In today’s Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to perform advanced customization of a Microsoft management console (MMC) by adding a taskpad.
In Create Custom MMC Consoles for Managing Windows Server on the Petri IT Knowledgebase, I showed you how to create a custom MMC to get quick access to all the tools you use on a regular basis in one console. But MMC aren’t always ideal for help desk staff because they can be complicated to navigate.
Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) gives users a complete view of the directory, even if the logged in user doesn’t necessarily have full access to all the objects. But taskpads allow IT to create highly customized MMCs where help desk staff get targeted access to the operations they’re allowed to perform. If we combine this with the ability in Active Directory (AD) to delegate permissions, we get better security and usability.
For more information about delegating control in AD, see Delegate Permission to Reset AD User Account Passwords on Petri.
Add a Taskpad View to an MMC
In the instructions that follow, I’m going to create a taskpad view that allows help desk staff to create a new AD user account when they click on the domain in ADUC. You’ll need to perform the tasks below on a device that has the Active Directory GUI management tools installed.
- In your custom MMC, click Active Directory Users and Computers in the top of the left pane.
- Select New Taskpad View… from the Action menu.
- In the New Taskpad View Wizard dialog box, click Next on the welcome screen.
- On the Taskpad Style screen, customize the taskpad by selecting the list type and other parameters. I’m going to leave the default selection of Vertical list. Once you’re done, click Next to continue.
- On the Taskpad Reuse screen, check Selected tree item, and click Next.
- On the Name and Description screen, give the taskpad a name and click Next. I’ll call my taskpad view New AD user.
- On the Completing the New Taskpad View Wizard screen, check Add new tasks to this taskpad after the wizard closes, and click Finish.
Now let’s add some tasks to the taskpad.
- Click Next on the welcome screen of the New Task Wizard.
- Check Menu command from the list of command types and click Next.
It’s also possible to run scripts, start a program, or navigate to a taskpad for a tree item in the MMC favorites list.
- On the Menu Command screen, make sure that Items listed in the results pane is selected from the Command source drop-down menu.
- In the box on the left, click your AD domain.
- In the list of available commands, select New->User from the list, and click Next.
- On the Name and Description screen, give the task a name and click Next.
- On the Task Icon screen, select an icon to represent the task, and click Next.
- Click Finish on the Completing the New Task Wizard screen.
To see the taskpad that you’ve just created, click your domain in the right pane and a link to create a new user account will appear to the left.
In this article, I showed you how to create a simple taskpad view in a Microsoft management console.