Group Policy

Contributor(s): Ben Rubenstein
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Windows 7 guide: Before, during and after migration

Group Policy is a hierarchical infrastructure that allows a network administrator in charge of Microsoft's Active Directory to implement specific configurations for users and computers. Group Policy can also be used to define user, security and networking policies at the machine level. 

Group Policy allows administrators to define options for what users can do on a network – including what files, folders and applications they can access.  The collections of user and computer settings are referred to as Group Policy Objects (GPOs), which are administered from a central interface called the Group Policy Management Console. Group Policy can also be managed with command-line tools such as gpresult and gpupdate. In Windows Server 2008, setting extensions known as Group Policy preferences were added to provide administrators with better targeting and flexibility. 

This was last updated in February 2012

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