Windows Vista Group Policy Objects: What's available?

This excerpt from "Microsoft Windows Vista Management and Administration" provides info on which GPOs are new to the Windows Vista operating system.

Microsoft Windows Vista Management and Administration This chapter excerpt from Microsoft Windows Vista Management and Administration, by Andrew Abbate, James Walker, Scott Chimner and Rand Morimoto, is printed with permission from Pearson Education, Copyright 2007.

Click here for the chapter download or purchase the entire book here.

Available Group Policy Objects (GPOs)

Perhaps the most daunting task when working with GPOs is determining what GPOs should be used and which ones are best left alone. Generally speaking, GPOs should be created only when there is a specific need that can be addressed by a GPO. This is to say, the GPO should be driven by a company decision rather than being implemented because it looks useful.

Some companies fall into the trap of flipping through every possible GPO setting and deciding yes or no on each setting. This is a bad idea and will generally cause more issues than it will fix. The better approach is to ask yourself, "What have I always wished I could set for a common group of computers?" and then see if you can automate that setting with a GPO.

Existing GPOs That Work with Vista

Generally speaking, most GPOs that worked with Windows XP will continue to work with Microsoft Vista. This is because Microsoft wrote Vista to be backward compatible whenever possible. Even with this in mind, it is still a good idea to thoroughly test existing GPOs when first deploying Vista into the environment to make sure the systems are still being conformed to your existing standards. This is especially critical with GPOs that are in place to enforce security settings or to point to update servers for patches or definition files.

New Vista-Specific GPOs

For administrators wanting to familiarize themselves with all the new GPOs available for Vista, Microsoft has posted a spreadsheet detailing the new settings.

This spreadsheet includes

  • Filename containing the GPO
  • Scope (user versus machine)
  • Policy path (where to find it)
  • Policy setting name
  • Version of OS supported by the GPO
  • Explanation of the GPO
  • Reboot requirements (if any)
  • Logoff requirements (if any)
  • Schema or Domain requirements
  • With this information, administrators can more easily plan for future GPOs to implement to conform new Vista systems to their corporate standards.


     Home: Introduction
     Tip 1: A basic primer on Microsoft Group Policy
     Tip 2: How to configure GPOs
     Tip 3: What's new with Vista Group Policy?
     Tip 4: How to manage GPOs
     Tip 5: Troubleshooting GPOs for Vista
     Tip 6: Group Policy best practices
     Home: Introduction
     Tip 1: Which GPOs are available
     Tip 2: Further understanding GPOs in Vista
     Tip 3: Examples of useful GPOs in Vista
     Tip 4: Moving policies between domains
     Tip 5: Recommended practices with Vista Group Policy

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