What is group policy in active directory? What are Group Policy objects (GPOs)?
Group policy is a feature of Microsoft Windows Active Directory that adds additional controls to user and computer accounts. Group policies provide centralized management of User and Computer configuration settings.
A Group Policy Object is a collection of settings systems administrators create with the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Group Policy Editor. The GPO can be associated with one or more of the Active Directory containers, such as sites, domains, or organizational units (OUs).
What is GPO container and Group Policy template?
The Group Policy container is an Active Directory container that stores GPO properties, including information on version, GPO status, and a list of components that have settings in the GPO.
The Group Policy template is a folder structure within the file system that stores Administrative Template-based policies, security settings, script files, and information regarding applications that are available for Group Policy Software Installation.
The Group Policy template is in the system volume folder (Sysvol) in the \Policies subfolder for its domain.
What is the order in which GPOs are applied?
Group Policy settings are processed in the following order:
1.Local Group Policy object : Each computer has exactly one Group Policy object that is stored locally. This processes for both computer and user Group Policy processing.
2.Site : Any GPOs that have been linked to the site that the computer belongs to are processed next. Processing is in the order that is specified by the administrator, on the Linked Group Policy Objects tab for the site in Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). The GPO with the lowest link order is processed last, and therefore has the highest precedence.
3.Domain: Processing of multiple domain-linked GPOs is in the order specified by the administrator, on the Linked Group Policy Objects tab for the domain in GPMC. The GPO with the lowest link order is processed last, and therefore has the highest precedence.
4.Organizational units : GPOs that are linked to the organizational unit that is highest in the Active Directory hierarchy are processed first, then POs that are linked to its child organizational unit, and so on. Finally, the GPOs that are linked to the organizational unit that contains the user or computer are processed.
At the level of each organizational unit in the Active Directory hierarchy, one, many, or no GPOs can be linked. If several GPOs are linked to an organizational unit, their processing is in the order that is specified by the administrator, on the Linked Group Policy Objects tab for the organizational unit in GPMC.
The GPO with the lowest link order is processed last, and therefore has the highest precedence.
This order means that the local GPO is processed first, and GPOs that are linked to the organizational unit of which the computer or user is a direct member are processed last, which overwrites settings in the earlier GPOs if there are conflicts. (If there are no conflicts, then the earlier and later settings are merely aggregated.)
How to backup/restore Group Policy objects?
Opening the Group Policy Management console. Now, navigate through the console tree to Group Policy Management | Forest: | Domains | Group Policy Objects.
When you do, the details pane should display all the group policy objects that are associated with the domain. The Group Policy Objects container stores all the group policy objects for the domain.
Now, right-click on the Group Policy Objects container, and choose the Back Up All command from the shortcut menu. When you do, Windows will open the Back Up Group Policy Object dialog box.
Dialog box requires you to provide the path to which you want to store the backup files. You can either store the backups in a dedicated folder on a local drive, or you can place them in a folder on a mapped network drive. The dialog box also contains a Description field that you can use to provide a description of the backup that you are creating.
You must provide the path to which you want to store your backup of the group policy objects.
To initiate the backup process, just click the Back Up button. When the backup process completes, you should see a dialog box that tells you how many group policy objects were successfully backed up. Click OK to close the dialog box, and you’re all done.
When it comes to restoring a backup of any Group Policy Object, you have two options. The first option is to right-click on the Group Policy Object, and choose the Restore From Backup command from the shortcut menu. When you do this, Windows will remove all the individual settings from the Group Policy Object, and then implement the settings found in the backup.
Your other option is to right-click on the Group Policy Object you want to restore and choose the Import Settings option. This option works more like a merge than a restore.
Any settings that presently reside within the Group Policy Object are retained unless there is a contradictory setting within the file that is being imported.
What are administrative templates?
Administrative Templates are a feature of Group Policy, a Microsoft technology for centralised management of machines and users in an Active Directory environment. Administrative Templates facilitate the management of registry-based policy. An ADM file is used to describe both the user interface presented to the Group Policy administrator and the registry keys that should be updated on the target machines.
An ADM file is a text file with a specific syntax which describes both the interface and the registry values which will be changed if the policy is enabled or disabled.
ADM files are consumed by the Group Policy Object Editor (GPEdit). Windows XP Service Pack 2 shipped with five ADM files (system.adm, inetres.adm, wmplayer.adm, conf.adm and wuau.adm). These are merged into a unified “namespace” in GPEdit and presented to the administrator under the Administrative Templates node (for both machine and user policy).
How can I override blocking of inheritance?
You can set No Override on a specific Group Policy object link so that Group Policy objects linked at a lower-level of Active Directory closer to the recipient user or computer account — cannot override that policy. If you do this, Group Policy objects linked at the same level, but not as No Override, are also prevented from overriding. If you have several links set to No Override, at the same level of Active Directory, then you need to prioritize them. Links higher in the list have priority on all Configured (that is, Enabled or Disabled) settings.
If you have linked a specific Group Policy object to a domain and set the Group Policy object link to No Override, then the configured Group Policy settings that the Group Policy object contains apply to all organizational units under that domain. Group Policy objects linked to organizational units cannot override that domain-linked Group Policy object.
You can also block inheritance of Group Policy from above in Active Directory. This is done by checking Block Policy inheritance on the Group Policy tab of the Properties sheet of the domain or organizational unit. This option does not exist for a site.
Some important facts about No Override and Block Policy are listed below:
# No Override is set on a link, not on a site, domain, organizational unit, or Group Policy object.
# Block Policy Inheritance is set on a domain or organizational unit, and therefore applies to all Group Policy objects linked at that level or higher in Active Directory which can be overridden.
# No Override takes precedence over Block Policy Inheritance if the two are in conflict.
What can I do to prevent inheritance from above?
You can block policy inheritance for a domain or organizational unit. Using block inheritance prevents GPOs linked to higher sites, domains, or organizational units from being automatically inherited by the child-level. By default, children inherit all GPOs from the parent, but it is sometimes useful to block inheritance.
For example, if you want to apply a single set of policies to an entire domain except for one organizational unit, you can link the required GPOs at the domain level (from which all organizational units inherit policies by default), and then block inheritance only on the organizational unit to which the policies should not be applied.