The Microsoft Management Console, or MMC is a utility that ships with Microsoft Windows that allows for the use of administrative tools in a clear, organizable way.

The Microsoft Management Console can run in two different modes: user mode and author mode. The user mode loads a pre-made console that contains any number of snap-ins, ActiveX Controls, folders, links to webpages, tasks, and taskpad views. The author mode allows for the creation of a new console.

When run in user mode, the MMC loads a console, which contains various administrative tasks, as described above. The console, saved as a .MSC file, is loaded through the MMC, which essentially acts as an interpreter. Inside of the console are snap-ins. Snap-ins are interfaces to tasks such as the device manager, the disk management, the local and domain user management, and the system services. In addition to this, the above listed items (ActiveX controls, etc.) can also be present in a console.

In Windows 2000 and higher, all of the Administrative Tools use the Microsoft Management Console. The main reason for this is both to create a standard on Windows for managing system/administrative tasks, but also to allow administrators to create their own MMC consoles and edit existing consoles for custom tasks. A particular upshot of this, aside from greater customization, is that the administrator can create a console with specific tasks for users with less privledges than the administrator, without having to give needless permissions.

MMC consoles appear in a two-pane window with administrative tasks listed on the left in a tree-view and details or options for the selected task on the right.

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