Export (0) Print
Expand All

Custom ADM settings do not display in the Group Policy Editor

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

Certain settings defined in a custom Administrative Template (ADM) file are not displayed in the Group Policy Object Editor by default.


ADM files define registry settings (also referred to as individual policy settings) that are displayed in the Group Policy Object Editor under the Administrative Templates node for both Computer and User Configuration. Two different types of settings can be defined.

In Windows 2000 and later, all policy settings set registry keys and values in one of the following locations:

  • HKLM\Software\Policies (preferred location)

  • HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies

  • HKCU\Software\Policies (preferred location)

  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies

Policy settings that are stored in these specific locations of the registry are known as true policies. This type of setting is displayed in the Group Policy Object Editor with a blue icon.

Preferences are settings that are stored outside these specific locations of the registry. If a preference is not reversed before the Group Policy object is disabled, the setting on the client computer remains, a process referred to as "tattooing." These settings are identifiable in the Group Policy Object Editor with a red icon.

The Group Policy Object Editor identifies policy settings that are preferences and does not display them by default. The default policy templates (Conf.adm and System.adm) loaded into the Group Policy Object Editor by default do not contain any preferences, and therefore none are displayed.


To view preference settings for all ADM files in the Group Policy Object Editor
  1. Right-click any administrative template node and then click View.

  2. Click Filtering and in the filtering dialog box, clear the check box for Only show policy settings that can be fully managed.

  3. Click OK.

For more information, see article ID 228723 in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (

Community Additions

© 2016 Microsoft