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Microsoft Management Console Snap-ins

Uncovering Win2K's hidden management gems

One of Windows 2000's biggest changes is its reliance on the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to perform systems administration. Microsoft has implemented almost all of Win2K's management tools as MMC snap-ins. In this Top 10, I look at Win2K's most useful built-in MMC snap-ins. Win2K also lets you build your own custom management interface: Simply enter mmc in the Run dialog box and click OK to bring up an empty MMC shell. Then, add snap-ins for the management functions you want.

10. The System Information snap-in displays a system's hardware and software configuration. This display includes a system summary, hardware resources, and software drivers. You can't change any of the displayed values.

9. The Services snap-in performs the same basic tasks that Windows NT's Service Manager performs. The snap-in displays the available Win2K system services and lets you start, stop, pause, and resume each service.

8. The Event Viewer snap-in, like NT's equivalent management tool, lets you view the local or remote computer's System, Application, and Security logs. For example, this snap-in lets you view the local DNS server's logs.

7. The Disk Management snap-in, like NT's Disk Administrator, lets you view and manage disk partitions. You can use the Disk Management snap-in (unlike the NT tool) to enable quotas and upgrade to Win2K's new dynamic disk feature.

6. The Disk Defragmenter snap-in, a light version of Executive Software's Diskeeper, is new to Win2K. The Disk Defragmenter lets you analyze and defragment FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS disk partitions.

5. The Microsoft IIS snap-in is essentially an upgraded version of the Internet Service Manager (ISM) snap-in that the NT 4.0 Option Pack includes. Like its predecessor, the IIS snap-in lets you manage local Web and FTP services, as well as remote IIS installations.

4. The Device Manager snap-in, like the Device Manager that Windows 9x includes, displays a graphical overview of the devices on your system and lets you change the hardware configuration and update in-use device drivers. You can also find the Device Manager in My Computer, Properties.

3. The Local User and Groups snap-in, one of the most elemental systems management tools, replaces NT's User Manager. You use the snap-in to create and manage new users and groups, as well as to assign passwords, home directories, and logon scripts.

2. The Local Computer Policy snap-in lets you set computer and user configuration settings (e.g., disable Autoplay for CD-ROM, run logon scripts asynchronously). Although finding the Local Computer Policy management tools in Win2K is harder than in NT, you'll probably use this snap-in at first to control Password Policies and Account Lockout Policies and to assign Audit Policies settings and individual User Rights Assignments. After you've implemented Active Directory (AD) on the server, you'll need to use the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in to manage users and groups.

1. The Computer Management snap-in consolidates the functions of several MMC snap-ins to better enable the management of local and remote systems. The Computer Management snap-in's System tools include the Event Viewer, System Information, and Device Manager snap-ins. Its Storage tools include the Disk Management and Disk Defragmenter. Its Services tools include the Services and IIS snap-ins.

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