Tip

Add or modify the registry via Group Policy

With the creation of Active Directory, administrators were given a powerful tool known as the Group Policy Object (GPO). With these group policies objects you can easily setup a number of settings, configurations and software installations (basically a set of policies to apply to a system/user) into one GPO and then apply that GPO to one or many PCs or users. Everything from how the desktop wallpaper appears to how security settings should be applied to a system or user. Very powerful stuff!

Unfortunately, GPO lack one important feature, the ability to easily create a custom registry key and push that and other keys to a bunch of PCs via a single GPO. Sure, you could go through the trouble of creating an .ADM file, but they are definitely not the easiest thing to manage or create.

Finally, I found a great FREE utility (a Group Policy Management Console extension to more precise) that allows an admin to create a group policy object and then via the computer or the user settings in that GPO, send a registry key and its settings! You can use the extension to create, delete, upgrade and modify keys the registry!

Here's the site:

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http://www.desktopstandard.com/PolicyMakerRegistryExtension.aspx

I installed the Group Policy Management Console on a Windows XP desktop and then installed the PolicyMakerRegistryExtention on it. Worked like a charm! In the past, I have needed to make tons of registry changes to our PCs because of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 "enhancements," so I believe you will find use for this little tool.

Good luck and always backup before you try!

This was first published in July 2005

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