9 Ways Vista MMC Gives You More Control

As a Windows system administrator, I am sure you have used the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) before. However, like me, you may have just gone in, performed your task, and closed it out. In this article, we will learn about the new Windows Vista snap-ins for the MMC and how you can create your own custom MMC in Windows Vista.

Windows Vista MMC vs. Windows XP MMC

The first thing I noticed about the Windows Vista MMC was that it looked different when I went to Add or Remove Snap-ins. I like the new “Selected Snap-ins” section and how it is on one screen instead of two.

Custom Management Console (MMC) - 1

Windows Vista MMC Add Remove Snap-ins

Custom Management Console (MMC) - 2

Windows XP MMC Add Remove Snap-ins

New Windows Vista MMC Snap-ins

So what are those new Windows Vista Snap-ins? By my count, there are 9 new Windows Vista Snap-ins (some are replacements). Now, this isn’t an official Microsoft document so that number is based purely on my comparison of the MMC snap-ins available in Windows XP and the snap-ins available in Windows Vista. Here is the list these new snap-ins:

  • Authorization Manager – Role-based security management
  • Group Policy Manager – the Vista Group Policy Manager MMC snap-in can be used to configure Windows group policy on the local computer and for the domain.
  • NAP Client Configuration – Microsoft’s Network Access Protection is used to prevent unpatched or virus-infected systems from getting on the network.
  • Print Management – manages local and remote print servers & queues.
  • Reliability & Performance – this new version of performance monitor has a lot of improvements. For more information on it, see TechNet: Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor.
  • Reliability Monitor – part of the Reliability & Performance snap-in but a standalone version of reliability monitor only.
  • Task Scheduler – the MMC version of the old Task Scheduler in Windows XP.
  • TPM Management – the Trusted Platform Module Management, used for managing a new system that secures communications between the Vista OS and TPM Secured hardware.
  • Windows Firewall with Advanced Security – this is the configuration tool for the new Windows Vista bidirectional stateful firewall. It has a lot of new features and is now configured inside the MMC.

Here is the list of snap-ins from the MMC Console:

Custom Management Console (MMC) - 3

And here is what my MMC looked like after adding them:

Custom Management Console (MMC) - 4

My Favorite Windows Vista MMC Console

Of course, the MMC snap-ins that you choose all depends on what is used on your network and what your personal preferences are. I encourage all administrators to create their own personal MMC console by saving your custom console as a MSC file. Here is what my favorite MMC console looks like.

Custom Management Console (MMC) - 5


In closing, as Windows administrators, we will use the MMC daily. The changes to the Vista MMC interface and the new snap-ins offer us more features and time-saving. If you haven’t already, I hope that you will create your own custom MMC file to save time by having all your commonly used MMC snap-ins readily available to you, with just a single click. I have learned a lot about Windows Vista by watching Scott Skinger’s Windows Vista video series. In that series, Scott goes into great detail on what is new in Windows Vista, the new Group Policy changes, and the new MMC snap-ins. I hope you will checkout the Train Signal Windows Vista training video series.

About David Davis

David Davis (CCIE #9369, CWNA, MCSE, CISSP, Linux+, CEH) has been in the IT industry for 15 years. Currently, he manages a group of systems/network administrators for a privately owned retail company and authors IT-related material in his spare time. He has written over fifty articles, eight practice tests and five video courses and has co-authored one book. He offers articles and webcasts covering Cisco and VMware Virtualization topics at his website, HappyRouter.com.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.