This SearchWinIT.com guide introduces you to Microsoft Group Policy, explains best practices and pitfalls to avoid, and provides troubleshooting help and advice. You'll find Group Policy articles, tutorials, tips, tools, white papers, expert advice and more to pump up your Group Policy know-how quickly. Drop us an email to let me know what other learning guides you'd like to see on SearchWinIT.com.
Microsoft: "Group Policy is one of the key management technologies provided for change and configuration management in Microsoft Windows operating systems. Administrators use Group Policy to specify options for managed configurations for groups of computers and users. Group Policy includes options for registry-based policy settings, security settings, software installation, scripts, folder redirection, Remote Installation Services, and Internet Explorer maintenance."
Group Policy Quick Start
- Group Policy Object (SearchWinIT.com, powered by Whatis.com)
A defintiion of Group Policy Objects (GPO).
- Introduction to Group Policy in Windows Server 2003 (Microsoft)
This white paper introduces Windows Server 2003 Group Policy, a key feature of the IntelliMirror management technologies.
- The ABCs of GPOs (Microsoft)
This guide breaks down the basics of GPOs, and offers helpful tips for managing them and keeping them secure.
- Introducing the Group Policy Management Console (Microsoft)
The Microsoft Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is the new solution for Group Policy management that helps you manage your enterprise more cost-effectively.
- Implementing common desktop management scenarios with the Group Policy Management Console (Microsoft)
This white paper describes six scenarios for using Group Policy to manage users' desktop environments.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Group Policy (Microsoft)
This page addresses key areas of Group Policy and provides links to more information.
Group Policy Planning and Architecture
- Planning and designing your Active Directory. (SearchWinIT.com)
Active Directory is Microsoft's trademarked directory service, and an integral part of the Windows Server architecture. This learning guide offers a wealth of information to get you up-to-speed quickly.
- Chapter 8: Group Policy, Profiles and IntelliMirror for Windows 2003, Windows 2000 and Windows XP by Jeremy Moskowitz. (Sybex)
There are three basic types of profiles: local, roaming and mandatory. Each type come with its own challenges -- and you better be familiar with them before the unexpected strikes. This chapter covers folder management, default profiles, migrations, cross-forest trusts and more.
- Chapter 9: Active Directory Cookbook for Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 by Robbie Allen. (O'Reilly Media)
This chapter download offers an extensive run-down of various GPO-related problems and hands-on solutions to everything from GPO backup issues to applying stubborn GPO security filters.
- Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit: Designing a managed environment. (Microsoft)
This book provides the foundation you need to understand and deploy Group Policy within Windows Server 2003.
- Windows Server 2003 group policy infrastructure (Microsoft)
This white paper includes detailed information about Group Policy processing as well as many best practices useful to the Group Policy administrator.
Group Policy Administration and Operation
- Managing your Active Directory (SearchWinIT.com)
We've gathered together our best Active Directory administration and management resources to help you get the most out of all the new AD features and services.
- Creating custom Group Policy templates . (SearchWinIT.com)
Tips on using Group Policy to create custom policy templates to deploy features missing in Windows NT, such as Automatic Windows Updates or Windows Firewall settings.
- Chapter 7: Managing and maintaining Group Policy (McGraw-Hill/Osborne Media)
This chapter offers the inside scoop on little-known tools and methodologies, along with helpful tips and tricks on efficient Group Policy management.
- Understanding group policy (James Michael Stewart, SearchWinIT.com)
A PowerPoint presentation for understanding Microsoft Group Policy.
- Control your Group Policy, don't let it control you. (Laura Hunter, SearchWinIT.com)
Laura Hunter breaks down the use of GPOs within Active Directory.
- Improving the default domain controller Group Policy Objects. (James Michael Stewart, SearchWinIT.com)
When Windows Server 2003 is used to establish an Active Directory-based network, there are two default GPOs: the default domain GPO and the default domain controller GPO. This article recommends several ways to improve upon the default settings in these two GPOs.
- How to offer Remote Assistance to LAN users with Group Policy (SearchWinIT.com)
A brief tip on how to create a Group Policy Object (GPO) to offer remote assistance to other LAN users.
- Managing users' configurations by policy (Microsoft)
Information on setting policies to define and maintain a particular Microsoft Office 2003 configuration on user computers.
- Using Group Policy Objects to hide specified drives in My Computer for Windows 2000 (Microsoft)
With Group Policy Objects in Windows, there is a "Hide these specified drives in My Computer" option that lets you hide specific drives. However, it may be necessary to hide only certain drive, but retain access to others.
- Ways to open the Group Policy snap-in in Windows XP. (Microsoft)
You can open Group Policy in several ways, depending on the action that you want to perform and the object to which you want to apply it. The ways in which you can open Group Policy are described in this table.
- Pros and cons of using ADM templates to customize Active Directory group policies (Derek Melber, SearchWinIT.com)
Expert Derek Melber explains how to customize Registry settings to ice the Active Directory cake with newfound power and flexibility.
- Methods used to apply security settings throughout an enterprise (Microsoft)
Windows provides administrators with several different utilities that can be used for configuring computer security throughout an enterprise. This article discusses these utilities and provides some usage guidelines.
- Ten attacks you can easily avoid with Group Policy (Kevin Beaver, SearchWindowsSecurity.com)
You should always run Group Policy on your Active Directory-based systems. If you don't, plenty of attacks are just waiting to happen inside your network.
- Group Policy: The final consideration in securing Active Directory (Derek Melber, SearchWinIT.com)
Group Policy considerations can't be left out of the equation when addressing Active Directory security. Expert Derek Melber gives you an idea of some things to think about when securing Active Directory.
- Protecting against anonymous connections using GPOs (Derek Melber, SearchWinIT.com)
How to use Group Policy Objects (GPO) to protect your Windows computers from insecure anonymous connections.
Group Policy Support and Troubleshooting
- Advice for troubleshooting Group Policy for Windows Server 2003 (SearchWinIT.com)
A rundown of expert-preferred tools and procedures for troubleshooting Microsoft Group Policy.
- Group Policy Knowledgebase articles (Microsoft)
Get Group Policy help from others who have been there at this knowledgebase from Microsoft.
- Troubleshooting Group Policy in Windows 2000 (Microsoft)
This technical white paper explains how IT administrators can troubleshoot Microsoft Windows 2000 Group Policy.
- Troubleshooting Group Policy in Windows Server 2003 (Microsoft)
This guide provides a framework for troubleshooting Group Policy in an Active Directory environment, including checklists for quick fixes, a summary of troubleshooting tools, flowcharts for root cause analysis and more.
- Debugging user profile and GPO problems with Userenv logs (Microsoft)
Expert Gary Olsen walks through the basics of the Userenv.log file and shares some useful case studies that illustrate how to use Userenv to debug problems involving the user environment.
Group Policy Downloads
- Top Group Policy Downloads (Microsoft)
Find out what others are downloading with this list of most popular Group Policy downloads.
- Group Policy Settings Reference for Windows Server 2003 (Microsoft)
The Microsoft Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) with Service Pack 1 (SP1) unifies management of Group Policy across the enterprise. The GPMC consists of a MMC snap-in and a set of programmable interfaces for managing Group Policy.
- Group Policy common scenarios using GPMC (Microsoft)
- A series of desktop management scenarios implemented through Group Policy and documented in the included whitepaper. Group Policy Objects are packaged for import using the Group Policy Management Console.
- How can I pull the GPO to the W2K client computer from AD?
- How can I designate specific administrators to specific PCs?
- How can I link GPOs?
- How can I prevent users from installing software on PCs within the domain?
- Can I have OUs enforce different GPOs for password policies?
- Are group policies cumulative?
- Printer administration pointers from the experts
Click here for our Group Policy FAQ or below for a sampling of Jeremy's expert advice...