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How to Create Your Own Custom Windows System Administration Panel

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Has it ever annoyed you to have to open lots of separate windows for Device Manager, Services, Event Viewer, and other system administration tools? Here’s how to pull them all together into your own custom admin panel.

We’ll accomplish this easily since most of the system admin panels are implemented as plugins for Microsoft Management Console, a wrapper framework that we’ll use to create our panel.

Create Your Custom Administration Panel

Open up mmc.exe through the Start Menu search or Run box, which will bring up an empty window that looks like this:

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Head to the File menu and choose Add/Remove Snap-in or just hit the Ctrl+M shortcut key.

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On the left-hand side you’ll see lots of familiar items like Computer Management and Device Manager. Select the ones you want on the left-hand pane, and then click the Add button. (You have to add them one at a time)

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You’ll be presented a dialog where you can choose which computer you would like the snap-in to manage. You can use this for easy access to other computers over the network. Note that you can add the same snap-in multiple times, and choose a different computer to manage for each item you add.

For our purposes, just click the Finish button.

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You might have noticed an interesting item in the list named “Link to Web Address”, which is very useful for showing something like your wireless router’s administration page, right inside your custom administration panel. Just drop the URL into the box.

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You’ll want to give it a name, which will show up on the left-hand menu in the console.

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Now that we’re all finished, you can see what it looks like. All of the items work just like you would expect.

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If you were to select the Linksys Administration item that we added earlier, you easily administrate your router without leaving your panel.

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Now you’ll want to head to File –> Options and change the Console Mode to “User mode – full access”, and then selecting the “Do not save changes to this console” item—this is really important, otherwise you’ll get an annoying prompt every time you try and close the panel.

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Now head to File –> Save As and save your console file somewhere, preferably giving it a useful name. Here’s our panel, for instance:

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That’s all there is to it. You should also note that you can open up multiple instances of your custom administration panel.

Making Changes to Your Console

If you decide that you want to change the console, you can simply right-click on the file and choose “Author” from the menu—you won’t be able to make changes otherwise.

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Of course, you wouldn’t need to do this if you didn’t select the “Do not save changes to this console” item earlier, but then you’d get prompted to save every single time you close the console, which is more annoying than having to right-click to make changes.


Just like that, you’ve got your own customized administration panel. What will you use it for?

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/11/10

Comments (27)

  1. Hatryst

    I don’t have any idea what i can use it for =)

  2. Matthew Guay

    Woah … I am totally adding my routers like that in 3… 2… 1…

  3. Alexx

    Awsomeeeeeeee.
    All system tasks in one place.
    I even changed the icon :D

  4. David

    I have used this for years, but the new item is adding the web panels to it, like the router. Very cool!!!

  5. Derek

    Awesome tip! One question is how to add it to the Windows 7 Taskbar. I’ve tried right-clicking on it and the option to pin it isn’t available.

    Any suggestions?

  6. Robert

    @Derek – It worked for me. The option, for me at least, is towards the middle of the context menu. Worst case, you could always drag it down to the taskbar – that should create the link too ;o)

  7. Derek

    I think the problem was I had it saved out to a network drive. Once I moved it to my local computer, I had the options to pin it to taskbar.

    Sometimes Microsoft’s decisions on stuff make absolutely no sense.

    OK, who am I kidding…let’s make that most of the time.

  8. Alex

    Can this be done on Windows 7?

  9. Anon

    Time saving awesome.

    Better than going through Start Menu\Right click My Computer\Manage. Same with Run\services.msc.

    Love the Link to web Address. Also works if you have your router set as https. LTWA accepted certificate just perfect.

    All-in-One Coolness.

    Thanks.

  10. kggy

    It works with XP SP3 as well. Nice and handy!

  11. Mohammad Elsheimy

    Very useful, thanks for sharing! :)

  12. Timothy873261.0

    ya works with xp too but is lacking the better snapins

  13. Aashish V

    Old Trick. I used to do this with SQL Server 7.0 running on Win2000 Server in year 2001-02. This is a kind of collection of your mostly used admin consoles at one location. START–> RUN –> mmc /a … gives you a blank MMC console, to which you can ADD Snap-ins, as required. Nice concept though … ! Cheers Mate ..!

  14. David

    Fantastic way to organise admin tools. Thanks guys – keep em coming.

  15. haxialelite

    Very useful. I operate several websites, and I added links to the administration backend. Now just click, password; ready to work. Much quicker than opening my browser, clicking a bookmark or typing a url; besides, I use several different browsers (except IE), and don’t want bookmarks to my admin panels in all of them. Thanks; again, very useful.

  16. HuyLuan

    Thank for your tuts,

  17. RoyCalderon

    Amazing info very useful for admin my home/work pc groups!

  18. Raghuveer

    Thank you ….. its very use full geek….!!!

  19. Ellie

    Awesome! Thank you very much!

  20. vonvon

    thank

  21. Ronin Vladiamhe

    Very useful and time-saving. Hey, does that ‘toolbox’ icon come standard, or is it something to be added afterwards?

  22. Roi

    I use this to set restrictions on other people’s accounts on my computer.

  23. anonEmuss

    Cool. Couldn’t find the firewall, performance, or task scheduler snap-ins on my old Dell laptop (XP, SP2). However, I did add the defrag option.

  24. vilma

    Love it love it love it :D

  25. deepan kumar

    s good….. i understood it… but,what s the use of it…..
    i dont know about that , where i want use this,……..

  26. edcamer

    this is cool!!!!!works for me on my windows 7!!!!!!!!thanks…..

  27. vinod kumar

    How to Create Your Own Custom Windows System Administration Panel – i dont know about option so can you help me why use this option

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