This applet is solely for advanced users, who know to meddle with the system safely – typically the administrators.
It lists all the advanced system tools with the help of which, you can tweak and modify the internals of the system, like hard disk, OS performance, background services, task scheduling, print management, etc.
How to Launch It
- Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
- Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
- Select “System and Security” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
- Select “Administrative Tools”. This will launch the applet on the same control panel page.
This applet is actually just a folder, containing shortcuts to all the tools. It doesn’t do anything by itself. It is, however, a one-stop location to access all the administrative tools.
A lot of these tools are snap-ins (or add-ons) to Microsoft Management Console – the all-in-one system administration tool.
This tool is an MMC snap-in. The only reason that it comes first is the alphabetical order. Otherwise, it is a too much advanced tool. It deals with Component Object Model (COM) components and COM+ applications (COM+ is the successor of COM). If you have never heard any of these buzzwords, then you certainly should not use this tool.
An MMC snap-in, this tool includes several other tools like Task Scheduler, Event Viewer, Local Users & Groups, Device Manager, Disk Management, etc., as a part of it. You can perform several tasks like monitor system events, manage user accounts, manage remote connections, start or stop background services, and much, much more.
Defragment and Optimize Drives
As time passes, the data on your drive starts getting fragmented, i.e., it gets distributed unevenly on your hard disk. This causes an overhead when reading from or writing on disk. This tool helps you defragment the hard disk, and thus, streamline your data to one place on the disk. This causes a significant performance in hard disk operations.
Your hard disk gets filled with temporary files and folders gradually. Also, if you uninstall a program, it leaves behind bits of files and registry entries. This gradually starts taking up space on your hard disk. This tool helps you remove all those unnecessary junk data from your hard disk.
Windows has a habit of logging information whenever it faces some kind of issue. These logged data are called events. Events are logged in case of a system crash, a security issue, malfunctioning application, etc. You can view the details of such events through this tool.
iSCSI is a standard to link data storage facilities. It is used to facilitate data transfers over networks, and to manage storage over long distances. You can manage iSCSI devices through this tool.
Local Security Policy
This tool gives you access to advanced security settings pertaining to user accounts. For example, you can specify the lockout duration of a user account. You can determine the maximum password age, after which the user has to enter a new password for his or her account.
ODBC Data Sources
This tool comes in handy when you wish to move data from one type of database to another type of database. It uses the Open Database Connectivity interface in order to accomplish the transfer. Again, this is an advanced tool, which normal users may not ever require.
This tool, an MMC snap-in, logs the performance of your system. You can see real-time performance of your system, as well access its past performance records. You can check how system’s CPU, RAM, hard disks, etc., have been performing till date. There is lots of stuff that you can do with Performance Monitor.
As the name implies, you can tweak every possible setting of a printer through this tool. You can add, remove, or configure a printer. You can install drivers or remove existing drivers for printers. This tool also lists network printers and print servers.
This tool is an extremely advanced Task Manager. Using Resource Monitor, you can monitor the impact of each process on your system – how much CPU and RAM it consumes, the extent of its hard disk activity, its network activity, etc. You can individually suspend or terminate each process or service. Besides that, you get to know the real time usage of CPU, network, RAM, hard disks, etc.
This tool lists all the services that you can run in Windows. You can start or stop a service. You can tweak the properties of a service, like specifying whether it should start automatically or manually, modifying its logon account, etc.
This tool lets you configure settings related to startup. You can specify which programs as well as services should launch automatically at startup. In case of multi boot OS, you can set a default OS. If you want to debug system startup, you may specify to start the system only with basic drivers and services.
This tool provides you with the most detailed information about your system. You can check the details of each and every hardware component, like CPU, RAM, display, sound, printing device, etc., of your system. Besides that, System Information also gives detailed descriptions of software components like driver information, environment variables, network connections, running tasks and services, startup programs, etc.
If you want to schedule a task at a specific time, or on occurrence of some event, then Task Scheduler is what you are looking for. You can add a task with a specified launch time or a trigger event. Also, you can modify existing tasks scheduled by Windows itself.
Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
This tool lets you apply every tweak that you know on Windows Firewall. It lists all the current incoming and
outgoing network connection, any of which you can terminate. Windows keeps a set of incoming and outgoing rules for all the network applications. If you want to block access to an application, you can disable the rule(s) for that application from this tool.
Windows Memory Diagnostics
This tool can diagnose the memory (RAM) of your system. If you feel that your RAM is causing performance problems, then you should run this tool. It will start a memory diagnosis when the system boots next time. After the diagnosis finishes, it will provide you with the results and recommendations.
*NIX geeks can throw their Windows command-line related complaints out of the window. Windows PowerShell is an extremely powerful command-line interface with which you can tweak every corner of Windows. It provides a very powerful programming interface. You can write PowerShell script to manage any kind of administrative tasks on Windows.