Group Policy

Group Policy overview

Most IT pros are familiar with Group Policy, which is based on AD DS and enables you to manage computer and user settings. You configure Group Policy settings in Group Policy objects (GPOs). To create and edit GPOs, you use the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). By using the GPMC to link GPOs to selected Active Directory sites, domains, and organizational units (OUs), you apply the policy settings in the GPOs to the computers and users in those Active Directory containers. Group Policy objects include registry-based Administrative Template policy settings, security settings, software deployment, scripts, folder redirection, and preferences.

By using Group Policy to configure Internet Explorer 10, you can configure a setting one time and enforce that setting on many computers. In comparison to techniques like scripting, Group Policy can be the most efficient way to affect many computers with a low risk of human error. You can configure Internet Explorer 10 security settings in a GPO that you link to the domain, for example, and Group Policy can apply those settings to every computer in the domain. Users who do not log on to their computers as administrators cannot change those settings, so you can feel confident that Group Policy is enforcing your standard configuration.

Group Policy also provides flexible methods to target Group Policy settings at specific computers and users. The simplest way is to link GPOs to specific OUs, applying its settings only to the computers and users that the OU contains. Next, Group Policy supports security filtering. For example, you can configure a GPO so that it applies only to a specific security group within the organization. The most capable way to target a GPO is to use WMI filtering. For example, you can create a WMI filter that applies a GPO only to computers with a specific make and model; or that have a laptop chassis.

The complexity of Group Policy scales according to your requirements. Even small organizations can benefit from using Group Policy to manage their computers. In those scenarios, the implementation can be extremely simple, using only the most basic Group Policy features. Larger organizations with more complex requirements can use the advanced capabilities that Group Policy provides. For more information, see the Group Policy TechCenter on TechNet. The Group Policy TechCenter provides links to the latest technical documentation, videos, and downloads for Group Policy.

In this section

This section provides guidance about Group Policy, including the following topics: