Deny access to Windows system properties with GPOs

Windows networking security expert Brad Dinerman tells you how to prevent your users from accessing and altering unwanted settings and properties using Group Policy Objects (GPOs).

Question: How can I prevent my users from accessing system properties with an Active Directory Group Policy Object


Brad Dinerman's answer: There are various options to accomplish your goal. In Group Policy, you can set the option to

Windows network rights management
Manage Windows network permissions and admin rights

When should I grant users Windows administrator rights?

prevent access to any control panel applet, which would include the system properties. You would do this within User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel, and then enable the option to Prohibit Access to the Control Panel.

If that option is too restrictive, however, you can set NTFS permissions just on the control panel applet (sysdm.cpl) by creating a GPO with settings at Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > File System. Right click on File System, select Add File, and then browse to c:windowssystem32sysdm.cpl. Set the permissions to deny read access for the desired users and then make certain that you apply the GPO to the appropriate OU.

This was first published in February 2008

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