JSI Tip 6243. Managing Windows XP in a Windows 2000 Server Environment.

Page 1 of 6 at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/techinfo/administration/policy/default.asp contains:

Deploying clients running the Windows® XP operating system into a Windows 2000 Server environment provides administrators with new options, policy settings, and capabilities to manage desktops throughout an organization.

Intended for organizations that have already deployed or are planning to deploy the Active Directory™ service, this article helps administrators manage policy settings for computers running Windows XP, the successor to Windows 2000 Professional. Many new features of Windows XP—such as Remote Assistance, Windows Media™ Player, and Error Reporting—come with their own Group Policy settings that administrators can use to customize and standardize configurations for users and computers across the network.

Group Policy settings define the various components of the user's desktop environment that administrators need to manage such as the programs available to users, the programs that appear on a user's desktop, and options for the Start menu.

Managing policies is part of the IntelliMirror® management technologies set, first introduced in the Windows 2000 operating system. IntelliMirror enables users’ data, software, and settings to “follow” them throughout a distributed computing environment, whether they are online or offline. At the core of IntelliMirror are three features: User Data Management, User Settings Management and Software Installation and Maintenance. These features may be used separately or together.

IntelliMirror policy—based management brings two important benefits:

  • Lower total cost of ownership for managing the desktop environment. Because organizations can deploy and manage customized desktop configurations, they spend less money supporting users on an individual basis. Users get the flexibility they need to do their jobs without having to spend time configuring their system on their own.
  • Enhanced productivity from newly empowered users. Because users' applications, data, and settings are available to them regardless of where they log on, they can get more done. And applications can be remotely installed and upgraded.

Clients running Windows XP can be dropped directly into Active Directory and process all the same policies that currently apply to desktops running Windows 2000. New policy settings that apply only to Windows XP are ignored by any clients running Windows 2000. Verifying operating system requirements and functions of each setting is made easier with explain text contained directly in the new user interface for the Group Policy snap—in—administrators don’t have to search documentation to determine what a policy does.

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