Step-by-Step Guide

Step 4: Software restriction with Group Policy

Another way you can prevent users from installing or running peer-to-peer applications is to implement software restriction policies. Software restriction policies are a collection of Group Policy settings in Windows Server 2003. These settings can block anyone who is running Windows XP from installing prohibited software.

When you open the Group Policy Editor, you will find the software restriction policy settings at Computer ConfigurationWindows SettingsSecurity SettingsSoftware Restriction Policies. Software restriction policies allow you to block software based on its hash, certificate, path or Internet zone.

As you can see, blocking file-sharing applications is not always a simple matter. Even so, it is important to not only block existing peer-to-peer applications, but also to remain vigilant about blocking new file-sharing applications as they become available.

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Blocking peer-to-peer applications

 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Blocking peer-to-peer applications
 Step 2: Firewalls
 Step 3: Application-level filters
 Step 4: Software restriction with Group Policy

Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit his personal Web site at
Copyright 2005 TechTarget

This was first published in July 2006

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