Software & Apps Windows 39 39 people found this article helpful Administrative Tools How to Use Administrative Tools in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, & XP by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on July 16, 2020 Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email Administrative Tools is the collective name for several advanced tools in Windows that are used mainly by system administrators. It's available in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server operating system. Below is a list of programs you'll find in Administrative Tools, complete with summaries, which versions of Windows they appear in, and links to more details about the programs, if we have any. What Are Administrative Tools Used For? The programs can be used to schedule a test of your computer's memory, manage advanced aspects of users and groups, format hard drives, configure Windows services, change how the operating system starts, and much, much more. How to Access Administrative Tools Since it's a Control Panel applet, it can be accessed via Control Panel. To find it, first, open Control Panel and then choose Administrative Tools. If you're having trouble finding the Administrative Tools applet, change the Control Panel view to something other than Home or Category, depending on your version of Windows. For example, in Windows 10 or 8, you'd change the "View by" option to Large icons or Small icons. The tools available in Administrative Tools can also be accessed through the special GodMode folder, but that's only useful if you've already enabled GodMode. How to Use Administrative Tools This suite of tools is basically a folder that contains shortcuts to other parts of Windows where the tools are actually located. Double-clicking or double-tapping one of these shortcuts will start that tool. In other words, Administrative Tools itself doesn't do anything. It is just a location that stores shortcuts to related programs that are actually stored in the Windows folder. Most of the available programs are snap-ins for the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Component Services Component Services is an MMC snap-in used to administer and configure COM components, COM+ applications, and more. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows XP. This tool does exist in Windows Vista (execute comexp.msc to start it) but for some reason wasn't included within Administrative Tools in that version of Windows. Computer Management Computer Management is an MMC snap-in used as a central location to manage local or remote computers. It includes Task Scheduler, Event Viewer, Local Users and Groups, Device Manager, Disk Management, and more, all in a single location. This makes it really easy to manage all the important aspects of a computer. You can find it within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Defragment and Optimize Drives Defragment and Optimize Drives opens Microsoft Drive Optimizer, the built-in defragmentation tool in Windows. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10 and Windows 8. Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP all have defragmentation tools included but they're not available via Administrative Tools in those versions of Windows. Other companies make defrag software that competes with Microsoft's built-in tools. See our list of free defrag software for some of the better ones. Disk Cleanup Disk Cleanup opens Disk Space Cleanup Manager, a tool used to gain free disk space by removing unnecessary files like setup logs, temporary files, Windows Update caches, and more. It's part of Administrative Tools in Windows 10 and Windows 8. You can also find it in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, but the tool isn't available via Administrative Tools. A number of "cleaner" tools are available from companies other than Microsoft that do a lot more than what Disk Cleanup does. CCleaner is one of our favorites but there are other free PC cleaner tools out there, too. Event Viewer Event Viewer is an MMC snap-in used to view information about certain actions in Windows, called events. It can sometimes be used to identify a problem that has occurred in Windows, especially when an issue has occurred but no clear error message was received. Events are stored in event logs. A number of Windows event logs exist, including Application, Security, System, Setup, and Forwarded Events. Application specific and custom event logs exist in Event Viewer as well, logging events that occur with and are specific to certain programs. This is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. iSCSI Initiator The iSCSI Initiator link in Administrative Tools starts the iSCSI Initiator Configuration Tool. This program is used to manage the communication between networked iSCSI storage devices. Since iSCSI devices are typically found in an enterprise or large business environments, you typically only see the iSCSI Initiator tool used with Server versions of Windows. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. Local Security Policy Local Security Policy is an MMC snap-in used to manage Group Policy security settings. One example of using Local Security Policy would be requiring a minimum password length for user passwords, enforcing a maximum password age, or making sure any new password meets a certain level of complexity. Pretty much any detailed restriction you can imagine can be set with Local Security Policy. Local Security Policy is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. ODBC Data Sources ODBC Data Sources (ODBC) opens ODBC Data Source Administrator, a program used to manage ODBC data sources. ODBC Data Sources is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10 and Windows 8. If the version of Windows you're using is 64-bit, you'll see two versions, both an ODBC Data Sources (32-bit) and an ODBC Data Sources (64-bit) link, that are used to manage data sources for both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. ODBC Data Source Administrator is accessible via Administrative Tools in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP as well but the link is named Data Sources (ODBC). Memory Diagnostics Tool Memory Diagnostics Tool is the name of the shortcut in Administrative Tools in Windows Vista that starts Windows Memory Diagnostic on the next reboot. This utility tests your computer's memory to identify defects, which may ultimately require you to replace your RAM. It was renamed Windows Memory Diagnostic in later versions of Windows. You can read more about it near the end of this list. Performance Monitor Performance Monitor is an MMC snap-in that's used to view real-time, or previously recorded, computer performance data. Advanced information about your CPU, RAM, hard drive, and network are just a few of the things you can view via this tool. Performance Monitor is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. In Windows Vista, the available functions are part of Reliability and Performance Monitor, available from Administrative Tools in that version of Windows. In Windows XP, an older version of this tool, simply called Performance, is included in Administrative Tools. Print Management Print Management is an MMC snap-in used as a central location to manage local and network printer settings, installed printer drivers, current print jobs, and much more. Basic printer management is still best performed from Devices and Printers (Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista) or Printers and Faxes (Windows XP). Print Management is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. Recovery Drive Recovery Drive is a tool used to copy system files to a USB device so that, in the event of a problem, you can repair Windows or reinstall the whole operating system. It's included in the Windows 10 Administrative Tools only, but you can open it elsewhere in Windows 8. Older versions of Windows have other recovery options, such as the System Repair Disc in Windows 7. Registry Editor Registry Editor is the built-in editor for the Windows Registry. There's little reason for the average computer user to access this tool, but some deep customizations and troubleshooting does take place through Registry Editor. How to Use Registry Editor to Make Registry Changes Registry Editor is available from Administrative Tools only in Windows 10. However, the tool itself is available in other versions of Windows, too, through the 'regedit' command. Reliability and Performance Monitor Reliability and Performance Monitor is a tool used to monitor statistics about system issues and important hardware in your computer. It's part of Administrative Tools in Windows Vista. In Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, the "Performance" features of this tool became Performance Monitor, which you can read more about at the bottom of this list. The "Reliability" features were moved out of Administrative Tools and became part of the Action Center applet in Control Panel. Resource Monitor Resource Monitor is a tool used to view details about current CPU, memory, disk, and network activity that individual processes are utilizing. It's included in Administrative Tools in Windows 10 and Windows 8. Resource Monitor is also available in Windows 7 and Windows Vista but not via Administrative Tools. In those older versions of Windows, execute resmon to quickly bring it up. Services Services is an MMC snap-in used to manage the various Windows services existing that help your computer start, and then keep running, as you expect. The Services tool is most often used to change the startup type for a particular service, which changes when or how the service is executed. Choices include Automatic (Delayed Start), Automatic, Manual, and Disabled. This is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. System Configuration The System Configuration link starts System Configuration, a tool used to help troubleshoot some kinds of Windows startup problems. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. In Windows 7, the tool can be used to manage the programs that launch when Windows starts up. It's also available in Windows XP but just not within Administrative Tools. Execute msconfig to start it. System Information The System Information link opens the System Information program, a tool that displays incredibly detailed data about the hardware, drivers, and most parts of your computer. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10 and Windows 8. The System Information tool is included with Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP as well but just not within Administrative Tools; execute msinfo32 to start it in those earlier versions of Windows. Third-party system information programs can also be used to view specific details about your computer. Task Scheduler Task Scheduler is an MMC snap-in used to schedule a task or program to run automatically on a specific date and time. Some non-Windows programs may use Task Scheduler to set up things like a disk cleanup or defrag tool to run automatically. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. A task scheduling program, called Scheduled Tasks, is also included in Windows XP but is not part of this toolset. Windows Firewall With Advanced Security Windows Firewall with Advanced Security is an MMC snap-in used for advanced configuration of the software firewall included with Windows. Basic firewall management is best performed via the Windows Firewall applet in Control Panel. Some versions of windows call this Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security. It's included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. The firewall built-in to Windows is enabled by default, but you can always disable it and use a third-party program. There are plenty of free firewall programs to pick from. Windows Memory Diagnostic The Windows Memory Diagnostic link starts a scheduling tool for running Windows Memory Diagnostic during the next computer restart. It tests your computer's memory when Windows isn't running, which is why you can only schedule a memory test and not run one immediately from within Windows. This is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. This tool is also available in this folder in Windows Vista but is referred to as Memory Diagnostics Tool. There are other free memory testing applications that you can use besides Microsoft's, which we rank and review in our list of free memory test programs. Windows PowerShell ISE Windows PowerShell ISE starts Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE), a graphical host environment for PowerShell. PowerShell is a powerful command-line utility and scripting language that administrators can use to control various aspects of local and remote Windows systems. Windows PowerShell ISE is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 8. It's also available in Windows 7 and Windows Vista but not via Administrative Tools—those versions of Windows do, however, have a link to a PowerShell command line. Windows PowerShell Modules The Windows PowerShell Modules link starts Windows PowerShell and then automatically executes the ImportSystemModules cmdlet. Windows PowerShell Modules is included within Administrative Tools in Windows 7. You'll also see it as part of Administrative Tools in Windows Vista but only if the optional Windows PowerShell 2.0 is installed. Windows PowerShell 2.0 can be downloaded for free from Microsoft here as part of the Windows Management Framework Core. Additional Administrative Tools Some other programs may also appear in Administrative Tools in certain situations. For example, in Windows XP, when Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 is installed, you'll see both Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Configuration and Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Wizards.