Use Windows 10 templates to configure group policy settings in Microsoft Intune

When managing devices in your organization, you want to create a group of settings that are applied to different device groups. For example, you have several device groups. For GroupA, you want to assign a specific set of settings. For GroupB, you want to assign a different set of settings. You also want a simple view of the settings you can configure.

You can complete this task using Administrative Templates in Microsoft Intune. The administrative templates include hundreds of settings that control features in Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office programs, remote desktop, OneDrive, passwords and PINs, and more. These settings allow group administrators to manage group policies using the cloud.

The Windows settings are similar to group policy (GPO) settings in Active Directory (AD). These settings are built in to Windows, and are ADMX-backed settings (opens another Microsoft site) that use XML. The Office settings are ADMX-ingested, and use the ADMX settings in Office administrative template files. But, the Intune templates are 100% cloud-based. They offer a simple and straight-forward way to configure the settings, and find the settings you want.

Administrative Templates are built in to Intune, and don't require any customizations, including using OMA-URI. As part of your mobile device management (MDM) solution, use these template settings as a one-stop shop to manage your Windows 10 devices.

This article lists the steps to create a template for Windows 10 devices, and shows how to filter all the available settings in Intune. When you create the template, it creates a device configuration profile. You can then assign or deploy this profile to Windows 10 devices in your organization.

Before you begin

  • Some of these settings are available starting with Windows 10 version 1703 (RS2). For the best experience, it's suggested to use Windows 10 Enterprise version 1903 (19H1) and newer.

  • The Windows settings use Windows policy CSPs (opens another Microsoft site). The CSPs work on different editions of Windows, such as Home, Professional, Enterprise, and so on. To see if a CSP works on a specific edition, go to Windows policy CSPs (opens another Microsoft site).

Create a template

  1. Sign in to Intune.

  2. Select Device configuration > Profiles > Create profile.

  3. Enter the following properties:

    • Name: Enter a name for the profile.
    • Description: Enter a description for the profile. This setting is optional, but recommended.
    • Platform: Select Windows 10 and later.
    • Profile type: Select Administrative Templates.
  4. Select Create. In the new window, select Settings. Every setting is listed, and you can use the before and next arrows to see more settings:

    See a sample list of settings and use previous and next buttons

    Tip

    The Windows settings in Intune correlate to the on-premises group policy path you see in Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit).

  5. By default, the drop-down list shows All products. From the list, you can also filter the settings to only show Windows settings, or only show Office settings:

    Filter the list to show all Windows or all Office settings in administrative templates in Intune

  6. Select any setting. For example, filter on Office, and select Activate Restricted Browsing. A detailed description of the setting is shown. Choose Enabled, Disabled, or leave the setting as Not configured (default). The detailed description also explains what happens when you choose Enabled, Disabled, or Not configured.

  7. Select OK to save your changes.

Continue to go through the list of settings, and configure the settings you want in your environment. Here are some examples:

  • Use the VBA Macro Notification Settings setting to handle VBA macros in different Microsoft Office programs, including Word and Excel.
  • Use the Allow file downloads setting to allow or prevent downloads from Internet Explorer.
  • Use the Require a password when a computer wakes (plugged in) setting to prompt users for a password when devices wake from sleep mode.
  • Use the Download unsigned ActiveX controls setting to block users from downloading unsigned ActiveX controls from Internet Explorer.
  • Use the Turn off System Restore setting to allow or prevent users from running a system restore on the device.
  • And much more...

Find some settings

There are hundreds of settings available in these templates. To make it easier to find specific settings, use the built-in features:

  • In your template, select the Settings, State, Setting type, or Path columns to sort the list. For example, select the Path column to see all the settings in the Microsoft Excel path:

    Click path to show all the settings grouped by the group policy or ADMX path in administrative templates in Intune

  • In your template, use the Search box to find specific settings. You can search by setting title, or path. For example, search for copy. All the settings with copy are shown:

    Search for copy to show all the Windows and Office settings in administrative templates in Intune

    In another example, search for microsoft word. You see all the settings you can set for the Microsoft Word program. Search for explorer to see all the Internet Explorer settings you can add to your template.

Next steps

The template is created, but it's not doing anything yet. Next, assign the template, also called a profile and monitor its status.