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Changing the Group Policy Refresh Interval

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Administrators can change the default refresh policy interval setting by using one of these policy settings: Group Policy Refresh Interval for Computers,Group Policy Refresh Interval for Domain Controllers, or Group Policy refresh Interval for Users. By using these settings, you can stipulate an update rate from zero to 64,800 minutes (45 days). You can also set the policy to Turn off background refresh of Group Policy.

Important

  • When you set the refresh interval to 0 minutes, the computer tries to update Group Policy every seven seconds. Because such updates might interfere with users’ work and increase network traffic, very short update intervals are appropriate only in test environments.

Group Policy Refresh Interval for Computers

This setting specifies how often Group Policy for computers is updated in the background. It specifies a background update rate only for Group Policy settings under Computer Configuration. Computer Group Policy is updated in the background every 90 minutes by default, with a random offset of 0 to 30 minutes. In addition to background updates, computer Group Policy is always updated when the system starts. This policy setting is available in the Group Policy Object Editor under Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Group Policy.

Group Policy Refresh Interval for Domain Controllers

This setting specifies how often Group Policy is updated in the background on domain controllers. By default, Group Policy on domain controllers is updated every five minutes. This policy setting is available in the Group Policy Object Editor under Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Group Policy.

Group Policy Refresh Interval for Users

This setting specifies how frequently Group Policy is updated in the background only for the Group Policy settings in the User Configuration folder. In addition to background updates, Group Policy for users is always updated when users log on. This policy is in the User Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Group Policy item.

Turn off background refresh of Group Policy

This policy prevents Group Policy settings from being updated while the computer is in use. It applies to Group Policy for computers, users, and domain controllers. This policy setting is available in Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Group Policy item.

Running Command Line Options to Refresh Policy

From a given computer, you can refresh the settings that are deployed to that computer by using the Gpupdate.exe tool. One reason this is useful is to ensure that security settings are enforced. Table 2.7 describes parameters for Gpupdate.exe. The Gpupdate.exe tool is used in Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP environments and replaces the /refreshpolicy option previously used with the secedit command. For Windows 2000, continue to use the secedit /refreshpolicy command.

The Gpudate.exe tool uses the following syntax:


          gpupdate [/target:{computer|user}] [/force] [/wait:value] [/logoff] [/boot]

Table 2.7   Gpudate.exe Parameters

 

Parameter Description

/target:{computer|user}

Depending on what target you specify, Gpupdate.exe processes the computer settings, the current user settings, or both. By default, both the computer and the user settings are processed.

/force

Reapplies all settings and ignores processing optimizations.

/wait: value

Specifies the number of seconds that policy processing waits to finish. The default is 600 seconds. A value of 0 means no wait; -1 means wait indefinitely.

/logoff

Logs off after the policy refresh completes. This is required for Group Policy client-side extensions that do not process on a background refresh cycle but do process when the user logs on, such as user Software Installation and Folder Redirection. This option has no effect if there are no extensions called that require the user to log off.

/boot

Restarts the computer after the policy refresh completes. This is required for those Group Policy client-side extensions that do not process on a background refresh cycle but do process when the computer starts up, such as computer Software Installation, for example. This option has no effect if there are no extensions called that require the computer to be restarted.

/?

Displays Help at the command prompt.

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