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Active Directory, Second Edition by Alistair G. Lowe-Norris, Robbie Allen

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Managing Group Policies

The Microsoft tools available to manage GPOs under Windows 2000 were pretty limited, consisting of the Group Policy Object Editor (formerly Group Policy Editor) and built-in support in the Active Directory Users and Computers and Active Directory Sites and Services snap-ins. While these tools could get the job done, they did not provide any support for viewing the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP), viewing how GPOs had been applied throughout a domain, or backing up or restoring GPOs. Luckily these tools weren’t the only option: third-party vendor Full Armor produced Fazam 2000, which has comprehensive group policy management functionality.

Directly after the release of Windows Server 2003, Microsoft released the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) as a separate web download. The GPMC is a much-needed addition to Microsoft’s GPO management tools and provides nearly every GPO management function that an organization might need, including scripting support.

The other new feature available in the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory administrative tools and in GPMC is support for viewing the RSoP for a given domain, site or Organizational Unit based on certain criteria. RSoP allows administrators to determine what settings will be applied to a user and can aid in troubleshooting GPO problems. RSoP will be described in more detail in the section on debugging group policies.

Using the Group Policy Object Editor

When you add a GPOE snap-in to a console, you can only ...

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