMC, which can be useful for applications and systems with Web-based management.
  • Local Users and Groups – This lets you configure users and groups on the local system, add user accounts, delete user accounts and configure various user properties.
  • NAP Client Configuration – This lets you configure Network Access Protection (NAP) client configuration settings.
  • Performance Monitor – This lets you monitor your system performance, including memory, hard disks, processors and a number of other components.
  • Print Management – This helps you manage print servers and printers connected to the system.
  • Resultant Set of Policy – This shows you what settings will be applied by your Group Policy settings, without actually applying them to the system.
  • Security Configuration and Analysis – This analyzes your configuration and security templates.
  • Security Templates – This lets you edit the security templates you applied to your system.
  • Services – This lets you view and configure properties for services running on the system. You can disable, start, stop or restart services; configure authentication and fault tolerance.
  • Shared Folders – This lets you view properties and status information for file shares. You can see what folders are being shared and who’s accessing them.
  • Task Scheduler – This lets you schedule tasks to be automatically run at specified times or at specified intervals.
  • TPM Management – This lets you configure the Trusted Platform Module, which generates keys for cryptographic operations.
  • Windows Firewall with Advanced Security – This lets you configure Windows Firewall settings to control what processes, applications, and systems can access your system or generate network traffic from your system.
  • WMI Control – This lets you configure and manage the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) service, for managing and monitoring Windows systems.

Add Snap-Ins

To add snap-ins to an MMC console, take the following steps:

  1. Run the command MMC.exe from a command prompt or from the Windows 7 Search bar.
  2. If prompted by UAC to allow the MMC to make changes to the computer, click Yes. This should bring up a blank MMC console.
  3. From the File menu, select Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. From the Add or Remove Snap-ins window, choose the snap-in you want to add. Click Add. Depending on the snap-in you add, you may be prompted for additional information.
  5. After you’ve added all of your snap-ins, click OK. Your snap-ins should now appear in the MMC.

The MMC can be very flexible. You can add whatever snap-ins you want into a blank MMC console. You can also modify one of the predefined management tools that use the MMC.

Jorge Orchilles

Jorge Orchilles began his networking career as a network administrator for the small private school he attended. He’s currently a security operating center analyst, and recently completed his master’s in  management information systems at Florida International University.

©2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Printed with permission from Syngress, an imprint of Elsevier. Copyright 2011. “Microsoft Windows 7 Administrator’s Reference” by Jorge Orchilles. For more information on this title and other similar books, please visit elsevierdirect.com.

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