New Format and Functionality of Administrative Template Files (ADMX)

This section introduces changes in Administrative Template files and explains how these improvements can benefit your organization.

Administrative Template files contain markup language that is used to describe registry-based Group Policy. First released in Windows NT4, Administrative Template files used a unique file format known as ADM files. In Windows Vista, these files are replaced by an XML-based file format known as ADMX files. These new Administrative Template files make it easier to manage registry-based policy settings in Windows Vista.

Managing Group Policy in Multilingual Environments

In Windows Vista, ADMX files are divided into language-neutral and language-specific resources, available to all Group Policy administrators. These factors allow Group Policy tools to adjust their UI according to the administrator's configured language. Adding a new language to a set of policy definitions is achieved by ensuring that the language-specific resource file is available.

For example, a Group Policy administrator creates a Group Policy object (GPO) from a Windows Vista administrative workstation configured for English. He saves the GPO and links it to the domain deployed across geographic boundaries. A colleague in Paris browses the same domain using GPMC and selects the GPO created in English. She can view and edit the policy settings in French. The original Group Policy administrator who created this GPO will still see all the settings in their native language of English, including the changes from the French administrator.

This table summarizes the new features of ADMX files.

Feature Description Benefit

XML-based policy definition files

Administrative template files are replaced by an XML-based file format that incorporates multilanguage support and strong versioning.

  • Eases management of multilingual administrative environments, ensuring that Group Policy tools display in the administrator's operating system language
  • Improves the administrative experience associated with managing registry-based policy settings while accommodating automated or fully manual change management processes

Central store of ADMX files

The central store is a domain-wide directory created in the Sysvol.

Reduces the need for additional storage and greater replication traffic resulting from increasing numbers of GPOs

Group Policy administrative tools read both ADMX and ADM files

Group Policy administrative tools use the core operating system ADMX files from the local machine before the creation of the central store. In addition, the administrative tools can read any other ADM file stored locally or in a GPO. This ensures interoperability between administration from a Windows Vista, Windows 2000, or Windows Server 2003 platform. Any policy settings that exist only in the ADMX files will be available only from the Windows Vista platform.

Ensures interoperability with earlier platforms for administering Group Policy