Group Policy Central Store (Windows 2008)

With the introduction of Windows 2008 Microsoft redefined the concept of Group Policy Central store. Group Policy central store is a simply a central storage place to keep the administrative templates. In windows 2003 and XP age we have received many Administrative templates from Microsoft and other vendors, but the key question is where to store them. If we keep them in one server then the other server won’t be able to retrieve them.

With windows 2008 Microsoft introduce the concept on central storage. Now you can keep all the administrative templates in a central place and replicate between windows 2008 domain controllers. Windows 2008 and Vista natively support this but Windows 2003 and Windows XP don’t support it out of the box.

How it works is simply by checking if the templates available in a central place or not. If the machine couldn’t find templates in a central place it will load the template from machine local template section. So as you can see the functionality is very simple but still brings great flexibility J

So how to configure this? In the windows 2008 domain controller go to %SystemRoot%\SYSVOL\domain\Policies Create a folder called “Policy definitions”. Leave it as it is and then move to c:\windows\Policy Definitions and copy the contents in that folder and paste them to %System Root%\SYSVOL\domain\Policies

Once contents copied to the relevant folder go to GPMC and try to open a GPO. Upon opening expand Administrative Template. When you click that in the right hand pane you’ll be able to see “Administrative Templates: Policy Definitions (ADMX files) retrieved from central stores.

As a practice whenever you modify the GPO’s keep an eye of the locations where the GPO’s administrative getting loaded from. As you can see, keeping group policy templates in a central location can be a significant administrative issue for companies. However, Windows Server 2008 ability to create a central store for Administrative Templates have simplified the process and monitoring of the templates.

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