Data Centers

Managing a Windows Server 2003 system with the Computer Management Console

Derek Schauland says that one console he uses every day to help him manage Windows Server 2003 systems is the Computer Management Console. Get details about the console.

Windows Server 2003 includes consoles that allow you to manage the server and other components of a Windows Server 2003 environment. You may be familiar with Active Directory Users And Computers and Active Directory Sites And Services, which are Microsoft Management Consoles designed to accomplish a specific task.

Microsoft Management Consoles were introduced in Windows 2000 to supply administrators with a way to organize the tools they use to perform tasks. These consoles are made up of tools or snap-ins to allow many tools to be grouped together.

One console that I use every day to help me manage Windows Server 2003 systems is the Computer Management Console. It allows you to look at certain tools that pertain to a specific system.

Access the Computer Management Console

To open the Computer Management Console in Windows Server 2003, right-click the My Computer icon on the Start menu and select Manage with the left button. The Computer Management Console opens and shows the local system that you are logged into by default. If you right-click the Computer Object in the left pane (or click the Action menu within the console window) and select Connect To Another Computer, you'll see a window that allows you to enter the name of another system and manage it within the console. Using this technique for things like Services and Event Logs is a huge timesaver, especially if the systems you manage are widely dispersed.

Note: You can access the Computer Management Console in Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista by right-clicking My Computer (or Computer in Windows Vista) and selecting Manage. You can also remotely connect to any other supported operating system listed above. To do so, right-click the Local Computer object in the left pane of the console, select Connect To Another Computer, and then enter the NetBIOS name of the system you wish to access. The console will reload and show information pertaining to the remote system.

Learn about the console's snap-ins

By default, the following snap-ins are included with the Computer Management Console:

  • Event Viewer: Displays installed applications and information recorded by Windows.
  • Shared Folders: Displays information about open files, connected sessions, and available shares, allowing them to be reset, disconnected, or viewed.
  • Local Users and Groups: Displays the groups and users created locally on the system, while allowing the users and groups to be edited, added, or deleted.
  • Performance Logs and Alerts: Displays monitored traces and logs related to system performance.
  • Device Manager: Displays hardware configured on the system and allows devices to be added, removed, or disabled.
  • Removable Storage: Displays information about currently connected devices with removable storage (CD-ROM, USB drives, card readers, etc.).
  • Disk Defragmenter: Allows defragmentation of the system.
  • Disk Management: Displays information about configured disks within the system. It allows drive letter changes, partition creation and deletion, conversion from basic to dynamic disk, and other functions.
  • Services: Allows management of services installed on the system.
  • WMI Control: Allows management of the Windows Management Instrumentation.

Depending on the applications that are installed on your Windows Server 2003 system, there may be other items added to the Computer Management Console. For instance, SQL Server and Internet Explorer will install other components to this console.

Stay tuned

In future tips, I will describe the Computer Management Console's snap-ins in more detail. Each of these features helps make the management and administration of Windows Server 2003 systems a little easier.

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Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

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