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What's New in MMC 3.0


Updated: June 7, 2016

Applies To: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server Technical Preview, Windows Vista

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 provides a framework that consists of a graphical-user interface (GUI) and a programming platform in which snap-ins (collections of administrative tools) can be created, opened, and saved. MMC is a multiple-document interface (MDI) application.

MMC does not perform the actual management tasks, but can host tools that perform them. Snap-ins are the basic components of MMC and provide the actual management programs. A stand-alone snap-in can perform its designated management task as the only snap-in loaded in the console. Extension snap-ins add functionality to a stand-alone snap-in. The MMC 3.0 SDK is a successor to the MMC 2.0 SDK, which provided an unmanaged API for creating snap-ins.

MMC 3.0 provides a framework for writing .NET-based snap-ins for managing applications. The .NET programming model simplifies snap-in development. As such, the writing of a snap-in in MMC 3.0 requires the authoring of significantly fewer lines of code. Fewer and more structured lines of code can contribute to simplified maintenance and easier debugging of snap-ins.

Unified Internet/intranet Administration

MMC provides a common administrative console interface to host varied management applications.

Task-focused development

MMC provides a means to create relationships between management objects and tasks.


MMC enables the selection of relevant administration tool snap-ins, and the ability to store the selected snap-ins as well as configuration data in portable .MSC tool files.

Extensible functionality

Custom snap-ins can be implemented to extend the administrative capability of primary snap-ins.


MMC supports multiple types of management tools that allow for the integration of Windows and web functionality.

The following are some of the improvements that make MMC 3.0 a richer development experience in comparison with its predecessor, MMC 2.0:

  • MMC 3.0 significantly reduces snap-in development costs. It takes less time to code a snap-in and get it to run.

  • A new pane called the actions pane is available. It displays available commands for the selected node (scope node) and the selected object in the result view. The actions pane provides the snap-in developer with increased clarity in communicating the facets of the management task to the end user.

  • MMC 3.0 snap-ins provide a simplified administrative experience for end users.

  • It is possible to isolate process and application domains.

  • MMC 3.0 provides Windows forms hosting capability.

  • Improved detection and reporting of snap-in problems is possible.

  • It is easier to debug and incrementally improve snap-in code because actions are logged.

  • MMC 3.0 has the ability to isolate suspended snap-ins from the console.

  • Functionally rich views can be created using one of the four available view types: list, Windows Forms, HTML, and message.

  • MMC 3.0 provides full integration with WinForm, unlike the older OCX views that were available with MMC 2.0.

  • Standard Visual Studio designer and design guidelines are available for view design.

  • Prescriptive guidance is available on standardized layout and behaviors.

  • It is easier to maintain consistency in the design of various snap-ins which results in a smoother end user experience.

These factors are contributors to improved usability:

  • Presence of an asynchronous UI model.

  • Simpler customization of consoles.

  • Discoverability of actions.

  • Availability of immediate robust status and feedback.