What Is mmc.exe and What Does It Do?

What is mmc.exe and what does it do? MMC is the Microsoft Management Console is an Administrator program within Windows that allows access to advanced tools for managing desktops and servers. It isn’t for the faint of heart though as some of the tools let you plumb the depths at the core of Windows.

What Is mmc.exe and What Does It Do?

Microsoft Management Console was initially part of Windows server operating systems but was eventually included in Windows desktop OS. It is a framework within which you can add apps calls snap-ins. These snap-ins offer features that allow you to perform tasks, manage desktops and servers and a range of other things.

The typical Windows desktop user would never need these tools but if you run multiple Windows devices on a network, they may come in handy.

How to access MMC

If you’re a Windows 10 Pro user, you can access the Microsoft Management Console easily.

  1. Type or paste ‘mmc’ into the Search Windows/Cortana box. A console window will appear but it will be blank.
  2. Select File and Add or Remove Snap-in.
  3. Double click a snap-in to add them to your mmc console.

There are a range of snap-ins that allow you to perform a wide range of tasks on a local or remote computer. I tend to use Device Manager, Event Viewer, Performance and Disk Management snap-ins. While all of these are available through Control Panel, they are all in the same place within MMC. This makes managing and troubleshooting super-simple.

Other useful MMC snap-ins include Services, Task Scheduler, Computer Management and Group Policy Editor. Your mileage may vary. There are also a couple of IP-related snap-ins if you manage networks.

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How to use MMC

Let us use an example. Say you want to manage your mom’s computer in the next state but don’t want to visit her every time she calls with a computer problem. You can set up MMC to access her computer via IP address. Once you have the permissions set up you can use MMC to check Event Viewer, Device Manager and other elements of her computer. All from a single MMC window.

MMC will collect and collate data from a local or remote PC and display it within the corresponding snap-in. If you use the Device Manager snap-in, you can perform the usual tasks. So in the Mom example, I can check Event Viewer to find out what’s wrong with her computer and then use Device Manager to update a driver or force a reload of a particular device. All as if I was there in front of the PC.

That isn’t the only way to use MMC but you get the idea.

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Create a desktop shortcut for MMC

While you can easily access MMC from Search, having a desktop shortcut is very useful.

  1. Click on an empty space on your desktop and select New.
  2. Select Shortcut and type or paste ‘%windir%system32mmc.exe’.
  3. Select Next and give the shortcut a name if you like. Then hit Finish.

The shortcut will work like any other. Double click to open the Microsoft Management Console.

What to do if mmc.exe stops working

This is Windows we’re talking about so some kinds of software issues are sadly inevitable. Occasionally, MMC simply stops working. Sometimes it gives you an error but other times it won’t. So what do you do?

Our first port of call is to run a system scan.

  1. Open a CMD window as an administrator.
  2. Type or paste ‘sfc /scannow’ and hit Enter.
  3. Leave the system to check and verify.

SFC is the Windows System File Checker. It looks at all Windows core files to see if there are any corruptions or issues that need fixing. If it finds issues, it will often fix them automatically. You need do nothing until it has finished.

If that doesn’t work, we need to try DISM.

  1. Keep the CMD administrator window open.
  2. Type or paste ‘DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth && DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth’ and hit Enter.
  3. Allow the system to run its routine and fix any issues it finds

If neither SFC or DISM finds anything wrong or cannot fix MMC, your only remaining option is a Windows reset. I would only advise this if you really need to use MMC. While a reset should not impact your personal files or data in any way, there are no guarantees. Bear that in mind before proceeding.

  1. Type ‘reset’ into the Search Windows/Cortana box and select Reset This PC.
  2. Select Get Started and select Keep my files.
  3. Let the process complete and retest.

Microsoft Management Console is a very useful tool if you manage computers or multiple computers. It offers a fast way to monitor and troubleshoot local and remote computers and is a very handy tool to get to know.

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