Window operating system comes with lot of useful tools. These tools are collectively called Administrative Tools in Windows 10 and subsequently renamed as Windows Tools in Windows 11. They are a list of smaller utilities for performing various functions like system configuration, task scheduling, overviewing hardware devices, managing security settings., etc. Though these tools are primarily useful for administrators, anyone can use them to manage their system in efficient way. If you wonder what are those tools, here is a beginners guide to Windows Administrative Tools and a brief introduction to each of them.
Access Windows Tools
Click the Start icon and then “All apps” button. Under section “A”, click “Administrative Tools” menu to expand it. Here, you can find all Windows Administrative Tools available in your system.
Alternatively, search for “Windows Tools” and open Windows Tool app.
This will take you Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Windows Tools section where you can find the list of tools.
Here is a complete list of tools available in Windows 11 in alphabetical order:
- Character Map
- Command Prompt
- Component Services
- Computer Management
- Control Panel
- Defragment and Optimize Drives
- Disk Cleanup
- Event Viewer
- Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
- iSCSI Initiator
- Local Security Policy
- ODBC Data Sources – 32 & 64 Bit
- Performance Monitor
- Power Automate
- Print Management
- Recovery Drive
- Registry Editor
- Remote Desktop Connection
- Resource Monitor
- Steps Recorder
- System Configuration
- System Information
- Task Manager
- Task Scheduler
- Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security
- Windows Fax and Scan
- Windows Media Player Legacy
- Windows Memory Diagnostics
- Windows PowerShell (and x64, x86)
- Windows PowerShell ISE (and x64, x86)
Note that the list of available tools will vary based on your Windows edition and setup. Here, we will explain all the tools available under Administrative Tools as well as Windows Tools sections.
1. Character Map
Character Map allows users to insert special characters and symbols that are not available on the keyboard. You can insert all Unicode symbols and special language characters using this app.
- Open Character Map app and a pop-up window with symbols and fonts will appear on your screen.
- Click on the character you want to use and then click on “Select” button.
- The selected character will appear in the “Characters to copy” box.
- Finally, click on “Copy” button to copy the item to your clipboard.
- Now, you can paste it anywhere by pressing “Control + V” shortcut keys.
2. Command Prompt
Command Prompt is a command line program that allows you to execute commands instead of using graphical user interface. In Windows 11, Terminal app is the default command line interface in which you can toggle Command Prompt and PowerShell.
- You can search and find Command Prompt to open in “Run as Administrator” mode. Type any valid command in the prompt and press enter to run the command.
- Let’s type sfc /scannow and press enter key. This command needs administrator access to run and will check your system for corrupted and missing files to fix them.
3. Component Services
This is a utility for developers to manage and configure COM (Component Object Model) components, COM+, and DCOM (Distributed COM) applications. As an administrator, you can deploy COM applications in network using Component Services tool.
4. Computer Management
Computer Management is a comprehensive tool that consists of multiple smaller utilities for managing administrative tasks. It has three main sections – System Tools, Storage and Services and Applications. The tools available under these sections are explained in different sections of this article separately.
5. Control Panel
Control Panel as the name indicates is a collection of quick tools and shortcuts for customizing system setup in Windows. However, Microsoft moved most of the Control Panel options to the new Settings app. though Control Panel still exists in Windows 11, soon you can expect the shutdown after completely migrating all options to Settings app.
Note: As mentioned in the introduction section, Windows Tools is one of the items available in Control Panel. When you open Windows Tools, you will find Control Panel as one of the items in the list.
6. Defragment and Optimize Drives
You can use this tool to analyze and optimize the drives connected to your system. Generally, defragmentation is the process of arranging related data together in a drive so that they can be easily accessed. Open the tool and select the drive you want to optimize and click the “Optimize” button to start the process.
7. Disk Cleanup
Disk cleanup is a system maintenance utility that helps you to free up some space to boost system performance. To clean up your disk, click on the Disk Cleanup tool and then select your desired disk and click on OK. This tool scans the disk and shows you Temporary files, downloaded program files, thumbnails, Cache, Delivery Optimization Files and Recycle Bin. You can select the desired items and clean up them.
8. Event Viewer
Event Viewer provides you with information on all the events going on in your system. It logs everything happening including Windows, Applications, and Services Logs. Open Event Viewer and check the logs from the left side menu. You may need to take action when events from an app or service is showing error or warning.
9. Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager
IIS Manager is a tool used to configure IIS web server created by Microsoft to host webpages. This tool is used to test your website on local environment before you can start hosting it on the internet. To test, go to the IIS Manager and select “Sites” from the left side pane of the window. Now, click on “Add Website” then enter details of your website, and then press OK. You need an application like WordPress to create content locally and then open localhost in Edge to view site’s content.
10. iSCSI Initiator
iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) is a tool to manage the connection between your computer and an external iSCSI storage. After opening the tool, go to “Targets” tab and enter the host name in “Target” box. Click “Quick Connect…” button to establish the connection.
11. Local Security Policy
This is one of the Windows Administrative Tools helps to configure security policies in your system. You have different sections like account, application control, software restrictio, etc. where you can find relevant policy and setup the security setting.
12. ODBC Data Sources (32-bit & 64-bit)
These Administrative Tools allow you to connect your system with Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) databases. You can connect to a SQL DB, RDBMS, Excel sheet or a plain text file using these tools. Launch 32-bit or 64-bit tool based on your need and go to “User DSN” tab. Click “Add” button and add a custom DSN. After that, go to “Drivers” tab and select the driver to complete your setup.
13. Performance Monitor
As the name indicates, this tool helps to monitor system performance either on real-time or using the recorded log file. You can use the System Diagnostics and System Performance reports generated by the system or configure your own performance counters to create user defined reports for analysis. Learn more on how to use Performance Monitor tool to create custom reports.
14. Power Automate
Power Automate is one great automation tool that enables users to automate their repetitive tasks and workflow. Open Power Automate tool and add your Microsoft account. On the homepage, you will see an option of “New flow” where you can build and edit your workflows.
15. Print Management
This is single tool to manage all your printers, printed job requests and print servers in one place. You can add, remove, setup and test the printers in your system using this tool. Learn more on how to connect a printer in Windows PC.
16. Recovery Drive
A recovery drive is a utility that is used to copy and make a backup of all the system files to an external USB drive. You can use this as a data protection option when installing or testing something on your system to avoid data lose. Open the Recovery Drive tool and click on “Next” to back up all system files.
17. Registry Editor
Registry Editor is the heart of Windows operating system allowing system administrators to create, edit and modify Windows Registry keys. You can change the configuration or settings of most of the default and third-party applications using Registry Editor. For creating a new key in Registry Editor, expand the HKEY_ section where you want to create an entry. After that, right-click on the right-side pane and then select “New > Key” option.
18. Remote Desktop Connection
Remote Desktop Connection allows you to access and edit files, and applications and transfer documents with the other device remotely. Just add the full name of the remote computer and press the “Connect” button to setup a connection. Learn more about how to setup and use Remote Desktop Connection in Windows PC.
19. Resource Monitor
This tool is similar to Task Manager and Performance Manager in Windows 11. You can use Resource Manager tool to monitor real-time CPU, Disk, Network and Memory usage in your system. If some process is using high resources, right-click on it and select “End Process” option to terminate it. Learn more on how to use Resource Monitor in Windows PC.
Run is a command line interface helps to open webpages, apps or execute commands. Simply press “Windows + R” shortcut keys to launch Run prompt. Type a correct app or command name in the text box and press enter. This will launch the app or execute the command. Check out the list of 200+ Run commands that you can use with this tool.
Services manager allows you to view and manage all services running in Windows operating system. You can start, stop or modify any applicable service’s setting. Open the tool and right-click on the service you want to start, stop or restart. Learn more about managing services in Windows.
22. Steps Recorder
Steps Recorder is an assistance tool that helps you to record all the steps you take when any error or problem occurs. This makes it easier for you to troubleshoot and also explain it to the technician to solve the problem. Click on “Start Recording” to start recording your steps and the “Stop and Review” button when you have completed the steps.
Note: This is NOT a screen recording tool. For that purpose, you can use Snipping Tool.
23. System Configuration
System Configuration is a troubleshooting tool allows you to disable functions so that you can check and fix the issue. You can select the type of startup, boot options, startup items, and use other tools.
24. System Information
If you want to know about your computer’s specs and other information about the system, you can use the System Information tool for that purpose. This tool includes a System Summary in the form of Hardware Resources, Components, and Software Environment. You can expand each section and select the available components to find their details.
25. Task Manager
Task Manager is one of the most popular and powerful Windows Administrative Tools in the list. You can use this to view and manage running processes, monitor performance, check app history, view startup apps, and other details. If any process or program is consuming high system resources, you can simply kill or enable efficiency mode to release the occupied resources.
26. Task Scheduler
Task Scheduler is another useful Windows Administrative Tools to automate several tasks. You can trigger a task automatically by scheduling it on any desired time. To create a new task, click on the “Action” tab at the top menu and select “Create Task…” Learn more on how to automate tasks in Windows PC.
27. Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security
This tool helps you to understand, modify and create rules that are applied to Windows Defender Firewall. There are three main sections of rules for you to take control over: Inbound rules, Outbound rules, and Connection Security rules.
28. Windows Fax and Scan
This is a cool Windows Administrative Tools for sending and receiving faxes from your system. You can also scan and send the documents in email or forward faxes to emails as attachment.
29. Windows Media Player Legacy
You can use this Windows Media Player Legacy app to play music, watch videos and view pictures. When first time launching this too, you will be prompted to select the Recommended or Custom settings. Choose your option, accept the privacy agreement and start using the app.
30. Windows Memory Diagnostics
Windows Memory Diagnostics tool helps you to analyze and fix the memory related issue in your computer. You should restart the computer for using this tool.
31. Windows PowerShell , Windows PowerShell (x64) and Windows PowerShell (x86)
This is a powerful command line utility to run scripts and automate tasks. This is a cross-platform tool which can run on Windows, macOS and Linux. You can launch the Terminal app and switch the interface to Command Prompt or PowerShell and start using the tool. Otherwise, search and open Windows PowerShell to launch it as a separate app.
32. Windows PowerShell ISE , Windows PowerShell ISE (x64) and Windows PowerShell ISE (x86)
PowerShell ISE (Integrated Scripting Environment) is a GUI for running and testing the PowerShell commands and scripts and is extensively used by IT professionals.
This is a rich text editing app that comes default as part of Windows Administrative Tools. You can format text and insert pictures/objects in your document.
Windows Administrative Tools or Windows Tools is a collection of apps and utilities that help to run your system smoothly, securely, and efficiently. Though these tools are primarily meant for system administrator, they are also useful for any Windows users.