Configure a Data Source Item

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

Data source preference items allow you to create, update, replace, and delete user and system data sources. Data sources store information about how to connect to a data provider. Before you create a Data Source preference item, you should review the behavior of each type of action possible with this extension.

Creating a Data Source item

To create a new Data Source preference item

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console . Right-click the Group Policy object (GPO) that should contain the new preference item, and then click Edit .

  2. In the console tree under Computer Configuration or User Configuration , expand the Preferences folder, and then expand the Control Panel Settings folder.

  3. Right-click the Data Sources node, point to New , and select Data Source .

  4. In the New Data Source Properties dialog box, select an Action for Group Policy to perform. (For more information, see "Actions" in this topic.)

  5. Enter data source settings for Group Policy to configure or remove. (For more information, see "Data source settings" in this topic.)

  6. Click the Common tab, configure any options, and then type your comments in the Description box. (For more information, see Configure Common Options.)

  7. Click OK . The new preference item appears in the details pane.


This type of preference item provides a choice of four actions: Create , Replace , Update , and Delete . The behavior of the preference item varies with the action selected and whether a data source with the same name exists.


Create a new data source name for the user or computer. If the data source exists, then do not modify it.


Remove a data source name from the user or computer. The extension performs no action if the data source does not exist.


Delete and recreate a data source name for the user or computer. The net result of the Replace action overwrites all existing settings associated with the data source name. If the data source name does not exist, then the Replace action creates the new data source name.


Modify settings of an existing data source name. This action differs from replace in that it only updates settings defined within the preference item. All other settings remain as they were previously configured. If the data source name does not exist, then the Update action creates a new data source name.

Data source settings


User Data Source or System Data Source


Type the name of the ODBC driver used to connect to the data provider. Click Browse (…) to choose from a list of ODBC drivers.


Provide text used to describe the data source. This field accepts preference processing variables. Press F3 to display a list of variables from which you can select.

User Name

Type the user name used to connect to the indicated data provider.


Type the password used to connect to the indicated data provider. Type the same password in the Confirm Password box.

Security Note
This password is stored as part of the GPO in SYSVOL and is discoverable, although obscured. If you choose to store passwords in preference items, you should consider creating dedicated accounts for this purpose, and never store administrative passwords in preference items.


Data Source item attributes allow you to supply additional information for the data provider. Each attribute consists of an attribute name and its associated value.

  • Click Add to create new attributes in the Data Source item.

  • Click Remove to delete existing attributes.

  • Click Change to alter the attribute name or value.


Attributes are automatically populated when importing an existing data source name into a Data Source preference item.

Additional considerations

  • Use the Update action to add or overwrite attributes of existing data source names.

  • Use the Replace action to remove attributes from existing data source names.

  • You can use item-level targeting to change the scope of preference items.

  • Preference items are available only in domain-based GPOs.

Additional references