Network Administration: Microsoft Management Console Taskpads

A taskpad is a customized page that’s displayed within a Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Taskpads are designed to provide quick access to the most common chores for a particular snap-in. A taskpad can display shortcuts that run programs, execute menu commands, open web pages, or open folders.

For example, the illustration below shows a simple taskpad that created for managing local user accounts. As you can see, it includes icons that let you quickly add an account, delete an account, and change an account’s password.

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To add a taskpad, follow these steps:

  1. Select the tree node where you want the taskpad to appear.

    Each taskpad you create is specific to a tree node. For example, the taskpad shown above is displayed only when you select a user account. To create this taskpad, open the Local Users and Groups node and select the Users node.

  2. Choose Action→New Taskpad View.

    This step brings up the New Taskpad View Wizard.

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  3. Click Next.

    The Taskpad Style page appears.

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    This page provides the following options for formatting the taskpad display:

    • Vertical List: If you want to include the list from the details page, you can select this option to place taskpad icons to the left of the list. This is the option selected for the taskpad shown in the first illustration.

    • Horizontal List: This option places the taskpad icons beneath the details page list.

    • No List: This option creates a taskpad with no list, just taskpad icons.

    • Hide Standard Tab: Each taskpad can have a standard view, which simply lists all of the items in the taskpad without showing custom tasks. The Hide Standard Tab check box, which is selected by default, hides this tab. Most of the time, you’ll want to leave this check box selected.

    • Text: This option displays descriptive information beneath each taskpad icon.

    • InfoTip: This option displays descriptive information as a pop-up tip that appears when you hover the mouse over the icon.

    • List Size: This drop-down list lets you select how much of the taskpad area should be devoted to the list. The options are Small, Medium, and Large.

    It’s a good thing this wizard wasn’t designed by a fast-food company. If it was, the options for List Size would be Large, Extra Large, and MegaSuperKing.

  4. Select the taskpad options you want and then click Next.

    The next page of the wizard presents two options that let you control when the taskpad should be displayed. The choices are:

    • Selected Tree Item: The taskpad will be displayed only for the specific tree item that you selected in Step 1.

    • All Tree Items That Are the Same Type as the Selected Item: The taskpad will be displayed not only for the selected tree item, but also for other items of the same type. This is the more common option.

  5. Select the taskpad display option and then click Next.

    The next page of the wizard asks for a name and description for the taskpad.

  6. Type a name and description for the taskpad and then click Next.

    The final page of the New Taskpad View Wizard is displayed.

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  7. Select the Add New Tasks to This Taskpad After the Wizard Closes check box and then click Finish.

    This completes the New Taskpad View Wizard but automatically launches the New Task Wizard so that you can begin adding tasks to the taskpad. The New Task Wizard begins by displaying a typical greeting page.

  8. Click Next.

    The page shown below is displayed. This page lets you select one of three types of shortcuts to create on the taskpad:

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    • Menu Command: This option lets you choose one of the console’s menu commands. All three of the shortcuts shown in the first taskpad are menu commands.

    • Shell Command: Lets you run another program, start a batch file, or open a web page.

    • Navigation: Lets you go to one of the views you’ve added to the Favorites menu. (If you want to add shortcuts that navigate to different taskpads in a console, first add each taskpad view to your Favorites menu by navigating to the taskpad and choosing Favorites→Add to Favorites.)

  9. Choose the type of shortcut command you want to create and then click Next.

    The page that’s displayed next depends on which option you selected in Step 8. The rest of this procedure assumes you selected the Menu Command option, which displays the following page.

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  10. Choose the command you want to use and then click Next.

    The available commands are listed in the Available Commands list box. Note that you can bring up several different lists of available commands by choosing an option in the Command Source drop-down list.

    When you click Next, the wizard asks for a name and description for the command you’ve selected.

  11. Enter a name and description for the command and then click Next.

    This step brings up the following page.

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  12. Choose the icon you want to use and then click Next.

    Note that in many cases, the New Task Wizard suggests an appropriate icon. For example, if you select a Delete command, the standard Delete icon will be selected.

    When you click Next, the final page of the wizard is displayed.

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  13. If you want to create additional tasks, select the When I Click Finish, Run This Wizard Again check box and then click Finish and repeat Steps 8 through 13.

    You can run the wizard as many times as necessary to add tasks to your taskpad.

  14. When you’re finished adding tasks, deselect the When I Click Finish, Run This Wizard Again check box and click Finish.

    You’re done!

Here are a few other pointers for working with taskpads:

  • You can edit an existing taskpad by selecting the tree node that displays the taskpad and choosing Action→Edit Taskpad View. This brings up a Properties dialog box that lets you change the taskpad layout options and add or remove tasks.

  • To delete a taskpad, select the tree node that displays the taskpad and choose Action→Delete Taskpad View.

  • Don’t forget to save (File→Save) often while you’re creating custom taskpads.