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Windows Server

Windows Home Server 2011 : Configuring the Microsoft Management Console (part 1) - Adding a Snap-In

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The MMC is a system administration program that can act as a host application for a variety of tools. The advantage of MMC is that it displays each tool as a console—a two-pane view that has a treelike hierarchy in the left pane (this is called the tree pane) and a taskpad in the right pane that shows the contents of each branch (this is called the results pane). This gives each tool a similar interface, which makes it easier to use the tools. You can also customize the console view in a number of ways, create custom taskpad views, and save a particular set of tools to reuse later. These tools are called snap-ins, because you can “attach” them to the console root.

When you work with the MMC interface, what you’re really doing is editing a Microsoft Common Console Document, an .msc file that stores one or more snap-ins, the console view, and the taskpad view used by each snap-in branch. You learn how to create custom MSC files in this section, but you should know that Windows Home Server comes with a large number of predefined MSC snap-ins. I’ve summarized them in Table 1.

Table 1. The Default Windows Home Server Snap-Ins
Snap-InFileDescription
Active X ControlN/ALaunches the Insert ActiveX Control Wizard, which enables you to choose an ActiveX control to display as a node. I haven’t been able to find a good use for this one yet!
Authorization Managerazman.mscUsed by developers to set permissions on applications.
Certificate Templatescerttmpl.mscEnables you to create and manage certificate templates. This snap-in requires domain access, so it doesn’t work with Windows Home Server.
Certificatescertmgr.mscEnables you to browse the security certificates on your system.
Certification Authoritycertsrv.mscEnables you to manage Certificate Services. This service is not available in Windows Home Server.
Component Servicescomexp.mscEnables you to view and work with Component Object Model (COM) services.
Computer Managementcompmgmt.mscContains a number of snap-ins for managing various aspects of Windows Home Server. You can examine hidden and visible shared folders, set group policies, access Device Manager, manage hard disks, and much more.
Device Managerdevmgmt.mscEnables you to add and manage your system hardware.
Disk Managementdiskmgmt.mscEnables you to view and manage all the disk drives on your system.
Distributed File SystemN/AEnables you to combine multiple shared network folders from multiple network clients under a single logical folder called a root.
Enterprise PKIpkiview.mscEnables you to monitor the health of components in a public key infrastructure.
Event Viewereventvwr.mscEnables you to view the Windows Home Server event logs. 
FolderN/AEnables you to add a folder node to the root to help you organize your nodes.
Group Policy Object Editorgpedit.mscEnables you to work with group policies. 
Internet Information Services (IIS) Manageriis.mscRuns the IIS Manager.
IP Security MonitorN/AEnables you to monitor Internet Protocol (IP) security settings.
IP Security Policy ManagementN/AEnables you to create IP Security (IPSec) policies.
Link to Web AddressN/AAdds a node that displays the contents of a specified web page.
Local Security Policysecpol.mscEnables you to view, enable, and configure Windows Home Server’s security-related group policies.
Local Users and Groupslusrmgr.mscEnables you to add, modify, and delete user accounts. 
NAP Client Configurationnapclcfg.mscEnables you to configure Network Access Protection (NAP) for a computer.
Network Policy Servernps.mscEnables you to create and configure network-wide access policies.
Performance Monitorperfmon.mscEnables you to monitor one or more performance counters.
Remote Desktop Services Managertsadmin.mscEnables you to manage Remote Desktop connections to network clients.
Remote Desktop Session Host Configurationtsconfig.mscEnables you to configure Windows Home Server as a Remote Desktop host.
Remote Desktopstsmmc.mscEnables you to create Remote Desktop connections to network clients.
Resultant Set of Policyrsop.mscShows the applied group policies for the current user.
Routing and Remote Accessrrasmgmt.mscEnables you to configure Windows Home Server to accept remote dial-up or virtual private network (VPN) connections.
Security Configuration and AnalysisN/AEnables you to open an existing security database or build a new security database based on a security template you create using the Security Templates snap-in.
Security TemplatesN/AEnables you to create a security template in which you enable and configure one or more security-related policies.
Server ManagerServerManager.mscEnables you to add and configure roles, features, storage, and other aspects of the server.
Servicesservices.mscEnables you to start, stop, enable, and disable services. 
Share and Storage ManagementStorageMgmt.mscEnables you to view and control the server’s shared folders and storage.
Shared Foldersfsmgmt.mscEnables you to monitor activity on the Windows Home Server shared folder.
Storage ExplorerStorExpl.mscEnables you to view advanced storage technologies on the server.
Task Schedulertaskschd.mscEnables you to schedule programs, scripts, and other items to run on a schedule.
Telephonytapimgmt.mscDisplays the current status of the telephony hardware on your system.
TPM Managementtpm.mscEnables you to configure work with Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security devices.
Windows Firewall with Advanced Securitywf.mscPresents an advanced Windows Firewall interface.
Windows Server Backupwbadmin.mscEnables you to configure Windows Home Server backups outside of the Dashboard.
WMI Controlwmimgmt.mscEnables you to configure properties related to Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). 

1. Launching the MMC

To get the MMC onscreen, you have two choices:

  • To start with a blank console, select Start, Run to open the Run dialog box, type mmc, and then click OK.

  • To start with an existing snap-in, select Start, Run to open the Run dialog box, type the name of the .msc file you want to load (see Table 20.2), and then click OK.

The initial MMC window is blank. I show you how to add snap-ins to the console in the next section.

2. Adding a Snap-In

You start building your console file by adding one or more snap-ins to the console root, which is the top-level MMC container. (Even if you loaded the MMC by launching an existing snap-in, you can still add more snap-ins to the console.) Here are the steps to follow:

1.
Select File, Add/Remove Snap-In (or press Ctrl+M). The MMC displays the Add/Remove Snap-In dialog box.

2.
Click Add. The MMC opens the Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box.

3.
Select the snap-in you want to use, and then click Add.

Tip

You can help organize your snap-ins by adding subfolders to the console root. In the list of snap-ins, select Folder and then click Add. When you return to the MMC, right-click the new subfolder and then click Rename to give the subfolder a useful name. To add a snap-in inside this subfolder, select File, Add/Remove Snap-In (or press Ctrl+M) to open the Add or Remove Snap-Ins dialog box, click Advanced, activate Allow Changing the Parent Snap-In, and then click OK. Use the Parent Snap-In list to choose the subfolder. See Figure 20.16 for some sample subfolders.

4.
If the snap-in can work with remote computers, you see a dialog box similar to the one shown in Figure 1. To have the snap-in manage a remote machine, select Another Computer, type the computer name in the text box, and then click Finish.

Figure 1. Some snap-ins can manage remote computers as well as the local machine.

5.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 to add other snap-ins to the console.

6.
Click Close to return to the Add/Remove Snap-In dialog box, which displays a list of the snap-ins you added.

7.
Click OK.

Figure 2 shows the MMC with a custom console consisting of several snap-ins and subfolders.

Figure 2. The MMC with a custom console.

Note

In Figure 20.16, the items in the Web Pages subfolder are based on the Link to Web Address snap-in, which is a special snap-in that displays the current version of whatever web page you specify. When you add the snap-in, the MMC runs the Link to Web Address Wizard. Type the web page address (either an Internet URL or a path to a local or network page), click Next, type a name for the snap-in, and then click Finish.


3. Saving a Console

If you think you want to reuse your custom console later on, you should save it to an .msc file. Here are the steps to follow:

1.
Select File, Save (or press Ctrl+S) to open the Save As dialog box.

2.
Type a filename for the console.

3.
Select a location for the console file.

Tip

By default, MMC assumes that you want to save your console file in the Administrative Tools folder. This enables you to launch the console from the Start menu. (Select Start, All Programs, Administrative Tools, and then click the console name.) However, if you want to be able to launch your console file from the Run dialog box, you should save it in the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder, along with the predefined snap-ins.

4.
Click Save.

Note

To make changes to a custom taskpad view, right-click the snap-in and then click Edit Taskbar View.

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