Group policies without Active Directory

Run Win2k clients in mixed environment without AD with the the ability to centrally administer group policies.

Running Win2k clients in a mixed environment without Active Directory running normally does not allow for central administration of user/group policies. However, by installing the NT version of Policy Editor locally on the Win2k machine, opening Poledit.exe and opening the local policy, you can tell the client to pick up its user/computer policies locally, while still being able to centrally manage the policies.

  1. Copy the poledit.exe to the local machine. (Hint: create a folder called 'Pol' in the C:Winnt folder and place the Poledit.exe there, as well as save your pol file there. Then, when you're finished this exercise, change the attribute on the pol folder to 'hidden.')
  2. Open Poledit.exe and open the Default Computer policy.
  3. Expand Computer, Network, System Policies Update.
  4. Check the 'Remote Update' box, change Update mode from 'Automatic to Manual and enter the full, local path to the policy (pol) file you're about to create. Be sure to enter the ".pol" extension of the pol file in this path as well.
  5. Save this new policy file to the path you stipulated in the 'Remote Update Path' field.
  6. Reboot the computer. The policies should take effect. If they don't, you may have to reboot the computer a second time.

Copy the working pol file to your own machine, along with a copy of poledit.exe. You can now manage your client Win2k workstations 'centrally' by using your own, copied version of the current pol file, then copying/overwriting the existing pol file on your clients whenever you make policy modifications, either through a logon script or through a batch file in e-mail that the users run.

This creates a lot of flexibility with the local policies and supplements the current Win2k local policies, which still run. For more information on this, you can read Microsoft's knowledge base article Q274478.


This was first published in November 2001

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