Control Panel, specially the Administrative Tasks have too many items which is not only confusing but since we don’t use most of them it is waste of time for some of us. In this tutorial I will talk about a feature in Windows which lets you create a Administrative Control Panel which can be used to control your PC or any PC over network.
MMC or Microsoft Management Console is like a container which can contain admin tools like Disk Management, Printer Management etc. Once you are done adding the components, you can arrange them in hierarchy, align them in particular order and save them. Once saved these can be assigned to group or particular user on your Domain. In simple words you can compare them with Bookmarks or Favorites.
This is how an MMC looks like when you launch it by typing mmc in your Start Menu or run dialog box. Its an empty console where you need to add controls. Lets get to know the basics :
Step 1: Rename the Console Root
First thing you should do is renaming the boring name which defaults to Console Root. Lets say you are creating this custom panel for group of users who will manage security and services of a computer, so lets name it as SecServ. Right click and rename.
Step 2: Add Controls
Now add related components to this console by clicking on File -> Add / Remove Snap in or Control + M ( More Shortcuts here )
You will have list of items, all administrative items. Select the required one and click on add. For some of the items you will be required to specify which computer will be managed. This is important so make sure you add the right computer. In case you think the option can be changed, make sure to check the box which says : Allow the selected computer to be changed when launching from command line.
Step 3 : Edit Extensions
Some controls have extra features which come as extension for them. They are like addons which give more power and features for an existing item. If you are not sure of this and using this feature just to simplify and sort some admin items into one place, skip it.
Step 4 : Organizing the items into folders
Now lets say you have around 10 to 15 items to be added and you want wan to categorize them again. For this you need to use the Folder Snap in which is listed as of the items when you click on Add/Remove Snap ins.
- Select Folder Snaps-in and add it.
- Now here you will not be able to give it a proper name, we will come back to this in later step.
- Now to add items under this folder click on advance button on right side.
- Check Allow changing the parent snap in. Since we need to move items into the folder, we will use this option to change.
- Now right above you will see a drop down which will let you choose between any of the items. Select the folder.
- Once you select the folder in the drop down, select items from left and add them. It will automatically move them into the folders. This was tricky stuff to find out. 🙂
- Now lets rename it. Close the Snap In section and get back to console part. Here you will see all the items you added listed here. Right click on the folder and rename. This is stupid though, now sure why we dont have option to rename right when we do snapin.
Step 5 : Permissions and Authors :
MMC created like this can be edited by others if allowed so. For making this editable you need to go to File -> Options. Look for Console Mode which is followed by a Dropdown. Here you can select what kind of access you want to give.
Step 6 : Look and Feel
If you do not like the tree list kind of stuff lets make it different. Right click on top folder and select New TaskPad View. Here you can select between Horizontal View and Vertical View, Icon size etc.
Done this now you can save this as independent file and can be used without launching the complex control panel. I will suggest only power users to create tools like this and yes you need to be admin to create this tool. Finally the tool will look similar to this :