Guy’s Best Practice & Litmus Tests Ezine #26
Contents for Ezine #26
MMC Microsoft Management Console
It was ‘Mad’ Mick himself, who I first christened the MMC – The Mickey Mouse Console. I was therefore astonished last week when I heard him singing its praises and showing me a new trick with the Snap-ins.
Before explaining the advanced features, let us first cover the basics. The MMC – Microsoft Management Console is a wonderful utility for holding snap-ins, for example, DNS, Active Directory Users and Computers. MMC creates more than just a container, it provides a ‘mission control’ where you can configure and monitor not only the local server, but also all your Windows 2000 and later machines on the network.
To get started, either, Start (Button), Run, MMC; or else create a shortcut called MMC. Once the empty MMC shell is formed, my strategy is to fill this container with as many snap-ins as possible. Build your mission control by clicking on File (Menu), select Add/Remove Snap-in…, then click on the Add button and ‘fill your boots’. Finally, when you have filled your MMC, go to the File (Menu), Save As and save to your desktop. (If you would like another challenge, save to the All Users Desktop.)
Returning to my conversation with ‘Mad’ Mick, I thought that I would go on the attack and moan that the yellow Folder had no use in the MMC. ‘You are wrong there Guy’ he said, ‘What I do is Add Folders, then rename them to my servername, next I fill them with snap-ins so that I can remotely manage my servers.’ Well my jaw dropped, but he was right, Folders are useful for sub-dividing the marvellous MMC.
Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT)
Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets. IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:
For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges.
For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker
I still wanted to get one over on ‘Mad’ Mick so I got on my hobby horse that you cannot get Perfmon, or the System Monitor in the MMC (only the Performance Logs and Alerts). ‘Wrong again Guy’ he said, ‘The trick is to add an ActiveX Control, make sure you click on All Categories from the top drop-down menu, then select System Monitor Control’. I was amazed that Mick new this, and pleasantly surprised that I could now have my favourite Perfmon in the MMC, not to mention a new Aladdin’s cave of ActiveX controls. Try the many ActiveX controls for yourself.
The MMC has something for everyone, while taskpads are not needed for experts – like you; however, they may be handy for your less experienced colleagues. To see what the taskpads can do for beginners or nervous operators, just right-click any Snap-in and select ‘New Taskpad View’ (from the short cut menu). The wizard will guide you to create a custom console which is dedicated to one task. For example, to create a taskpad that just resets a user’s password. The idea is that a beginner clicks on the user, and then clicks on the taskpad that you made for them. The benefit is that instead of bewildering your novice colleague with hundreds of properties, the taskpad just fixates on doing one job well, in this instance, resetting the password.
Shane made my week by sending in three EventTrigger scripts. Please follow his example, and write in with your ideas especially where you take my simple ideas and extend them to new levels of excellence.
If you are interested in a good example of EventTriggers, then check out Shane’s Code
See more interesting permissions and Active Directory articles