Applies to

Windows 2000 through Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

You can use Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to create a custom console (or administrative tool) to hold a snap-in that you use to manage a computer. Administrators typically create custom MMC consoles to enable them to modify commonly used Group Policy settings or other objects. You can use a custom MMC console to find and change (or disable) the Group Policy settings easily.

Creating a New Console File

  1. On the Start Menu, click Run, type MMC, and then click OK. If using Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008. or Windows Server 2008 R2, you may have to also agree to the User Account Control (UAC) prompts. Microsoft Management Console opens with an empty console (or administrative tool), as shown in the following figure. The empty console has no management functionality until you add some snap-ins. The MMC menu commands on the menu bar at the top of the Microsoft Management Console window apply to the entire console.

    Figure 1: Beginning Console Window

  2. Click Console (under Console1). On the Console Menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in. The Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box opens. This lets you enable extensions and configure which snap-ins are in the console file. You can specify where the snap-ins should be inserted in the Snap-in's "added to drop-down box." Accept the default, Console Root, for this exercise.

  3. Click Add. This displays the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box that lists the snap-ins that are installed on your computer.

  4. From the list of snap-ins, double-click Computer Management to open the Computer Management wizard.

  5. Click Local computer and select the check box for "Allow the selected computer to be changed when launching from the command line."

  6. Click Finish. This returns you to the Add/Remove Snap-ins dialog box. Click Close.

  7. Click the Extensions tab as shown in the following figure. By selecting the check box Add all extensions, all locally-installed extensions on the computer are used. If this check box is not selected, then any extension snap-in that is selected is explicitly loaded when the console file is opened on a different computer.

    Figure 2: Select All Extensions  

  8. Click OK to close the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box. The Console Root window now has a snap-in, Computer Management, rooted at the Console Root folder.

Customizing the Display of Snap-ins in the Console: New Windows

After you add the snap-ins, you can add windows to provide different administrative views in the console.

To add windows

  1. In the left pane of the tree view in Figure 3 below, click the + next to Computer Management. Click System Tools.


  2. Right-click the Event Viewer folder that opens, and then click New window from here. As shown in the following figure, this opens a new Event Viewer window rooted at the Event Viewer extension to computer management.

    Figure 4: Event Viewer

  3. Click Window and click Console Root.

  4. In the Console Root window, click Services and Applications, right-click Services in the left pane, and then click New Window. As shown in the following figure, this opens a new Services window rooted at the Event Viewer extension to Computer Management. In the new window, click the Show/Hide Console Tree toolbar button to hide the console tree, as shown in the red circle in Figure 5 below.


  5. Close the original window with Console Root showing in it.

  6. On the Window menu, select Tile Horizontally. The console file should appear and include the information shown in Figure 4 and Figure 5 above.

  7. You can now save your new MMC console. Click the Save as icon on the Console window, and give your console a name. Your console is now saved as a .msc file, and you can provide it to anyone who needs to configure a computer with these tools.

Note: Each of the two smaller windows has a toolbar with buttons and drop-down menus. The toolbar buttons and drop-down menus on these each of these two windows apply only to the contents of the window. You can see that a window's toolbar buttons and menus change depending on the snap-in selected in the left pane of the window. If you select the View menu, you can see a list of available toolbars.

Tip: The windows fit better if your monitor display is set to a higher resolution and small font.

Setting Console File Options

When you are creating a console file for another user, it is useful to be able to prevent that user from further customizing the console file. You can do this in the Options dialog box:

  1. On the Console menu and then click Options.
  2. On the Console tab, if you want to select a different icon, click Change Icon.Select the appropriate icon, and then click OK.
  3. Choose one of four Console Modes. These modes are:

    • Author Mode: You have access to all MMC functionality, including the ability to add or remove snap-ins, create new windows, and navigate the entire console tree.
    • User Mode-full access: Users have access to all window management functionality of the MMC and full access to the context tree. Users cannot add or remove snap-ins or change console file options. Save commands are not available because changes that do not affect snap-in relationships are saved automatically.
    • User Mode-limited access, multiple window: Users cannot open new windows, and users do not have access to areas of the console tree that were not visible when the console file was not saved. All restrictions in place on full-access user mode also apply. Multiple child windows are allowed, but the user cannot close them.
    • User Mode-limited access, single window: All restrictions in place for multiple window limited-access user mode apply, except that there is only a single window, so the controls for working with multiple windows are not present.
    In the Console mode box, click the mode that fits your specific administrative and security needs.
  4. To restrict users from making changes to the custom console, click to select the Do not save changes to this console check box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. To save your new MMC console, click Save as on the Console menu and type a name for your console. The console is saved as a file that you can distribute to anyone who needs to configure a computer with the tool.

Customizing the Layout of Snap-ins in the Console

  1. In the left pane, right-click a snap-in icon, and then click New Window from Here. This opens a new window rooted at the snap-in you selected.
  2. On the Window menu, click either Tile Horizontally or Cascade to customize the windows.
  3. To save your new MMC console, click Save as on the Console menu and type a name for your console. The console is saved as a file with a file extension of .msc that you can distribute to anyone who needs to configure a computer with the tool.

To use the .msc file you created, just double-click the file and the console opens.