Windows 7 : Windows Management and Maintenance - Administrative Tools

10/12/2013 7:38:20 PM

The Administrative Tools icon in the Control Panel’s Large Icons or Small Icons view (it’s also located in the System and Security category) is not a single program; rather, as the name implies, it provides a convenient way to access a variety of specialized tools you can use to manage more technical aspects of your Windows 7 system.


For easy access, you can also customize the Start Menu so that Administrative tools appears in it. To do this, right-click Start, select Properties, Customize. Scroll down the list and under System Administrative Tools, select Display on the All Programs Menu.

The Administrative Tools are listed in Table 1. Several of the items are discussed elsewhere, as noted in the Table. The remaining items are discussed in the following sections.

Table 1. Administrative Tools
Administrative ToolRemarks
Component ServicesThis tool lets you manage COM+/DCOM objects and is primarily for software developers.
Computer Management
Data Sources (ODBC)This tool is used by program developers and network database integrators.
Event Viewer
iSCSI InitiatoriSCSI Initiator lets your computer to connect to network-attached storage.
Local Security Policy
Performance Monitor
Print ManagementThis tool lets you manage printers and print servers.
ServicesThe Services tool lets you manage the software services that work behind the scenes in Windows.
System ConfigurationSystem Configuration lets you manage programs that run when Windows starts or when you log on.
Task Scheduler
Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
Windows Memory Diagnostics
Windows PowerShell Modules PowerShell is an enormous topic and is covered in detail in Windows PowerShell 2.0 Unleashed, published by Sams.

Figure 1 shows a typical view of the Administrative Tools window on a Windows 7 Ultimate system. Home Premium and Home Basic versions of Windows 7 do not include the Local Security Policy and Print Management tools.

Figure 1. The Administrative Tools window.

In the following sections, I discuss the Administrative Tools that aren’t covered elsewhere (as indicated in Table 1).

Component Services

Component Services (Figure 2) provides an extremely detailed view of COM+ Applications and DCOM Config, while also listing Running Processes, and Distributed Transaction Coordinator transactions and statistics. To see more information about the items listed in the COM+ and DCOM Config categories, right-click each item and select Properties.

Figure 2. Component Services (MMC) with some nodes expanded.

The General tab of the properties sheet for items in the COM+ category lists the DLL file used by the application, its CLSID and application number; the Transactions tab lists the transaction setting for the program; the Security tab lists the authorization settings and roles used for the item; the Activation tab displays the activation context and object pooling settings used by the item; the Concurrency tab displays the synchronization support and threading model used by the item; the Advanced tab lists other settings such as IIS support.


The Components Services tools are really intended for use only by application developers. Unless you’re developing or deploying sophisticated distributed applications, you should never (hopefully) have to encounter these tools.

The General tab of the properties sheet for items in the DCOM Config category lists the application name, Application ID. Application type, and local path. The Location tab can be used to run the application on the local computer, remotely, or where the data for the application is located. The Security tab lists the launch and activation, access, and configuration permissions. The Endpoints lists the DCOM protocols and endpoints used by the application. The Identity tab is used to specify the user or system account used to run the program.

For more information on managing COM+ and DCOM applications, open the Help menu, select Help Topics, and open the Component Services Administration node. For convenience, the Component Services window also includes entries for the Event Viewer and Services management tools.

iSCSI Initiator

iSCSI Initiator lets your computer connect to and use iSCSI devices such as disk and tape drives, optical drives, storage libraries, and other devices over a corporate IP network. This type of network is often referred to as a storage area network (SAN). When you run iSCSI Initiator, you must provide Administrator-level credentials unless UAC has been disabled.

When you start iSCSI Initiator on a system that uses Windows 7 Firewall, you see a dialog box asking to unblock this service so that it can connect with an Internet storage name service. Click Yes. You may also be prompted to enable iSCSI Initiator to start automatically when the system starts. You should also click Yes on this dialog box if you plan to use iSCSI devices at all times. Otherwise, you must manually start iSCSI Initiator.

The iSCSI Initiator Properties dialog box has six tabs:

  • General— Opens automatically when you start iSCSI Initiator and shows the current name of the initiator. Click Change to rename the initiator. If your iSCSI connection uses mutual CHAP authentication, click Secret to set up a CHAP secret. To set up IPsec tunneling, click Set Up.

  • Discovery— Use to set up Target portals (a target is an iSCSI device) and iSNS servers. Get the IP addresses, port numbers, and DNS names from your SAN or network administrator.

  • Targets— Use to log on to iSCSI targets and display their details. To automatically log on to a target when you restart your computer, click the Automatically Restore This Connection When the Computer Starts check box.

  • Favorite Targets— Lists automatically logged-in targets.

  • Volumes and Devices— Use to autoconfigure Favorite Targets or to specify the programs or services that use a particular target.

  • RADIUS— If your SAN uses RADIUS authentication services, use this tab to specify RADIUS servers and to specify RADIUS login credentials (also known as RADIUS secrets).

Print Management

The Print Management shortcut in Administrative Tools opens the MMC Print Management snap-in. It enables you to control all the printers on your system from a single management window, which can be a great convenience if you’re a network manager, or even a home user with multiple printers. Custom filters show printers with jobs, printers that are not ready, printer drivers, and other information.

System Configuration

Use the System Configuration utility (msconfig.exe) to disable or enable startup programs, adjust boot options, enable or disable startup services, and run various reporting and diagnostic tools.

System Configuration can be run from the Administrative Tools window, or by using the Run command in the Start menu. (Select Start, All Programs, Accessories, Run, type msconfig, and click OK.)

System Configuration opens to the General tab. By default, Normal startup is selected. Normal startup runs all device drivers and services. Other options include

  • Diagnostic startup— Runs basic devices and services only; equivalent to starting the system in Safe Mode

  • Selective startup— Starts the system with an option to disable all system services, all startup items, or both

To adjust boot options with the built-in boot configuration data (BCD) editor, click the Boot tab (see Figure 3). The options on the Boot tab match the options available when you press F8 at startup and display the Advanced boot configuration menu. To boot the system to the Safe Mode GUI, click the Safe Boot check box and select Minimal. Other options include Alternative Shell (boots to the command prompt without network support); Active Directory Repair (boots to the Windows GUI and runs critical system services and Active Directory); and Network (boots to Safe Mode GUI with network services enabled).

Figure 3. The Boot tab of System Configuration.

Other options you can select include No GUI Boot (disables the Windows splash screen); Boot Log (creates a boot log of startup activities stored as a ntbtlog.txt file in the default SystemRoot folder, usually C:\; Base Video (starts Windows GUI using standard VGA drivers); OS Boot Information (lists driver names as drivers are installed during boot).

Generally, these options are used for diagnostics, but if you want to make a particular combination of settings permanent (until you change them again), click the Make All Boot Settings Permanent check box.

Click the Advanced Options button if you need to specify the number of processors, lock PCI settings, detect the HAL used by the system, or configure a serial (COM), USB, or 1394 port for remote debugging.

The Services tab is used to disable or enable Microsoft and third-party services (note that some Microsoft services cannot be disabled), whereas the Startup tab (see Figure 4) is used to disable or enable startup programs. Note that the Startup tab lists the date a particular startup program was disabled, if applicable.

Figure 4. The Startup tab of System Configuration.

The Tools tab is used to launch various reporting and diagnostic tools found in the \Windows\System32 folder, including the following:

  • About Windows

  • Change UAC Settings

  • Action Center

  • Windows Troubleshooting

  • Computer Management

  • System Information

  • Event Viewer

  • Programs

  • System Properties

  • Internet Options

  • Internet Protocol Configuration

  • Performance Monitor

  • Task Manager

  • Command Prompt

  • Registry Editor

  • Remote Assistance

  • System Restore


The Autoruns for Windows tool, available from Microsoft’s Sysinternals website at, provides a much better and more detailed way to view and control startup programs than MSConfig does.

For a comprehensive database of startup programs and a useful discussion of Autoruns and other programs used to determine what’s happening at startup, see


To copy the command for a particular tool, select the tool, highlight the command string in the Selected Command window, and press Ctrl+C. To paste the command string into a text editor or other program in the Windows GUI, use Edit, Paste, or Ctrl+V. To paste the command string into the command-prompt environment, right-click the Command Prompt window and select Paste.

The command line for each command is shown when you select the command, making it easy to create batch or script commands to run combinations of these tools. To start a tool, select it and click Launch.

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