The Microsoft Management Console – CompTIA A+ 220-1102 – 1.3

The Microsoft Management Console provides customizable access to administrative utilities. In this video, you’ll learn about Event Viewer, Disk Management, Task Scheduler, Device Manager, and more.

Throughout this course, you’ll learn of many different utilities that can be used to manage a maintain your version of Windows, but there’s one utility you can use to bring all of these different tools together under one screen. This is the Microsoft Management Console, and this is the one console that you can use to add many different utilities so that everything is in one single window.

To start the Management Console, you can of course search through Windows for the Microsoft Management Console or simply start mmc.exe. This will bring up this empty window where no utilities will be listed. It’s up to you to then add the different screens that you would like to see within this console, and if you populate the console, you can have all of these different utilities all running in the same user interface.

So instead of launching a lot of different tools, you can create a customized version of the Management Console that contains just the tools that you need to use for your job. Here’s my Windows 11 desktop. Let’s go to our search and type in mmc, and this will bring up an mmc run command. If we click on that, this asks me if I would like to allow this app to make changes to my device, and it specifies the Microsoft Management Console.

Because this is a management front-end, you can make dramatic changes to the Windows operating system. So this is telling me that there is a warning that you need to consider when using this app. In our cases, we do want to use the Management Console, so I’ll click, yes. And you can see there is an empty window with nothing added inside of it. To be able to take advantage of the Management Console, we need to start adding what Microsoft calls snap-ins into the console front end.

You would find those snap-ins under the file pull down menu, and choose the option to add or remove a snap-in. This will give us a list of snap-ins, and it will show us which ones we currently have selected in our Management Console. So we could choose a snap-in like device manager, click the add button, and it will be added to our Microsoft Management Console. If we click OK, you can see that we have a device manager that is now available inside of this Management Console, and we can start adding other snap-ins to complete this entire management front end.

One of the utilities you probably would like to add first into the Management Console is the Microsoft Event Viewer. This is centralized logging for the Windows operating system, and it contains extensive information about your system, applications, and the overall running of your OS. This provides information across categories for applications, security, set up, and system.

And within those different categories, you have different levels for each event. The event might be information, warning, error, critical, successful audit, or failure audit. This allows you to begin searching through the logs to find specific information about the operation of the operating system itself or a specific application. If you’d like to run this on its own outside of the Management Console, you can simply run eventvwr.msc.

If you’ve installed or modified a drive that’s on your Windows system, then you’ve probably used the disk management utility. This is also available as a snap-in inside of the Microsoft Management Console, or you can run this separately by running diskmgmt.msc. One thing to keep in mind when using this utility, is you can make dramatic changes to the configurations of your storage systems, and it is very easy to delete information. Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing when you’re making changes inside of disk management, and be sure to have a good backup on hand in case something does go wrong.

If you have an application or a script that you’d like to run on a particular date and time, you can configure that in the operating system using the standalone task scheduler or the task scheduler snap-in inside of the Management Console. You can use this to configure a date and time to run a script that you wrote yourself, or you can use the predefined schedules that are already available inside of task scheduler.

By default, task scheduler puts everything on the same screen under one folder, but you can organize these tasks by adding different folders inside of the task scheduler application. If you’d like to run task scheduler by itself, you can run taskschd.msc.

If you’ve ever had to install a new piece of hardware or install an updated driver to an existing piece of hardware, then you’ve probably used device manager. Device manager is the front end that allows you to add hardware and device managers into the operating system. The device drivers themselves have been specifically written for the operating system that you’re using.

If you’re using Windows 10, you have to use device drivers that have been specifically written for Windows 10. And if you’re using Windows 11, make sure that your drivers are compatible with Windows 11. If you have older drivers for hardware that worked fine in Windows 7, there’s no guarantee that those drivers will still be operable in Windows 10 or Windows 11. You can run device manager as a snap-in inside of the Microsoft Management Console, or you can run it separately as devmgmt.msc.

There are many different types of digital certificates that are stored in our operating systems, and in Windows, the certificate manager allows you to view and manage those certificates. The certificate manager can manage personal certificates, trusted root certificates, active directory certificates, third party root certificates, and many others as well. If you want to run this as a separate application, you can run certmgr.msc.

If you’re managing a number of Windows systems, then you’re also probably managing a number of users and groups on those Windows systems. The users, of course, are the people that are logging into Windows and using the operating system. This might be individual accounts that have been created for someone’s name, or it could be accounts that are already available in Windows, such as the administrator account or the guest account.

The administrator account is the Windows super user. If you are the administrator, or you are part of the administrator group, then you have full access to the operating system. If you’re logging in as a guest to the operating system, then you have very limited access to the OS. And in most modern versions of Windows, this guest account is automatically disabled. And of course, if you’re logging in with your first name, or last name, or some combination of those two, then you’re probably running as a regular user, which is not an administrator or a guest, but has rights and permissions that are assigned by the administrator on that system.

Windows users can also be added to a larger group of users. This allows the administrator to make changes to a single group that affects many people rather than going to individual accounts to make all of those changes. You can see a number of the groups that are already available inside of Windows, such as backup operators, event log readers, network configuration operators, and much more. If you’d like to run the local users and groups utility outside of the Management Console, then you can run lusrmgr.msc.

There may be times when you need to monitor a Windows system for performance information over a very long period of time. And to be able to gather these metrics, you might want to use the Windows performance monitor or run perfmon.msc. Performance monitor can provide you information about how the operating system is running, so you can view disk access, memory usage, CPU utilization, and much more.

You might also want to set alarms and alerts. So if you’re running low on disk space or you’re using a lot of the memory in a system, you can have an alert go out to inform someone that a problem may be occurring. You can also store this information so that you can have it running for a long period of time, and then go back and see what happened historically with these metrics on this particular system. It even includes built in reports, so if you wanted to create an overview of what you’ve collected, you can click one button and get details of everything you’ve stored.

And if you work in a company or large organization, then you’re probably using active directory as a central database to store information about users and devices on your network. You can manage those users and devices through the use of the group policy editor, which can be used as a snap-in inside of the Management Console or run separately on its own. This allows you to set security policies, software restrictions, application control, and almost any other aspect of the Windows operating system.

If you’re not running active directory, and you’d like to configure these policies for your local device, you can run the local group policy editor, or gpedit.msc. But if you’re in a company where you’ll be managing and setting policies for everyone on the network, you can use the group policy management console or gpmc.msc.