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Fixing Group Policy structural issues

Updated: March 2, 2005

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

This page explains linking rules and points to troubleshooting tips.

Active Directory and Group Policy

Active Directory organizes objects by sites, domains, and OUs. Domains and OUs are organized hierarchically, making the containers and the objects within them easy to manage. The settings defined in a GPO can only be applied when the GPO is linked to one or more of these containers.

By linking GPOs to sites, domains, and OUs, you can implement Group Policy settings for as broad or as narrow a portion of the organization as you want. GPO links affect users and computers in the following ways:

  • A GPO linked to a site applies to all users and computers in the site.

  • A GPO linked to a domain applies directly to all users and computers in the domain and by inheritance to all users and computers in child OUs. Policy is not inherited across domains.

  • A GPO linked to an OU applies directly to all users and computers in the OU and by inheritance to all users and computers in child OUs.

  • When a GPO is created, it is stored in the domain. When the GPO is linked to an Active Directory container, such as an OU, the link is a component of that container, not a component of the GPO.

Fixes for specific structural issues

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