Microsoft Operating System Features | CompTIA A+ 220-1002 | 1.5

In this video you will learn about Microsoft operating system features and tools.

Microsoft Administrative Tools

Microsoft Administrative Tools is a folder in the Control Panel that contains tools for system administration and advanced users. The tools in the folder may vary depending upon which edition of Windows a user is utilizing. To get access to any of these administrative tools:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Open the System and Security category.
  3. Click or tap Administrative Tools.
  4. Click or tap the tool you want to use.

Be mindful, for Windows 10, the easiest way to get access to any of these tools is to simply type the tool’s name in the search window.

Computer Management:  Microsoft Management Console (MMC)

Computer Management is a Microsoft Windows MMC snap-in that was first introduced with Windows XP. It allows access to admin tools, including Event Viewer, Task Scheduler, local users and groups, performance logs and alerts, Device Manager, Disk Management, and the Services manager.

Computer Management

To get access to Windows Computer Management in Windows 7:

  • Click Start, right-click Computer/My Computer, and select Manage.
  • Navigate to Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Computer Management.
  • Open the Run prompt (Windows+R) and type compmgmt.msc.

In Windows 8/8.1/10

  • Press Windows+X & select Computer Management from the menu.
  • In Computer Management, select Event Viewer > Device Manager > Local Users and Groups > Services > Disk Management

Local Security Policy

The local security policy is a Microsoft Management Console snap-in that provides information about the security of a local computer on a workgroup network. The local security policy can allow for an admin to set up an account lockout policy, specify the number of invalid login attempts allowed, lockout durations, amongst other settings.

Local Security Policies

Performance Monitor

The Performance Monitor is a system monitoring program introduced in Windows NT 3.1 It monitors various activities on a computer such as CPU or memory usage. This type of application may be used to determine the cause of problems on a local or remote computer by measuring the performance of hardware, software services, and applications.

Performance Monitor

To access the Performance Monitor in Windows 7/8/8.1:

  • Open the Run prompt
  • Type perform.exe
  • Press Enter

In Windows 10:

  • Search for Performance Monitor or just type perform in the search box
  • Click the Performance Monitor node

Services (Services.msc)

A Windows service is a computer program that operates in the background. Services can be run automatically or manually and are controlled through the Services node of the Computer Management Console. Many of the core functions of Windows are implemented as services, including features such as the print spooler, wireless network configuration, DHCP client service, and many more. Windows services can be configured to start when the operating system is started and run in the background as long as Windows is running. Alternatively, they can be started manually or by an event. You can also access the Services dialog from the Services applet in Control Panel’s Administrative Tools folder or by running Services.msc from the Run dialog.

Windows Services

Task Scheduler

Task Scheduler is a tool included with Windows that allows predefined actions to be automatically executed whenever a certain set of conditions is met. For example, you can schedule a task to run a backup script every night, or send you an email whenever a certain system event occurs. The task is saved in the Task Scheduler library.  Tasks can be edited or deleted in this folder as needed. You can also run Task Scheduler from the Run or Search box by entering taskschd.msc.

Task Scheduler

Component Services

You can use the Component Services snap-in in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to configure and administer Component Object Model (COM) components, COM_ applications, and the Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC). The Component Services is designed both for system administrators and for application developers. For example, administrators can manage components, and developers can configure routine component and application behavior, such as participation in transactions and object pooling.

Component Services

Data Sources (ODBC)

A data source configuration is a collection of information that identifies the database you want to access using the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) driver. The ODBC driver is a standard application programming interface (API) for accessing database management systems (DBMS). The designers of ODBC aimed to make it independent of database systems and operating systems. An application written using ODBC can be ported to other platforms, both on the client and server side, with few changes to the data access code. The ODBC Data Source Administrator is used to list and manage data sources and drivers. Data sources are listed by user, system, and file, and the Data Source Administrator also lists drivers and provides options for tracing and pooling data sources.

ODBC Data Source Administrator

Print Management

Print Management is a snap-in in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) that enables you to install, view, and manage all of the printers in your organization from any computer running Windows Server. Print Management provides up-to-the-minute details about the status of printers and print servers on the network. To start Print Management:

  • Open the Administrative Tools folder in Control Panel & click Print Management
Print Management

Windows Memory Diagnostics

The Windows Memory Diagnostics tool is a tool that performs a scan of your computer’s physical memory & helps identify possible errors before the Windows desktop is loaded. The user can select the type of test and number of test repetitions to perform.  The results are displayed in a pop-up message from the taskbar after the Windows desktop reloads. To launch the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool in Windows 10:

  • Type Windows memory diagnostics & select the link.
  • It can also be started by pressing Windows+R & typing mdsched.exe.
Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool

Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall (called Windows Defender Firewall in Windows 10) is a firewall security application component of Microsoft Windows. It can block unwanted traffic going into or out of the computer.

Windows Defender Firewall

Event Viewer

Event Viewer allows administrators to view the event logs, security actions, crashes, & other events on a local or remote machine. Applications and operating system components can use this centralized log service to report events that have taken place, such as failure to start a component or to complete an action.

Event Viewer

Device Manager

Device Manager is a Control Panel applet that allows users to view and control the hardware attached to the computer. When a piece of hardware is not working, the hardware is highlighted for the user to troubleshoot. The list of hardware can be sorted by various criteria.

Device Manager

To access Device Manager in Windows 7:

  1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and select Properties.
  2. Click the Device Manager link on the left side, under Tasks.

In Windows 8/8.1/10:

  1. Open the menu and click Search (8/8.1) or click the Search window (10).
  2. Search for Device Manager.
  3. Click or tap the Device Manager link.

The easiest way to access Device Manager:

  1. Press Windows+X.
  2. Click or tap Device Manager.


System Configuration (MSCONFIG.exe) is a system utility to troubleshoot the Microsoft Windows startup process. It can disable or re-enable software, device drivers and Windows services that run at startup, or change boot parameters.

System Configuration Utility

System Configuration tabs:

  • General: Enables you to select from Normal, Diagnostic (clean boot), or Selective Startup
  • Boot: Specifies how to boot a Windows system
  • Services: Disables or re-enables system services
  • Startup: Disables or re-enables startup programs
  • Tools: Used to launch System Restore, Computer Management, & other management tasks.

To access MSCONFIG in Windows 7:

  1. Click Start to open the Windows Desktop Search pane.
  2. Type MSCONFIG and press Enter.

To start MSCONFIG in Windows 8/8.1/10:

  1. Press Windows+X.
  2. Click or tap Run.
  3. Type MSCONFIG and press Enter.

Task Manager

The Task Manager is a task manager, system monitor, & startup manager included with Microsoft Windows systems. It provides information about computer performance & running software, including the name of running processes, CPU load, commit charge, I/O details, logged-in users, & Windows services. Task Manager can also be used to set process priorities, processor affinity, start and stop services, and to forcibly terminate processes.

Task Manager

Ways to display Task Manager:

  • Right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
  • Open the Run or Search box and type taskmgr.
  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and select Task Manager from the Windows Security dialog.
  • In Windows 10, enter Task Manager in the search box.

Windows 7 Task Manager tabs:

  • Applications:  Shows running applications.
  • Processes:  Displays program components that are consuming the most memory.
  • Performance:  Displays CPU, memory, pagefile, and caching stats.
  • Networking:  Lists network utilization by adapter in use.
  • Users:  Lists current users.
  • Services:  Lists services and their status.

Windows 8/8.1 Task Manager tabs:

  • Processes:  Displays apps and background processes in memory.
  • Performance:  Displays CPU, memory, disk drives, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and WiFi status.
  • App History:  Displays app resource usage in the current system session.
  • Startup:  Displays startup programs and their impact on system performance.
  • Users:  Lists current users.
  • Details:  Displays PID, status, username, CPU, and memory usage by app or service.
  • Services:  List services and their status.

Disk Management

Disk Management snap-in of the MMC is a GUI-based system utility in Windows that enables you to perform advanced storage tasks. Disk Management is accessible by right-clicking on the Windows icon (start) and selecting Disk Management from the menu that appears. Disk Management allows for you to:

  • Display drive status of connected drives.
  • Mount drives: a mounted drive is a drive that is mapped to an empty folder within a volume that has been formatted as NTFS to provide more space for temporary files and can enabled to move folders to different drives if space runs low on the current drive.
  • Initialize disks: happens when a new drive is connected, the OS may prompt to initialize it.
  • Extend partitions: enables you to extend the size of a partition (volume).
  • Split partitions: split a single partition into two or more partitions.
  • Shrink partitions: frees up space on a drive in order to install another operating system.
  • Assign/Change drive letters: used if a volume was created without a drive letter being assigned.
  • Adding drives: used to create new volumes to occupy or a portion or all of the space on an unallocated disk.
  • Adding arrays: supports basic disks, which can be bootable, and dynamic disks.
  • Storage spaces: can be used to expand storage by adding additional drives.
Disk Management

System Utilities

System Utilities is software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer. It is used to support the computer infrastructure (in contrast to application software), which is aimed at directly performing tasks that benefit ordinary users. Windows includes a variety of command line utilities that operate under the system utilities for system management. The ones you need to be concerned about for the CompTIA A+ 220-1002 exam are:

  • REGEDIT:  Launches Registry Editor
    • To start REGEDIT, open the Run or Windows Desktop Search window, type REGEDIT, and press Enter.
  • CMD:  Opens the command prompt
  • SERVICES.MSC:  Shows Windows Services
  • MMC:  Starts Microsoft Management Console
  • MSTSC:  Remote Desktop Connection. Facilitate connections to remote computers and allows full remote control.
    • To run in Win 7: Click Start, type MSTC, press Enter.
    • Win 8/8.1: Press Windows+X, click Run, type MSTC, press Enter.
    • Win 10: search for Remote Desktop.
  • NOTEPAD:  Opens the Notepad text editor/viewer.
    • Can also create batch files, scripts, and edit HTML files.
  • EXPLORER:  Starts Windows Explorer in 7 or File Explorer in 8/8.1/10
    • File management tool
    • Can view local drive/network and internet content
  • MSINFO32:  Starts Windows System Information
    • displays a great deal of info about the computer hardware and Windows installation in a system.
  • DxDiag:  Starts DirectX Diagnostic
    • displays and troubleshoots DirectX components in Windows.
  • Disk Defragment/Optimizer:  Used to increase performance (access speed) by rearranging files stored on a disk to occupy contiguous locations
  • System Restore:  Allows the PC to reset to a previous configuration
  • MSCONFIG:  Starts the System Configuration utility
  • Windows Update: Checks for the latest updates and security features and installs them automatically