Windows 2000 Administration: Working with Snap-ins

The snap-in is the basic component of a Microsoft Management Console (MMC). The key concept is that a snap-in always resides in an MMC console. Snap-ins, like plug-ins downloaded from a Web site, don't run all by themselves. By default, when you install a component that has a snap-in associated with it on a computer running Windows, the snap-in is available to anyone creating a console on that computer.

You can add a single snap-in to a console, or you can add multiple instances of a snap-in to the same console to administer different computers. Each time you add a new instance of a snap-in to a console, any variables for the snap-in are set at default values until you configure the snap-in.

So, if you configure a particular snap-in to manage a remote computer and then add a second instance of the snap-in, don't take it for granted that your new settings are in place. You have to manually reconfigure the new instance to manage the second remote computer.

As a rule, you can only add snap-ins that are installed on the computer you are using to author a console. However, in Windows 2000, if your computer is part of a domain, you can use MMC to download any snap-ins that are not locally installed, but that are available from the Active Directory directory service. From the Active Directory, you can click and drag (or select copy) to move the snap-ins you want.

The MMC supports two types of snap-ins: standalone and extension.

Standalone snap-ins

You can normally add a standalone snap-in, usually called a snap-in, to a console tree without adding another item first. (Hence the term standalone.) The majority of snap-ins fit into this category.

To add a snap-in, open the MMC and choose Console --> Add/Remove Snap-In. Of the two tabs in the Add/Remove window, the default is Standalone. Simply click the Add button and select the snap-in from the resulting window.

Extension snap-ins

An extension snap-in, usually called an extension, is always added to a standalone or extension snap-in that's already on the console tree. When you add a snap-in or extension to a console, it appears in one of two areas.

The snap-in may appear as a new item in the console tree on the left-hand pane. On the other hand, it could add context-menu items, additional toolbars, additional property pages, or wizards to a snap-in already installed in the console. If the snap-in appears, it shows up underneath an existing snap-in on the MMC console.

Adding a published extension snap-in to an MMC console

You can add a published extension snap-in by following the procedures outlined here. Luckily, most of your work is designed to get you to the Windows 2000 installation wizard programs as quickly as possible.

1. Begin by opening a saved console in author mode by doing any one of the following three things:

Right-click a file with an .msc extension, and then click Author.

Click the Start button, select Run, type mmc path\filename.msc /a, and then click OK.

Choose Console --> Add/Remove Snap-in.

2. Select the Extensions tab.

In the Snap-ins that can be extended field, click the arrow on the right.

3. Select, from the drop-down menu, the snap-in that you want to extend

4. In the Available Extensions field, select the check box next to the published extension you want to add. Click Download.

One or more of the wizard programs starts.

5. Follow the instructions on your screen, and then click OK.

You'll only be able to access extension snap-ins published in the directory if the computer you are using is

  • Running Windows 2000
  • A member of a Windows 2000 domain (not just a member of a workgroup)
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