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Can a group policy be set to not allow local admin users to install programs?
You can take away access to the Control Panel completely or Add/Remove programs which would prevent some of it. However, it will not prevent someone from running SETUP.exe for example. You can alter the permissions for the C:Program Files and some sections of the registry -- but in general this leads to problems with applications running and management of the system by the real system administrator. I would suggest looking for another way to provide the access you are looking for give other than making the users administrators on their machines.