I’m the administrator of a Windows NT 4.0 network, and we use system policies extensively. Do you know an easy way to figure out which registry locations are associated with various policies in the System Policy Editor (SPE—i.e., poledit.exe)?

A. To correlate an NT 4.0 system policy and the registry value to which it refers, you can examine the .adm template file that generates the .pol system policy file (e.g., ntconfig.pol). The .adm files contain sections that define the individual policies you see when you use the SPE. By default, each policy file includes two .adm files—winnt.adm and common.adm—which reside in an NT 4.0 system's \%systemroot%\inf folder (e.g., C:\winnt\inf). A policy file can include additional .adm template files, which you might also want to inspect. To examine an .adm file, use a text editor such as Notepad or my personal favorite, IDM Computer Solutions' UltraEdit (available at the IDM Web site).

When you understand the .adm files' format and contents, you can identify each policy, its related registry location, and its possible values. For information about how to interpret the files' contents, see Kathy Ivens, "Distributing Registry Changes," Windows 2000 Magazine, April 2001. For information about the templates' keywords and structure, see the Microsoft white paper "Implementing Profiles and Policies for Windows NT 4.0" at the Microsoft Windows NT Server Web site.

If you work frequently with NT 4.0 system policies and need better management tools than those that come with the OS, you might want to look into two excellent third-party policy-management tools: Tools4ever's Policy Template Editor or FullArmor's FAZAM for Windows NT. These tools simplify the process of viewing and customizing policy template files and their related system policies.

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