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What's New in Group Policy in Windows Server 2012 R2

Published: June 24, 2013

Updated: June 24, 2013

Applies To: Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2

This topic describes the new and changed functionality of the Group Policy feature in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Group Policy is an infrastructure that enables you to specify managed configurations for users and computers through Group Policy settings and Group Policy Preferences. For Group Policy settings that affect only a local computer or user, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor. You can manage Group Policy settings and Group Policy Preferences in an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) environment through the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). Group Policy management tools also are included in the Remote Server Administration Tools pack, which provides a way for you to administer Group Policy settings from your desktop. For more information about Group Policy, see the Group Policy Overview.

The following table lists functionality in Group Policy that is new for this release or has been changed.


Feature/functionality New or Updated

IPv6 support


Policy caching


Event logging


Windows Server 2012 R2 expands support for IPv6 in Group Policy. This expanded support encompasses printers, item-level targeting, and VPN networks. The following procedures describe how you can use this expanded support.

  1. Under User Configuration, expand Preferences, and expand Control Panel Settings.

  2. Click Printers, right-click, click New, and then click TIP/IP Printer.

  3. Select the Use IPv6 Address check box and enter an IPv6 address in the corresponding field.

  1. In any Group Policy preference, click Properties, and click the Common tab.

  2. Select the Item-level targeting check box, and click the Targeting… button.

  3. In the Targeting Editor, click the New Item menu, and click IP Address Range.

  4. Select the Use IPv6 check box and enter an IPv6 address in the corresponding field. You can filter by submpa.

  1. Under User Configuration, expand Preferences, and expand Control Panel Settings.

  2. Click Network Option, right-click, click New, and click VPN Connection.

  3. In the New VPN Connection window, select the Use IPv6 check box.

Windows Server 2012 R2 , when Group Policy gets the latest version of a policy from the domain controller, it writes that policy to a local store. Then if Group Policy is running in synchronous mode the next time the computer reboots, it reads the most recently downloaded version of the policy from the local store, instead of downloading it from the network. This reduces the time it takes to process the policy. Consequently, the boot time is shorter in synchronous mode. This is especially important if you have a latent connection to the domain controller, for example, with DirectAccess or for computers that are off premises. This behavior is controllable by a new policy called Configure Group Policy Caching.

Windows Server 2012 R2 provides more detailed events for Group Policy settings in the operational event log. The logged events include more information about how long it takes to download and process policies. There are also details about WMI processing. This can help you analyze and diagnose long sign-in times.

The following table provides additional resources for evaluating Group Policy.


Content type References

Product evaluation

Group Policy Overview | Group Policy Techcenter

Community resources

Group Policy Team Blog | TechNet Wiki

Related technologies

Active Directory Domain Services Overview

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