Unless you’re a system administrator, there are a number of Windows tools that you’ll never have a chance to use. In this video, you’ll learn about some of the important administrative tools.
You’re probably aware that you can start many of the Windows utilities by themselves. So you can launch Event Viewer or Performance Manager, and they’ll run a separate applications. But you could also take a lot of these administrative tools and run them all from one single view called Computer Management.
This is a pre-built version of the Microsoft Management Console. You can think of it as plugging in all of these different utilities to one screen. And you can run it all from Control Panel under Administrative Tools, and choose Computer Management.
If you wanted to build your own Computer Management screen with your own plug-ins, you can start the Microsoft Management Console by itself by starting MMC.exe. When you start Computer Management, you will see that many of the common administrative tools you already use are now in this one place. So things like Task Scheduler, Event Viewer, Shared Folders. Local Users, and Groups, Performance Manager, and so much more, it’s a very easy way to access everything from one screen.
On our computers, we have hardware. And then we also have an operating system. But we need something that can tie together the operating system to the hardware. And that something is a device driver. This is the key to having the operating system be able to access and use different types of hardware.
These device drivers are specific to the hardware that we’re using. And they’ve been written explicitly for the operating system that we happen to be running. You can’t use a Windows 8.1 device driver in Windows Vista, for example. That’s why when we always talk about a piece of hardware not working properly, one of the first things we’ll ask is, have you updated the device driver to the latest version? This might solve some of the problems you’re having with accessing that particular piece of hardware.
To be able to see all of the different device drivers that are currently running in Windows and what their current status is, you simply run Device Manager. You can also find this under Computer Management, or you can start Device Manager by writing devmgmt.msc. If you’re not part of a large Windows domain, and you’re the only one who’s really using your computer, ten you may find that you’re one of the very few users that are on this particular system.
There might be many people using your computer, you may want to have a different user account for each one of those people. There are other accounts that you will also find on your computer though. There’s the Administrator Account, which is in Windows the super user. The Administrator has access to anything in the operating system.
You might also find a Guest Account, although by default this account is disabled. But if you have a need to provide someone with limited access and temporary access to your computer, you might want to consider using the Guest Account. Everybody else who’s using this computer, yourself, and whoever else would login, would be a regular user on this computer. And you find them under the different users inside of the users and groups utility.
In Windows, you can take a list of users who might need to perform a particular function, or they might need access to a particular set of files or folders. And you can create a group from that list of users. There are many different built-in groups within Windows. There’s a group for administrators, their backup operators, there’s a guest group, their power users. And you can even define additional groups and assign rights and permissions to those groups as well.
When you’re working for a large organization, all of the Windows devices are generally managed through Active Directory. And there’s one place to go to set all of the security policies for everybody in the organization. But if you’re one person who’s working on a computer that’s not managed by Active Directory, you might want to set up your own local policies for security. Things like enforcing a password history, setting a maximum password age, a minimum password age, a minimum password length, and similar security policies.
These are features that are not available in the home versions or home editions of Windows. You would really only find the local security policy utility under Windows Professional or pro versions. You’ll also find it in the Ultimate and Enterprise versions as well.
It’s sometimes interesting to see a real time view of statistics. You would need to know what the current utilization is, or how much disk utilization is being used. But what if you wanted to gather that information over a very long period of time? To do that, you use a utility called the Performance Monitor.
This will gather long-term statistics. And you could start the Performance Monitor from the Control Panel under Administrative Tools. This will show you metrics, such as operating system, disk usage, memory utilization, CPU utilization. And You can even set alerts.
So if these values exceed a certain amount, you can be informed that it’s occurring. You can also set automated action so that things might occur automatically if disk utilization gets to a certain point. This is also a great way to store this information over time. So you can set up the Performance Monitor, just have it gather the statistics. And later on, you can come back and look through all of the data that’s been stored onto that system.
This also includes a number of built-in reports. So you’re able to create graphs and reports from all of these metrics that you’ve collected over time. A Windows service is an application that runs in the background. It doesn’t have a user interface associated with it. And we usually don’t interact directly with the service itself.
This might be the file indexing service that’s in Windows or the antivirus process that’s always running behind the scenes and looking for viruses. You can find a list of all of these services in the Windows Services Utility. This utility is very good if you ever need to troubleshoot things during the startup process.
You can disable and enable services, and see if that solves some of the problems that you might be having. You can also start and stop these services from the command line. You use the Net Start command and the Net Stop command with the name of the service to be able to enable and disable that particular service.
If you need to get to the services screen, you can find that in the Control Panel under Administrative Tools and Services. Or, you can run it as services.msc. There may be times when you would like your operating system to perform a particular function or run a particular program at a particular date and time.
It’s very common to have Task Scheduler be able to defragment our drive every night or perform a normal backup every week. This also includes a number of pre-defined schedules. So all you need to find is the right task that you would like to perform and then configure it to run at a particular time and date.
These are also organized and managed through folders. You can see there are some particular tasks that are set for Bluetooth, others for diagnoses, others for maintenance, and others for mobile PC. So it should be able to find exactly the task but you’re looking for. To start the Task Scheduler, you want to go to the Control Panel under Administrative Tools and choose Task Scheduler.
If you’re an application developer, you’re probably familiar with the Component Services Utility. This is where you would manage applications that are built with the Microsoft component object model. These are applications that are distributed. They run in very large enterprises. And generally, if you’re someone who is writing these applications, you’ll be configuring a lot of settings within Component Services.
These applications that are written with the component object model are relatively complex. And you’ll find in Component Services, not only do you have the configuration for the COM+ applications, but you also have direct access to the Event Viewer and to the Windows Services.
One challenge for application developers is that different people may want to store information into different kinds of databases. So instead of the Application Developer writing all of their code for a specific kind of database, the developer can instead write their code to use an ODBC driver. ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity.
And you can find all of the Windows configurations for ODBC under the ODBC data sources. Those allows the application developer then to create an application that really doesn’t care what the backend database is. This ODBC is really the middleware between the application and the database.
This is very similar to when you’re printing to a printer. The application that you’re using has no idea what the printer is. Instead, it’s printing to a print driver, and the print driver is then printing to the printer. Same idea in this case.
The application developer is using the ODBC driver. And the ODBC driver is then using the database. You would configure all of these ODBC data sources in Control Panel under Administrative Tools. You’re in users will probably not be configuring this. You’re probably be configuring this in conjunction with your database in your Application Administrator.
We all certainly have a requirement to manage the printers that are in our environment. And you can find the Print Management in Windows under Control Panel, Administrative Tools, and Print Management. Inside of Print Management, we can certainly see the list of all of the printers in our environment. And we can configure and manage those printers from this one central utility.
This is also a good place to add and manage the printer drivers, that when you bring in a new computer, the printer drivers are stored in the Print Management. And you can easily download those and install them on to these new systems. If you’d like to test of memory that you’ve just installed into a computer, or you’d like to see if the existing memory modules are working properly, you can use the built-in Windows Memory Diagnostics Utility.
The Memory Diagnostic will run through all of the memory that you have in your computer to see if it can find any problems with reading or writing information to those memory modules. To start the Memory Diagnostics Application from within Windows, you can go to the Control Panel under Administrative Tools and choose Memory Diagnostics.