What Is the Microsoft Administration Console (MMC), and How Do You Use It?

Microsoft Windows offers many ways to manage and maintain your system. One such interface is the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), which you can use to change administrative settings and perform other functions. While using the MMC, you can access various Windows utilities such as Device Manager or third-party tools for Windows.

MMC isn't new either, it's been around since Windows 2000. So here's everything you need to know about the Microsoft Management Console:

How to start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

There are several ways to open the MMC. Feel free to use whichever method feels more convenient for you.

This is how you start MMC with the Run command

How to start the MMC with the Windows Run command:

  1. Press Profit + r to start the Run application.

  2. Type mmc in the text box and press Enter.

  3. You must be logged in as an administrator to open MMC.

  4. The Microsoft Management Console window opens.

Start MMC with the command prompt (CMD)

For the command prompt:

  1. Enter in the search bar of the Start menu cmd.

  2. In the search results, right-click Command Prompt> Run as administrator.

  3. Enter in the CMD console mmc and press Enter to start the Microsoft Management Console.

Related: Windows Command Prompt Command You Need To Know

Start MMC with Windows PowerShell

How to start the MMC with Powershell:

  1. Enter in the search bar of the Start menu Power Shell.

  2. Right-click Windows PowerShell in the search results. Select Run as administrator.

  3. In the PowerShell console, enter mmc and press Enter to start the Microsoft Management Console.

Create a desktop shortcut for MMC

In a one-time process, you can also create a desktop shortcut for MMC, which makes it easier to start the service.

  1. Right click on an empty area on the desktop. Navigate to New > abbreviation.

  2. In the Create Shortcut window, enter % windir% system32 mmc.exe in the address text field. click Next.

  3. On the next screen, name the shortcut and click End.

  4. Start MMC with the newly created shortcut

How to use and navigate the Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

At first glance, the MMC interface may seem a bit confusing. The user interface is mostly empty because you have to add the Windows tools that you want to access through the Microsoft Management Console one by one. Each link is called a "snap-in". These snap-ins are the actual administrative tools that you can use to configure your computer and its software components.

You can also create consoles that contain a specific set of snap-ins that are linked together. For example, you can create a console to help you manage your hardware components. It can contain tools like Device Manager and Event Viewer and can serve as another way to open the Disk Management utility.

How to add or remove snap-ins

The first time you start MMC, no snap-ins are added to the console root folder in the navigation bar on the left. Adding or removing snap-ins is a breeze, just follow these steps:

  1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

  2. Click on file, below the title bar.

  3. Click on Add / remove snap-in or you can use the shortcut CTRL + M.

  4. In the next window, select the snap-in from the list of available snap-ins.

  5. Click on Add to.

  6. In the next window, choose whether you want the snap-in to manage this computer or another computer.

  7. Be sure to check the option: Allow the selected computer to be changed when starting from the command line.

  8. Click on End.

  9. Click on OK.

To remove snap-ins:

  1. Navigate to File> Add / Remove Snap-in … or press CTRL + M.

  2. In the window that opens, click on the snap-in that you want to remove. You can find your added snap-ins under the Selected snap-ins: Section.

  3. Now click Remove next to the section.

  4. The snap-in is removed.

How to edit snap-in extensions

Most snap-ins contain various extensions that you can use to manage different aspects of the snap-in. For example, the Computer Management snap-in contains various enhancements such as the Performance Monitor, Disk Management, Event Viewer and many more. However, you may not want to use all of them.

If so, you can edit or remove these extensions:

  1. Go to File> Add / Remove Snap-in.

  2. Under the Selected snap-ins In the section, select the snap-in that you want to change.

  3. Click on Edit extensions.

  4. In the new window select the Activate only selected extensions Opportunity.

  5. Select or deselect the extensions from the list, then click OK.

  6. Click again OK in the Add / Remove Snap-ins window.

Sometimes the extensions can have sub-extensions themselves. To enable or disable these sub-extensions, select the extension from the list and click Edit extensions at the bottom of the window.

Use snap-ins to manage your computer

After you've added snap-ins, you can easily use them to manage various aspects of your computer. Everything happens within the MMC window itself, so you don't have to bother with new windows when switching to other snap-ins.

Related: Important tips for managing and organizing your computer files.

To use snap-ins, just do the following:

  1. Just click on any snap-in under the console root folder in the navigation pane.

  2. You can either expand the snap-in by clicking the drop-down arrow or select the sub-options by double-clicking it in the window on the right.

  3. The selected snap-ins are opened in the Microsoft Management Console itself.

  4. You can also use the navigation buttons above the console root folder to show or hide the console tree, move up a level, and so on.

  5. In addition, the Actions tab on the right replaces the options bar if you open the snap-in separately.

Essentially, all snap-ins work as if you were accessing them independently.

A single interface to manage your computer

As can be seen from this article, the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) helps you access most Windows settings from a single interface. More importantly, you can use MMC to create custom management consoles that contain similar snap-ins. You can also create custom consoles for other computers or users on your local network.

While MMC is so useful, the average Windows user doesn't use it much. In fact, it's one of the most overlooked features in Windows 10.

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About the author

Manuviraj Godara
(132 published articles)

Manuviraj is a feature writer at MakeUseOf and has been writing about video games and technology for over two years. He is an avid gamer who also spends his free time browsing and reading his favorite music albums.

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By Manuviraj Godara

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