This document uses the following terms:
access control entry (ACE): An entry in an access control list (ACL) that contains a set of user rights and a security identifier (SID) that identifies a principal for whom the rights are allowed, denied, or audited.
access control list (ACL): A list of access control entries (ACEs) that collectively describe the security rules for authorizing access to some resource; for example, an object or set of objects.
Active Directory: The Windows implementation of a general-purpose directory service, which uses LDAP as its primary access protocol. Active Directory stores information about a variety of objects in the network such as user accounts, computer accounts, groups, and all related credential information used by Kerberos [MS-KILE]. Active Directory is either deployed as Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) or Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), which are both described in [MS-ADOD]: Active Directory Protocols Overview.
Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS): A directory service (DS) implemented by a domain controller (DC). The DS provides a data store for objects that is distributed across multiple DCs. The DCs interoperate as peers to ensure that a local change to an object replicates correctly across DCs. AD DS is a deployment of Active Directory [MS-ADTS].
administrative template: A file associated with a Group Policy Object (GPO) that combines information on the syntax of registry-based policy settings with human-readable descriptions of the settings, as well as other information.
Administrative templates: A series of Group Policy master templates that extend the Group Policy management functionalities that can be applied to a policy target such as a Group Policy client, the settings for which are accessible from a management interface such as the GPMC. The Administrative templates provide an extensive collection of policy settings for applications and operating system components, which are applied through registry modifications on Group Policy clients. For this reason, Administrative template policy settings are also referred to as registry-based policy.
Administrative tool: An implementation-specific tool, such as the Group Policy Management Console, that allows administrators to read and write policy settings from and to a Group Policy Object (GPO) and policy files. The Group Policy Administrative tool uses the Extension list of a GPO to determine which Administrative tool extensions are required to read settings from and write settings to the logical and physical components of a GPO.
Administrative tool extension: A Group Policy extension protocol that is identified by an Administrative tool extension GUID and invoked by a management entity such as the Group Policy Management Console. The Administrative tool extension enables the Group Policy administrator to administer policy settings associated with the specific context provided by the extension.
Administrative tool extension GUID: A GUID that enables a specific Administrative tool extension to be associated with settings that are stored in a GPO on the Group Policy server for that particular extension. The GUID enables the Administrative tool to identify the extension protocol for which settings are to be administered.
client-side extension GUID (CSE GUID): A GUID that enables a specific client-side extension on the Group Policy client to be associated with policy data that is stored in the logical and physical components of a Group Policy Object (GPO) on the Group Policy server, for that particular extension.
configuration naming context (config NC): A specific type of naming context (NC), or an instance of that type, that contains configuration information. In Active Directory, a single config NC is shared among all domain controllers (DCs) in the forest. A config NC cannot contain security principal objects.
core Group Policy engine: The software entity that implements the Group Policy: Core Protocol [MS-GPOL]. The core Group Policy engine issues the message sequences that result in core protocol network traffic during policy application on Group Policy clients. The engine handles functions on behalf of the core protocol such as the Group Policy refresh interval, GPO and policy file access, GPO filtering and ordering, and invoking transport protocols for retrieving and storing policy settings.
directory: The database that stores information about objects such as users, groups, computers, printers, and the directory service that makes this information available to users and applications.
directory service (DS): A service that stores and organizes information about a computer network's users and network shares, and that allows network administrators to manage users' access to the shares. See also Active Directory.
distinguished name (DN): A name that uniquely identifies an object by using the relative distinguished name (RDN) for the object, and the names of container objects and domains that contain the object. The distinguished name (DN) identifies the object and its location in a tree.
domain: A set of users and computers sharing a common namespace and management infrastructure. At least one computer member of the set must act as a domain controller (DC) and host a member list that identifies all members of the domain, as well as optionally hosting the Active Directory service. The domain controller provides authentication of members, creating a unit of trust for its members. Each domain has an identifier that is shared among its members. For more information, see [MS-AUTHSOD] section 188.8.131.52 and [MS-ADTS].
domain controller (DC): The service, running on a server, that implements Active Directory, or the server hosting this service. The service hosts the data store for objects and interoperates with other DCs to ensure that a local change to an object replicates correctly across all DCs. When Active Directory is operating as Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), the DC contains full NC replicas of the configuration naming context (config NC), schema naming context (schema NC), and one of the domain NCs in its forest. If the AD DS DC is a global catalog server (GC server), it contains partial NC replicas of the remaining domain NCs in its forest. For more information, see [MS-AUTHSOD] section 184.108.40.206.2 and [MS-ADTS]. When Active Directory is operating as Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), several AD LDS DCs can run on one server. When Active Directory is operating as AD DS, only one AD DS DC can run on one server. However, several AD LDS DCs can coexist with one AD DS DC on one server. The AD LDS DC contains full NC replicas of the config NC and the schema NC in its forest. The domain controller is the server side of Authentication Protocol Domain Support [MS-APDS].
Domain Name System (DNS): A hierarchical, distributed database that contains mappings of domain names to various types of data, such as IP addresses. DNS enables the location of computers and services by user-friendly names, and it also enables the discovery of other information stored in the database.
domain naming context (domain NC): A partition of the directory that contains information about the domain and is replicated with other domain controllers (DCs) in the same domain.
Encrypting File System (EFS): The name for the encryption capability of the NTFS file system. When a file is encrypted using EFS, a symmetric key known as the file encryption key (FEK) is generated and the contents of the file are encrypted with the FEK. For each user or data recovery agent (DRA) that is authorized to access the file, a copy of the FEK is encrypted with that user's or DRA's public key and is stored in the file's metadata. For more information about EFS, see [MSFT-EFS].
forest: One or more domains that share a common schema and trust each other transitively. An organization can have multiple forests. A forest establishes the security and administrative boundary for all the objects that reside within the domains that belong to the forest. In contrast, a domain establishes the administrative boundary for managing objects, such as users, groups, and computers. In addition, each domain has individual security policies and trust relationships with other domains.
globally unique identifier (GUID): A term used interchangeably with universally unique identifier (UUID) in Microsoft protocol technical documents (TDs). Interchanging the usage of these terms does not imply or require a specific algorithm or mechanism to generate the value. Specifically, the use of this term does not imply or require that the algorithms described in [RFC4122] or [C706] must be used for generating the GUID. See also universally unique identifier (UUID).
Group Policy: A mechanism that allows the implementer to specify managed configurations for users and computers in an Active Directory service environment.
Group Policy client: A client computer that receives and applies settings of a GPO. The Group Policy client can use client-side extensions to extend the functionality of the Group Policy protocols.
Group Policy data store: A data store that consists of two types of stores. One is a physical (file system) data store on the Group Policy file share that contains policy settings (extension and administrative template data), which can be locally or remotely accessed depending on location. The other is a logical data store that is part of Active Directory and serves as a repository for GPOs that are accessible via Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).
Group Policy extension: A protocol that extends the functionality of Group Policy. Group Policy extensions consist of client-side extensions and Administrative tool extensions. They provide settings and other Group Policy information that can be read from and written to Group Policy data store components. Group Policy Extensions depend on the Group Policy: Core Protocol, via the core Group Policy engine, to identify GPOs containing a list of extensions that apply to a particular Group Policy client.
Group Policy file share: A file system storage location that contains policy settings that include extension settings and Group Policy template settings for GPOs. The latter settings consist of security and registry settings, script files, and application installation information.
Group Policy Management Console (GPMC): An implementation-specific Administrative tool that provides an integrated interface to create, view, and manage GPOs and policy settings in multiple forests, domains, and sites.
Group Policy Object (GPO): A collection of administrator-defined specifications of the policy settings that can be applied to groups of computers in a domain. Each GPO includes two elements: an object that resides in the Active Directory for the domain, and a corresponding file system subdirectory that resides on the sysvol DFS share of the Group Policy server for the domain.
Group Policy Object (GPO) GUID: A curly braced GUID string that uniquely identifies a Group Policy Object (GPO).
Group Policy Object (GPO) path: A domain-based Distributed File System (DFS) path for a directory on the server that is accessible through the DFS/SMB protocols. This path will always be a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path of the form: "\\<dns domain name>\sysvol\<dns domain name>\policies\<gpo guid>", where <dns domain name> is the DNS domain name of the domain and <gpo guid> is a Group Policy Object (GPO) GUID.
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP): The primary access protocol for Active Directory. Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an industry-standard protocol, established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), which allows users to query and update information in a directory service (DS), as described in [MS-ADTS]. The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol can be either version 2 [RFC1777] or version 3 [RFC3377].
NT LAN Manager (NTLM) Authentication Protocol: A protocol using a challenge-response mechanism for authentication in which clients are able to verify their identities without sending a password to the server. It consists of three messages, commonly referred to as Type 1 (negotiation), Type 2 (challenge) and Type 3 (authentication).
organizational unit (OU): An Active Directory object contained within a domain, into which users, groups, computers, and other organizational units can be placed. An organizational unit provides a facility to classify and differentiate objects in a directory structure such as LDAP.
policy application: The protocol exchange by which a client obtains all of the Group Policy Object (GPO) and thus all applicable Group Policy settings for a particular policy target from the server, as specified in [MS-GPOL]. Policy application can operate in two modes, user policy and computer policy.
policy target: A user or computer account for which policy settings can be obtained from a server in the same domain, as specified in [MS-GPOL]. For user policy mode, the policy target is a user account. For computer policy mode, the policy target is a computer account.
registry: A local system-defined database in which applications and system components store and retrieve configuration data. It is a hierarchical data store with lightly typed elements that are logically stored in tree format. Applications use the registry API to retrieve, modify, or delete registry data. The data stored in the registry varies according to the version of the operating system.
Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP): The cumulative effect of GPO inheritance and processing on an individual computer or a specific user. When the policy application process is initiated, the core Group Policy engine looks at local registry and WMI settings, and then the RSoP, to determine whether a policy target requires a Group Policy update. RSoP data is stored, along with WMI data, in a local WMI database.
scope of management (SOM): An Active Directory site, domain, or organizational unit container. These containers contain user and computer accounts that can be managed through Group Policy. These SOMs are themselves associated with Group Policy Objects (GPOs), and the accounts within them are considered by the Group Policy Protocol [MS-GPOL] to inherit that association.
Server Message Block (SMB): A protocol that is used to request file and print services from server systems over a network. The SMB protocol extends the CIFS protocol with additional security, file, and disk management support. For more information, see [CIFS] and [MS-SMB].
share: A resource offered by a Common Internet File System (CIFS) server for access by CIFS clients over the network. A share typically represents a directory tree and its included files (referred to commonly as a "disk share" or "file share") or a printer (a "print share"). If the information about the share is saved in persistent store (for example, Windows registry) and reloaded when a file server is restarted, then the share is referred to as a "sticky share". Some share names are reserved for specific functions and are referred to as special shares: IPC$, reserved for interprocess communication, ADMIN$, reserved for remote administration, and A$, B$, C$ (and other local disk names followed by a dollar sign), assigned to local disk devices.
site: A collection of one or more well-connected (reliable and fast) TCP/IP subnets. By defining sites (represented by site objects) an administrator can optimize both Active Directory access and Active Directory replication with respect to the physical network. When users log in, Active Directory clients find domain controllers (DCs) that are in the same site as the user, or near the same site if there is no DC in the site. See also Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC). For more information, see [MS-ADTS].
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI): The Microsoft implementation of Common Information Model (CIM), as specified in [DMTF-DSP0004]. WMI allows an administrator to manage local and remote machines and models computer and network objects using an extension of the CIM standard.