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How can I force Windows XP to reapply a custom policy every time a user logs on?

A. Custom policies (also known as preferences) consist of custom .adm files. You typically apply these custom policies when you first create them and when you modify them. As a result of modification, the cached list of Group Policy Objects--GPOs--doesn't match the current list. Therefore, if a user succeeds in changing the settings that the custom policy invokes (e.g., using Desktop settings, Control Panel), XP won't reapply that custom policy the next time the user logs on. However, you can configure the OS to reapply the custom policy every time a user logs on or a machine starts by performing the following steps:

  1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\GPExtensions\<GUID of the policy> subkey.
  3. Double-click the NoGPOListChanges value (or create this value of type DWORD if it's missing), set the value to 0, and click OK.
  4. Close the registry editor.

Setting the value back to 1 tells the OS that it doesn't need to call the callback function to reload the policy when no change occurs (the default behavior).

This registry change has the same effect as setting the "Process even if the Group Policy objects have not changed" option in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Computer Configuration snap-in under the Administrative Templates, System, Group Policy section.

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