Maintaining Group Policy

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

After deployment, your Group Policy implementation might need routine maintenance and modification as your organization and its needs evolve and as your experience with Group Policy grows. By establishing control procedures for creating, linking, editing, importing settings into, backing up, and restoring Group Policy objects, you can minimize help desk and support calls arising from poorly planned Group Policy deployments. You can also simplify troubleshooting GPOs and help lower the total cost of ownership for computers in your network.

By establishing GPO control mechanisms, you can create GPOs that:

  • Conform to corporate standards.

  • Ensure that policy settings do not conflict with those set by others.

Figure 2.12 illustrates the place of this step in the process of designing a Group Policy infrastructure.

Figure 2.12   Maintaining Group Policy

Maintaining Group Policy

To assist with troubleshooting GPOs, you can use the GPMC Group Policy Results Wizard to identify possible Group Policy deployment errors. For more information about this tool, see "Using Group Policy Modeling and Group Policy Results to Evaluate Group Policy Settings” earlier in this chapter. You can also use the GPMC Group Policy Modeling Wizard to evaluate the consequences of new Group Policy settings prior to deploying them to your production environment.

Whenever you deploy new technology solutions, such as wireless networking, you need to revisit your Group Policy configurations to ensure compatibility with new technology. To help manage various technologies, Group Policy offers settings such as those for Wireless Network IEEE (802.11) Policies options in Security Settings, Terminal Services in Administrative Templates, and settings for many other technologies.

Modifying Group Policy settings can have significant consequences. When performing Group Policy maintenance, you need to take reasonable precautions to test proposed changes and evaluate their effects in a staging environment prior to deployment.