Q

Can I overwrite a setting when the GPO is applied?

I am trying to determine the best method to modify registry keys stored in HKCU using group policy. I have successfully accomplished this but keys are only written once, and are not rewritten after a reboot.

For example, I created a user administrative template to set the registry value for a key sorted in HKCUSoftwareYahooPager that sets the application to use a proxy server. This works fine, but if the user alters the value (from the apps UI) the altered value is not overwritten by the GPO. If I make a change to the GPO the registry values are written again. According to Microsoft KB article 227448, if the GPO has not changed from the last time Group Policy was applied, the GPO is skipped and not applied again.

I am able to find more than enough information about using GPO for HKLM keys; in fact other policies I have in HKLM give me the option to enable auditing. I want users to be able to install the application and create & write to this key the first time, I just want to overwrite the setting when the GPO is applied.
What you are talking about may be worth doing by having a run-once Registry patch applied after the program is installed -- say, through an .MSI package. One of the problems with using Group Policies is that they are intended to be applied consistently, rather than just as a one-shot -- even in a scenario like this, where you're talking about the GPO overwriting an existing setting.

This was first published in April 2004

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