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Important and Useful Windows Applications You Didn’t Know You Already Had: Microsoft Management Consoles

I have the impression that Microsoft doesn’t really trust the average PC user. Windows tucks away a lot of system tools in obscure places. These tools aren’t listed in the All Programs menu and you have to hunt them down in Control Panel or already know about them before you can find them. Among these are a group of system applications called "Microsoft Management Consoles" (MMC).  Depending on your system, there are around two to three dozen of these utilities. They are present in Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Being system tools, they require administrator privileges to run.

MMC consoles have the extension .msc and can be run by entering the console file name in a command prompt or the Run line. In Windows Vista/7, the name can also be entered in the Search box. The extension .msc is required. You can find a list and description of many of them at this link.

In this tip, I will point out the MMC that I consider the most useful for general use. It is called the Computer Management Console and contains most of the system tools that an average PC owner might use. A feature of management consoles is that they can  combine a variety of  system tools in one interface and this one contains a number of useful MMCs in a single package. It is accessed by entering “compmgmt.msc” (without quotes) in either the Run, Command, or Search box. The figure below shows the interface from Windows 7 or Vista but is very similar to the one in XP.

Computer management console in Windows

You can see from the figure that some commonly used utilities and functions are listed. For example, Device Manager, Disk Management, and the Services Console can be accessed here. More details about how to use these tools are given in the following references. These tools can also be opened as individual consoles and the file name to enter is listed.

There you have it—an easy way to access some handy system tools.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs a Windows blog called The PC Informant and also operates a computer education website.

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Comments

by gruff on 4. February 2011 - 22:07  (65857)

I've a question about Disk Management via Compmgmt.msc. I've a drive C: which is solely for the OS. I've a 500GB drive E: which I've partitioned into Drive E: (320GB) and Drive F: (75GB). I used the latter for backups of Drive C:

However, I've switched to using external hard drives for backups and wish to recover the space on the no longer used Drive F: I activated Compmgmt.msc and clicked on Disk Management. A window came up showing Drive C:, E: and F:. I right clicked on F: and chose "Delete Partition" which worked fine.

Except that the space is still being held captive even though there is no longer a drive F: The free space has not been added back to Drive E:

So I went back into Disk Management and reinstalled Partition F:. Now it is as before, but I'd still like to reclaim that space back onto Drive E: so it has a total of 465GB (on an original 500GB drive).

Anyone know what to do???

Thanks.

by FinnKR on 29. December 2010 - 13:01  (63462)

Anyone of you guys having any experience with WSSC - Windows System Control Center?
http://www.kls-soft.com/wscc/index.php

by CJ (not verified) on 23. December 2010 - 23:25  (63163)

Another easy way is to use 'Windows Utilities Launcher' a Free utility that does all of this as a tray icon and so much more. Works well with XP/Vista/7 both x32 and x64.

Windows Utilities Launcher 1.1 can be found at:
http://shraone.deviantart.com/art/Windows-Utilities-Launcher-1-1-137506759

by McCripple (not verified) on 23. December 2010 - 16:14  (63143)

Right click on 'My Computer' & Select "Manage" gets my Vote...

by Rosw W (not verified) on 23. December 2010 - 15:51  (63140)

Find CompMgmtLauncer.exe with a search tool. I use EVERYTHING
In Win7
Right click on the CompMgmtLaucher.exe and use Pin To Start Menu
This puts the shortcut in the top section which drag and drop can be used to arrange alphabetically

This quick access to CompMgmt group was the one thing I missed going from Xp to Win7.

Rose

by JEB (not verified) on 23. December 2010 - 13:30  (63131)

Simple: CREATE SHORTCUTS to these apps!!!

by ChronicChaos on 22. December 2010 - 23:51  (63096)

Why not just enable GodMode and have control over everything from one place?

Link --->> http://bit.ly/5tx18c

by v.laurie on 23. December 2010 - 1:42  (63101)

First of all, there is no "God mode" in Windows XP and large numbers of people who read this site still use XP. The tip given here is applicable to all versions of Windows from XP to 7.

Actually, the so-called "God mode" is nothing more than a long list of Control Panel entries. Personally, I don't find scrolling through a long list to be that helpful. I suppose that if you don't know much about things, looking at the list may help you discover stuff. I do not myself find the list all that useful. Let me quote well-known Windows expert Ed Bott (http://www.edbott.com/weblog/2010/01/that-god-mode-explorer-trick-does-l...):

"So, bottom line, is this tweak useful? I guess if you like lists, it might be. But you can already find every item on this list by simply typing a keyword in the search box on the Start menu or in Control Panel, which strikes me as being much easier."

by ChronicChaos on 23. December 2010 - 3:12  (63104)

LOL....whatever you gotta tell yourself. Personally, I like getting the job done quickly. Not clicking through a half dozen tabs just to get to the task I'm looking for. And I'm sure you're not implying that you have every keyword memorized. You'll lose every speck of credibility otherwise. Just as I'm sure you know offering up a quote is easily countered by an equally authoritative quote. Anyhow, wasn't trying to step on your toes. Just offering up another possibility to the masses. After all, isn't that what the internet is all about....possibilities and choices? Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

by IronPlatypus on 25. January 2011 - 18:58  (65183)

I tried God Mode before. I never found it useful and I deleted it. If you can type moderately fast and can memorize a handful of keywords - not every keyword, just the ones you use - the keyboard definitely gets the job done the quickest. Windows key + R, type the keyword, hit enter, done in under 2 seconds (depending on your adeptness). But it really is just personal preference - everyone should use the method that works best for them, even if it isn't the quickest. =P

by J_L on 21. December 2010 - 22:00  (63057)

Easiest way to access this is by right-clicking Computer (or My Computer) and selecting Manage.

by Jorpho (not verified) on 23. December 2010 - 16:13  (63142)

The second easiest way is through Administrative Tools in the Control Panel.

Suggesting that the best way to invoke this tool is through a mysterious Run command is a little disingenuous, I think.

by Raul R (not verified) on 22. December 2010 - 1:31  (63065)

Nice tip (and shortcut)

by v.laurie on 21. December 2010 - 22:14  (63058)

@J.L.-that only works for the one console, Computer Management. However, I wanted to show the general way to open MMCs. But thanks for the comment.