Windows Tip Sheet

Manage Computers in a Snap

Take the shortcut to managing local and remote computers.

The computer management console that debuted in Windows 2000 was a welcome addition for Windows administrators. Now we had a "one-stop shop" to manage everything for not only the local system but remote systems as well. Simply type the computer name or search for it in Active Directory and voila, you are managing that system. But for me, that’s too many steps. I want to open computer management AND connect to a remote server in one step. Here’s how:

If you didn’t know, the name of the management console file is compmgmt.msc. You can quickly start the management console by typing "compmgmt.msc" in the Run box. To launch the console and connect to a remote system use this command:

compmgmt.msc /computer=SERVERNAME

Substitute SERVERNAME with the name of a server or desktop you want to manage. The management console will open, connected to the remote system. You can take this a step further and create shortcuts for all your servers. Enter this command with the right server name when prompted for the program location. Give it a meaningful name and you’re in business.

If you prefer to have a single console, create your own. Click Start | Run and enter MMC. Click File | Add/Remove Snapin. In the list of available snapins, select Computer Management. Specify a remote server and click Finish. Add the computer management snapin for every server you want to manage. And finally, save the console.

When you open the console you may notice a slight delay while all the remote connections are made (and I’d certainly be careful about trying to manage several servers at once over a slow WAN connection). But once connected you can quickly jump from server to server with only a click of your mouse.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at Petri.com, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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