Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer many tools you can use to administer different aspects of the operating system. One less known administrative tool is Computer Management. Over the years, I have come to love this tool and use it more than any other tools. In this article I would like to share the reasons why I use Computer Management so often and what you can do with it. Hopefully, by the end of this read, you will start to use it more often.
How to Find Computer Management
Both in Windows 7 and Windows 8, opening the Computer Management is done from the Control Panel. Go to System and Security -> Administrative Tools and double click on its shortcut.
You can also search for the word management in the Windows 7 Start Menu and click on the appropriate search result.
In Windows 8 there is another way to open it: go with your mouse (or finger - when using a touch device) to the bottom left corner of the screen and click or tap on it. You will see a Start tile showing up.
Right click (or press and hold) on it and a hidden administrative menu shows up. There you will find the Computer Management entry.
You can open the same menu using only the keyboard and pressing Win + X.
When the Computer Management window is opened, it should look similar to the screenshot below.
Now... let’s see why this is such an awesome tool.
The Most Important System Tools - All in One Panel
The Computer Management tool is split into three major sections: System Tools, Storage and Services and Applications. The largest section is System Tools and includes lots of useful tools.
First, you will find the Task Scheduler. You will be able to manage all scheduled tasks or create new ones.
We have lots of tutorials on working with the Task Scheduler. The simplest is First Steps in Working With the Task Scheduler. If you are interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to read the whole series of articles found in the Task Scheduler section.
The second available tool is the Event Viewer. With it, you can view all the event logs stored by Windows and the applications installed on your computer. You can also create your own custom views that show specific data you can use to troubleshoot certain problems.
More details about the Event Viewer can be found in these tutorials: The Basics About Working with the Event Viewer in Windows and How to Work with Custom Views in the Event Viewer.
The third tool and one of my favorites is Shared Folders. It can be used to view all the folders you are sharing with the network, the active sessions and the files opened by others on the network.
You can also manage different aspects of your shared folders. More information about the tool can be found in this tutorial: How to View a List with All Shared Network Folders.
Next, you will find another useful tool: Local Users and Groups. You can use it to manage the user groups defined on your computer, user accounts and their membership to different groups.
We published some tutorials which reveal how to take full advantage of this tool: The Geek's Way of Creating User Accounts and Groups and The Geek's Way of Managing User Accounts and Groups.
NOTE: This tool is not available in the Home editions of Windows 7 or in the basic edition of Windows 8 or in Windows 8 RT.
The fifth tool is the Performance Monitor. It works as a great complement to Event Viewer when you need to understand how well your system works, if there are problems and what is causing them.
You can learn more about this tool, from this tutorial: The Basics About Working with the Performance Monitor.
The last tool in the System Tools section is the Device Manager. With it, you can quickly view the components that make up your computer and whether there are any problems with them in terms of missing drivers.
A detailed tutorial about this tool can be found here: Find Missing Drivers & Hidden Devices with Device Manager.
Manage Your Disks
The Storage section contains only the Disk Management tool.
It is an advanced tool that you can use to manage all your disks. Some of the coolest tricks that can be done with it, are shared in the following tutorials: How to Manage Your Disks using the Disk Management Utility, How to Hide or Dismount a Partition in Windows and Disk Management - How to Mount and Unmount VHD Images.
Manage Windows Services
Last but not least, you can find the Services and Applications section, from where you can manage all the services existing on your Windows computer.
You can learn more about services and how to manage them, from this tutorial: What Are Windows Services, What They Do & How To Manage Them.
As you can see from this article, Computer Management serves as a great control panel filled with useful administrative tools. I prefer it to the Administrative Tools list because it has the tools I use most, included in a single window. I don’t need to launch each tool in a separate window and this makes me more productive when setting up or troubleshooting a Windows computer.
Before you close this article, I would like you to share your favorite administrative tool(s) in Windows: Which tool(s) do you use most? Which tool(s) do you like most? Why?