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Windows Small Business Server 2011 : Managing Group Policies (part 1)

12/1/2013 8:30:05 PM
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1. Components of Group Policy

Group Policy consists of the following configurable components:

  • Security Settings Configures security for users, computers, and domains

  • Scripts Specifies scripts for computer startup and shutdown, as well as for user logon and logoff events

  • Preference Items Configures unenforced settings for users and computers

  • Folder Redirection Places special folders such as Documents or specified application folders on the network

  • Software Settings Assigns applications to users


2. Group Policy Objects

A collection of policy settings is called a Group Policy object (GPO). A GPO contains policies that affect computers and policies that affect users. Computer-related policies include computer security settings, application settings, and computer startup and shutdown scripts. User-related policies define application settings, folder redirection, assigned and published applications, user logon and logoff scripts, and user security settings. In cases of conflicting policies, the convention is that computer-related settings override user-related settings.

In a GPO, most settings have three possible states: enabled, disabled, and not configured. Group policies are inherited and cumulative. When you associate a GPO with an Active Directory container, the Group Policy is applied to all computer and user accounts in the container.

UNDER THE HOOD: Components of Group Policy

Group Policy is an abstraction consisting of two parts, a Group Policy Container (GPC) and a Group Policy Template (GPT). Both parts are contained in a Group Policy object (GPO). The GPO is what we work with directly. The GPO contains all the settings that can apply to users and computers. When those settings are changed, the changes are made to the GPO. The two components of the GPO exist in different places.

The GPC is the Active Directory component of the GPO and includes subcontainers with version information, status information, and a list of which Group Policy extensions are employed in the GPO. It also contains some information used by clients, such as the software installation policy.

The GPT is a set of files in the SYSVOL folder on the server. When you create a GPO, the corresponding GPT folder structure is created automatically. The actual name of the folder for the GPT is the globally unique identifier (GUID) for the GPO—a number that is useful to the computer but is otherwise incomprehensible. To see the policy folder, look in %SystemRoot%\SYSVOL\sysvol\domain_name\policies. But do not change this folder in any way. Work on Group Policy through the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC).

3. Managing Group Policies

The Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) provides a comprehensive overview of Group Policy in a single console. All Group Policy management tasks can be performed in the GPMC except configuring individual policies in GPOs.

When you want to configure individual policies, the GPMC will launch the Group Policy Object Editor with the policy loaded.

To see the group policies specifically defined for Windows SBS, select Administrative Tools from the Start menu and then select Group Policy Management. Expand Forest and then Domains until you get to MyBusiness as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Viewing SBS Group Policy


To view or modify an existing GPO, right-click the GPO and select Edit as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Choosing to edit a GPO


This action opens the Group Policy Management Editor (shown in Figure 3), wherein you can expand various items in the console to view existing settings.

Figure 3. Viewing Group Policies

 
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