Applying a 'master' set of policies to a number of computers in a non-AD environment

Expert Jeremy Moskowitz warns a reader about the dangers of exporting changes from a standalone workstation to other standalone workstations.

If I take a Windows 2000 or XP standalone workstation and make a range of changes using gpedit.msc, how can I then export those changes so that they can subsequently be applied to other standalone workstations? I am talking here in the context of applying a 'master' set of policies to a number of computers so that they are the same in an non-AD environment.

While there is a way to do this, I'm hesitant to describe how to do it. It's 100% unsupported from Microsoft, so...

to give you "unsupported" advice means we're entering a slippery slope together. However, one way of addressing a part of the problem is by security templates. Security templates are a "portable security knowledge" which you can create on one workstation then, if you want, walk around to the rest of your workstations and also apply. There is a good Microsoft article here about the "built in" security templates and also how to create your own and apply them as you see fit.

This was first published in January 2006

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