Microsoft has shipped Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), a new front end for managing Group Policy-related tasks in Windows Server 2003- and Windows 2000-based Active Directory (AD) domains (you must run GPMC on Windows 2003 or Windows XP Service Pack 1--SP1). GPMC is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in for managing Group Policy; Microsoft is providing this tool to Windows 2003 users for free. Because the tool presents a unified view of Group Policy Objects (GPOs) and organizational units (OUs), domains, and sites across an enterprise, GPMC can provide a central entry point for all Group Policy tasks.
In the past, Windows-based administrators who wanted to manage Group Policies had to use a variety of tools, including the MMC Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in, the MMC Active Directory Sites and Services snap-in, the Resultant Set of Policies (RSoP) snap-in, the ACL editor, and the Delegation Wizard. Although GPMC complements, rather than replaces, these tools, it does offer administrators a central, one-stop interface for performing these common Group Policy tasks: import, export, copy, and paste GPOs; manage GP security; generate file- and printer-based GPO reports; examine GPO and RSoP data; and back up and restore GPOs and script GPO operations that the tool exposes (i.e., you can't script individual policy settings, only GPO operations such as template GPO importing).
GPMC is compatible with Windows 2003 and Win2K domains, although the tool itself doesn't run on Win2K-based systems. To manage a Win2K domain, you'll need to install GPMC on an XP system running SP1 and the Windows .NET Framework or on a Windows 2003-based server. Naturally, Windows 2003-specific features--such as Group Policy modeling and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)--aren't available if you use the tool in a Win2K domain. Another GPMC limitation is that the tool can't edit settings within an individual GPO. For this task, you'll still need to access the existing Group Policy snap-in, now renamed the Group Policy Object Editor snap-in for Windows Server 2003.
For more information and the free download, visit the Microsoft Web site.