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The Group Policy Editor is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that is used by administrators to configure and modify Group Policy settings within Group Policy Objects (GPOs) for Windows PCs. You can define policies that will be applied to the computers and users that sign in to the local machines. It is available on all versions of Windows Server since the release of Windows Server 2003.

All policy settings created by the Group Policy Editor are stored in a GPO. The policy settings you provide with the Group Policy Editor are not effective unless the system applies the policy. By default, the policies that are enforced using the Group Policy Editor are applicable to all users unless the administrator specifies otherwise.

Components of the Group Policy Editor

User Configuration: Settings that are applicable to users regardless of the computer they use.

Computer Configuration: Settings applicable to the local computers.

Both Computer Configuration and User Configuration have the following sub-sections:

  • Software Settings: Contains software policies and is empty by default
  • Windows Settings: Includes Windows security settings and scripts that should get executed when Windows starts up or shuts down
  • Administrative Templates: Templates for configuration of Windows GPOs and user and computer settings in AD. For example, settings for the control panel, start menu, user profiles, Windows updates, and more
    Components of Group Policy Editor
How to open Local Group Policy Editor in Windows

Limitations of native tools

Creating policies and defining settings for different users and computers can be a challenge. Since policies are often altered, it's difficult to individually modify GPOs every time. For audits and compliance, it is important to stay on top of GPO changes and also have the necessary data in the form of reports. Creating these reports manually is no easy feat and is prone to errors.

How ManageEngine ADManager Plus can help

ADManager Plus is an integrated AD management and reporting solution with GPO management and reporting capabilities. You can simplify GPO management by configuring GPOs in bulk and monitor compliance by having access to an audit trail of all GPO changes via reports.

Here are some of supported GPO capabilities in ADManager Plus:

  • Edit GPOs.
  • Enable, disable, or delete GPOs.
  • Enable, disable, or remove GPO links.
  • Modify enforcement options for GPO links.
  • Block or unblock inheritance of GPO links.
  • Identify the recently modified GPOs and the linked AD objects.
  • Track GPO information through reports to check if a particular OU, domain, or site is compliant with the policies.

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Manage AD better with ADManager Plus

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  • Role-based and OU-specific delegation of user management tasks to help desk technicians. Learn more.

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