Group Policy in Windows XP

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to open and navigate trough pre-defined Group Policy console.

Prerequisites: you have to know what is Group Policy, and how to work in Microsoft Management Console.

Key terms: run Group Policy, Console organization, example settings, gpedit.msc, software settings, windows settings, administrative templates, password policy, security options.


Local Group Policy Console

We will use the Start menu run command to open our Local Group Policy console. In Run menu, we can open Microsoft Management Console by typing in mmc, and then add the Group Policy Snap-in to our console. We can also open pre-defined Group Policy console by typing gpedit.msc in Run menu.

Run Group Policy

Image 138.1 – Run Group Policy

Group Policy

Image 138.2 – Group Policy

Console Organization

There are two major sections – Computer Configuration section, and User Configuration section. Computer Configuration section contains settings that are applied for the entire computer, and these settings are applied when the computer boots. User Configuration node contains settings that are applied only to users. If user settings are defined in AD, then they are independent of the computer on which the user logs on to. If settings are configured locally, settings are valid only for local users. User settings get applied at user log on.

Under Computer Configuration, as well as under User Configuration, there are three categories of setting:

  • Software Settings are used to control the installation of software, and there are no local settings for this. This section can only be configured through AD.
  • Windows Settings are used to set a wide range of system and startup values.
  • Administrative Templates contain Registry-based policies.

In each category there are additional objects that group related settings. If we look at Group Policy in AD, we will see more options than in Local Group Policy.

Example Settings

Lets take a look at some Group Policy settings on a local Windows XP workstation.

Password Policy

Image 138.3 – Password Policy

Security Options

Image 138.4 – Security Options

Notice that when we make a selection on the left, the right part of the window shows us two columns. In the first column we see a descriptive Policy name, and in the second column we see current settings for our Policies. If our computer is on a domain, then the current settings are a combination of local settings and settings defined in AD.

To edit a setting, just click double on policy name and choose the appropriate setting.

Remember

We can open pre-defined Group Policy console by typing gpedit.msc in Run menu. There are two major sections in Group Policy console: Computer Configuration section and User Configuration section. Computer Configuration section contains settings that are applied for the entire computer. User Configuration node contains settings that are applied only to users. Software Settings are used to control the installation of software, and there are no local settings for this. Windows Settings are used to set a wide range of system and startup values. Administrative Templates contain Registry-based policies.

Commands that are mentioned in this article
  • gpedit.msc – run pre-defined Group Policy console (enter in Start menu Run command).

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