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Group Policy Overview

Published: February 28, 2012

Updated: June 24, 2013

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



Use this topic to find the documentation resources and other technical information you need to accomplish key Group Policy tasks. You can learn about new and updated functionality for Group Policy in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1and ways to automate common Group Policy tasks by using Windows PowerShell.

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Group Policy is an infrastructure that allows you to specify managed configurations for users and computers through Group Policy settings and Group Policy Preferences. To configure 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 to provide a way for you to administer Group Policy settings from your desktop.

Windows PowerShell   When the GPMC is installed on servers or client computers, the Windows PowerShell module is also installed. You have full Windows PowerShell functionality. If you install the Remote Server Administration Tools pack, the latest Windows PowerShell cmdlets for Group Policy are also installed. For more information about Windows PowerShell cmdlets and scripts that you can use to manage Group Policy, see Group Policy Cmdlets.

You can configure the Group Policy feature by using Windows PowerShell cmdlets. For more information about using Server Manager cmdlets to install the Group Policy Management Console, see Install or Uninstall Roles, Role Services, or Features and Server Manager deployment cmdlet module.

By using Group Policy, you can significantly reduce your organization’s total cost of ownership. Various factors, such as the large number of policy settings available, the interaction between multiple policies, and inheritance options, can make Group Policy design complex. By carefully planning, designing, testing, and deploying a solution based on your organization’s business requirements, you can provide the standardized functionality, security, and management control that your organization needs.

Here are some Windows Server 2012 scenarios that use Group Policy to implement a solution:

Group Policy designs can become very complex. Various factors, such as the large number of policy settings and preference items available, the interaction between multiple policies, and inheritance options, can make it difficult to determine if Group Policy is functioning correctly on each computer.

In Windows Server 2012, Group Policy focused on improving the Group Policy troubleshooting experience. Windows Server 2012 R2 expands the support for IPv6 networking, adds policy caching to reduce sign-in times in synchronous mode, and provides more detailed event logging. For more details about these changes and more information about the additional changes in functionality that are not listed here, see What's New in Group Policy in Windows Server 2012 and What's New in Group Policy in Windows Server 2012 R2.

 

Content type References

Planning

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Deployment

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Operations

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Troubleshooting

Group Policy Analysis and Troubleshooting Overview

Security

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Tools and settings

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