Group Policy API


Group Policy enables policy-based administration using Microsoft Active Directory directory services. Group Policy uses directory services and security group membership to provide flexibility and support extensive configuration information. Policy settings are specified by an administrator. This is in contrast to profile settings, that are specified by a user. Policy settings are created using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in for Group Policy.

Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) is an enhanced Group Policy infrastructure that uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to enable administrators to determine the policy settings that apply to, or will apply to, a user or computer.

Group Policy preferences enable administrators to configure, deploy, and manage greater numbers of operating system and application settings while still allowing the user to change their configuration.

Where applicable

All Windows-based applications can use the Group Policy infrastructure to configure their policy settings.


You cannot call the Group Policy Interfaces from managed code using COM interop.


Developer audience

The Group Policy API is designed for use by C/C ++ programmers. Familiarity with Active Directory and MMC is required.

Run-time requirements

RSoP requires any supported version of Windows. Group Policy preference administration requires Windows Vista or later. For more information about which operating systems are required to use a particular interface, see the Requirements section of the documentation for the interface.

In this section

About Group Policy

General information and code examples about Group Policy architecture and processing.

About Group Policy Preferences

General information and code examples about extending the Group Policy preference Applications Snap-in.

Using Group Policy

General information and code examples about implementing Group Policy and RSoP.


Documentation of the Group Policy functions, interfaces, file formats, and RSoP WMI classes.

Active Directory

Microsoft Management Console