Q. What's Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)?

A. Group Policy offers many advantages over the old Windows NT 4.0 system policies; however, managing Group Policy Objects (GPOs) is often cumbersome. To view or modify GPOs, you can either create a custom Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that has a particular group policy loaded or, in the MMC Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, right-click an organizational unit (OU) or a domain, select Properties, then select the Group Policy tab.

Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) significantly improves upon Microsoft's traditional methods for GPO management by providing a simple view of the environment showing how OUs are linked to GPOs and the options associated with the OU or container to which a particular GPO applies. GPMC also provides the following useful features:

  • ability to back up and restore GPOs
  • easy backup and restore of filters
  • ability to create HTML-based reports that show all the settings in a GPO
  • ability to script certain Group Policy management actions

You must install GPMC on a Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) system, although you can use GPMC to manage Windows 2003 and Windows 2000 Server domains. You can download the latest version of GPMC--GPMC with SP1--at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=0a6d4c24-8cbd-4b35-9272-dd3cbfc81887&displaylang=en.

If you attempt to access a container's Group Policy tab from the Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in after you install GPMC, you'll see a button that you click to start GPMC. The figure at Figure shows the GPMC interface and some of the information it provides. You can't edit GPOs from within GPMC. Instead, to edit a GPO when you're in GPMC, right-click the GPO and select Edit; a new MMC instance will open in which the GPO editor snap-in is loaded and the selected GPO is open and ready to be edited.

TAGS: Windows 8
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