Build Your Skills: Create a custom Microsoft Management Console

Learn how to consolidate the tools you need in your own Microsoft Management Console.

Computer Management, Event Viewer, and most of the other administrative tools are implemented as Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins. This means that one Windows 2000 management tool looks and works much like any other. But perhaps what's even more useful is that the MMC’s modular architecture lets you create custom MMC consoles that integrate the tools you use most often into a single console. Here's how.

Customizing the MMC
To create a custom console, click Start | Run and enter MMC in the Run dialog box. After the MMC opens, choose Console | Add/Remove Snap-In. Click Add to display the Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box, and choose the snap-in you need (see Figure A). Some of the snap-ins prompt you to select the focus for the snap-in. For example, when you add the Group Policy snap-in, you can focus it on the local computer or on a remote computer.

There are a couple of snap-ins you might consider adding to any custom console. The Folder snap-in doesn’t add a disk folder but instead adds a container to the console. You can use folders to organize the snap-ins, for example, creating a folder named Local Computer and another named Remote Computers. You would then add snap-ins to the folders focused on the respective targets.

Figure A

The Link To Web Address snap-in is also handy and all-purpose. This lets you add a quick link in the console to any URL. For example, you might add a link to a Web site that provides monitoring or configuration data for servers on the network. This gives you quick access to the site right from your custom console. You can also add non-HTML URLs. For example, you can specify an FTP site or the absolute or Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to a folder. When you click the link in the console, the target contents appear in the right pane.

Once you have added the desired snap-ins, you can save your customized console by clicking Console | Save As and providing a filename. The next time you start the MMC, you can simply load your saved console by clicking Console | Open, instead of adding each snap-in individually.

Learn more about the MMC
To find out more about the Microsoft Management Console and how it can make supporting your Windows workstations easier, check out the following TechRepublic articles:

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