If you've been working with Active Directory for any length of time, you've probably run across the problem of remembering where a specific GPO is located within a complex AD infrastructure. Under Windows 2000 and Windows 2003, you have to hunt and seek on your own through the Active Directory consoles looking through sites, domains, and OUs to find a specific GPO. However, this common time wasting activity can be avoided with the installation of a new tool from Microsoft -- The Group Policy Management Console.
The Group Policy Management Console is a free downloadable add-on for Windows 2003 and Windows XP. The GPMC provides a GPO focused management interface, thus making the administration, management, and location of GPOs much simpler. Through GPMC you can create new GPOs, modify editing GPOs, cut/copy/paste of GPOs, backup GPOs, and perform Resultant Set of Policy modeling.
GPMC can be used to manage Active Directory from Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003. However, it can only be run on a Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP Professional (SP1 and hot fix Q326469 is required) systems.
Note: Once GPMC is installed, you can only use it to manage GPOs, the previous method via the AD container consoles is disabled.
For more information on the Group Policy Management Console visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/gpmc/default.mspx. This site hosts introductions and overviews of this tool, along with an interactive simulation, technical overviews, demonstrations, and links to more detailed information. You can download the Group Policy Management Console at www.microsoft.com/downloads/.
James Michael Stewart is a partner and researcher for ITinfopros, a technology-focused writing and training organization.