Understanding Windows Component Services – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.4

If you’re building enterprise Windows applications, then you’ll need to be familiar with the configuration options in the Windows Component Services. In this video, you’ll learn about COM+ applications and how the Component Services utility can be used to configure your server to work optimally with your applications.

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If you’re a developer, you’ve probably worked with the Microsoft COM model. This is the component object model that allows you to build applications that can be used in these very large computing environments that we have today. This allows you to build applications that can be distributed across the enterprise. You may have multiple database servers that are being used, so that you can scale these applications up to be very, very large.

So if you’re ever using your Windows 7 device, or your Windows Vista or Windows XP, to be able to act as a server in these COM+ environments, you’ll want to be able to know about the Component Services selection. This is where you would not only define and configure all of these COM+ views and devices that you have, but you also have built into this an event viewer and a services view. That’s because when you’re working with applications, very commonly want to be able to see what’s happening with the event log, and occasionally you need to drop down into the services and be able to start and stop services, so that that particular application will work properly.

Let’s look at the component services and see what options might be available inside. You’ll find components services from your Start menu under the Control Panel under Administrative Tools. It’s this option right at the top here for Component Services. The Component Services view is very similar to that Microsoft Management Console view, where your options are on the left. You’ve got your selection in the middle, and then some actions that you can perform on the right side.

You’ll notice you have Component Services, Event Viewer, and Services. We were covering Event Viewer and Services in a different video, so I won’t go into specifics there. It’s nice to have those in this view, because when you’re working with configuring and running applications, you very often need to see what information it’s putting into the event log. And you sometimes need to be able to start and stop the services that are used by this application.

We’re going to focus on Component Services. And you can see that the Component Services also give you a way to not just configure your local device, but you can configure these on a remote device as well. There are four different sections on my computer, one for COM+ applications. There’s DCOM Config, Running Processes, and the Distributed Transaction Coordinator.

If we look on each one of these, we can see there’s different views that we could create of these as well. If you wanted a lot of detail, there’s COM+ Explorer. There’s the QC Dead Letter Q Listener, COM+ Utilities, System Applications. You can already start to see that this is very specific to developers, even to the point where you’re looking at application ID information, authentication methodologies. You can drill down, of course, into any of these and look at the properties of this piece, and you’re usually doing this if you’re having a problem running the application, or you need to install the new application and configure some settings.

Usually once you have this built and running, you don’t have to touch it again, unless there have been some modifications to the application, or how this might be used. But you could go into this view to be able to help troubleshoot. If the application is not performing properly, and you need to provide a debug dump to the support team, you can see exactly where it’s going to put the process image dump for the application that you might be using.

Each one of these sections provides us with a different configuration of where this might be. You can even see where these DCOM configuation objects are. You can see, for instance, where a bitmap image application ID might be. So you can make modifications to that if this particular application needs to use this from a different app ID.

If you’re someone who is managing that, you’d like to be able to use the Event Viewer. It’s nice that you can click on one button and instantly have that default event viewer. And of course, the Services is nice to have here as well, so that you can manage everything from one single console view.