The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) application provides you with an interface shell into which you can insert various tools called snap-ins to create custom consoles. While custom consoles can come in handy for performing any number of tasks, Windows XP's MMC 2.0 convoluted console-creation process often seems counterintuitive.
Fortunately, Microsoft has made the new MMC interface developed for Windows Vista available for Windows XP. Version 3.0 of the MMC application provides more functionality for snap-ins than prior versions and sports a smoother-looking user interface that makes it much easier to create and use consoles.
One of the biggest changes in MMC 3.0 for Windows XP is the new Add or Remove Snap-ins interface. Instead of having to use a tedious procedure that involves two separate dialog boxes to build a custom console, the new MMC 3.0 provides a single dialog box that makes it much easier to create custom consoles.
Downloading and installing the MMC 3.0 for Windows XP is a breeze. However, you must manually enable the new user interface by adding a key to the registry. Here's how:
- Download the Microsoft Management Console 3.0 for Windows XP from the Microsoft Download Center.
- Locate and run the WindowsXP-KB907265-x86-ENU.exe executable file to launch the MMC 3.0 installation wizard.
- Once the installation is complete, launch the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
- Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MMC.
- Right-click the MMC subkey and select New | Key.
- Name the key UseNewUI and press [Enter].
- Close the Registry Editor.
Now, when you launch MMC.exe from the Run dialog box, you'll be able to take advantage of the new Add or Remove Snap-ins interface. You simply scroll through the available snap-ins in the left panel and click the Add button to build your custom console in the right panel.Notes: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional but requires that Service Pack 2 or 3 is installed. Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.
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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.