The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is an application that provides a graphical-user interface (GUI) and a programming framework in which consoles (collections of administrative tools) can be created, saved, and opened. MMC was originally released as part of the Windows 98 Resource Kit, and is included on all later versions. It uses a Multiple Document Interface (MDI) in an environment similar to Microsoft's Windows Explorer. MMC is considered to be a container for the actual operations, and is known as a "tools host." It does not, itself, provide management, but rather a framework in which management tools can operate.
Consoles are used to manage Windows-based hardware, software, and networking components, and include items such as controls, wizards, tasks, documentation, and snap-ins which may be from Microsoft or other software vendors, or user-defined. To create a console, the administrator runs the MMC executable file to open an empty console and chooses from among a list of all the tools installed on the system (such as, for example, certificate server manager, device manager, and DNS manager). Because consoles exist as files, an administrator can create them and then send them as e-mail attachments to developers responsible for specific tasks.