Windows Vista SP1 removes GPMC

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Maybe you have, or not, noticed that there has been as small discussion about GPMC in Windows Vista SP1 since the release of the “Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Beta White Paper“.

This is because in the white paper you can read the following: “Administrators requested features in Group Policy that simplify policy management. To do this, the service pack will uninstall the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) and GPEdit.msc will edit local Group Policy by default. In the SP1 timeframe, administrators can download an out-of-band release that will give them the ability to add comments to Group Policy Objects (GPOs) or individual settings and search for specific settings.”

This means that when you install SP1 you will no longer have GPMC installed on your computer and you should install the new enhanced edition of GPMC that will be available for download.

There is a small catch. If you install the SP1 now you will have GPMC removed and there is no GPMC-version available for download so then you need to: “Beta testers will find that after installing Windows Vista SP1, they no longer have access to GPMC, and that the new, enhanced version of GPMC has not yet been released. In this case, administrators can continue to edit Group Policy by opening a remote desktop session directly to the server or to a PC running the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows Vista.” as written on Windows Vista Blog

They wrote about this on Betanews.com and on this site they have some parts completely wrong and instead of me writing about it you can read some parts from it on Darren Mar-Elia’s Blog which I find amusing.

In my personal mind I think it was the best to remove GPMC for a number of reasons since on most of the computers you wouldn’t need it, you can get very far using only gpedit.msc and rsop.msc and you should risk having users that could do own things with the tool, like for example create a backup of all your GPO’s etc.

Lets also hope the new enhanced version is as good as the existing one! :)

Download Windows Vista Service Pack 1 White paper


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Microsoft Group Policy Diagnostic Best Practice Analyzer (GPDBPA) tool

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Two days ago Microsoft released a new tool “Microsoft Group Policy Diagnostic Best Practice Analyzer (GPDBPA)”

This tool is used for collecting data about your Group Policy configuration environment, or as stated in the KB:

  • To search for common configuration errors
  • To discover and to diagnose problems
  • To collect data for archiving

I will give the tool a closer look tomorrow and run against some test machines to see what it gives me back but in the meantime here is the links and the KB for this new tool.
Note: I’m not sure if it’s ment to be or not but the tool is only available in english and wont run on any other computer with a different language.

Windows Server 2003 x86 edition
Windows Server 2003 x64 edition
Windows XP x86 edition
Windows XP x64 edition

KB 940122


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Wireless Network Policy

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Depending on which system you use you have some different options if you want to configure wireless policys using Group Policy.

Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008: These has it as default that you can configure wireless policys using GPO so nothing needs to be done.

Windows 2003: Depending on which level of servicepack you have installed you might need to install “Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) support for Wireless Network (IEEE 802.11) Policies is available for Windows Server 2003″. Note that this will not let you configure WPA2 wireless policys. You will need Windows Vista och Windows Server 2008 for that.

Windows XP: First requirement is that you need to have Windows Server 2003 AD Schema in your AD. Second requirement is that you need atleast SP1 for XP.
From you Windows 2003 server (located at C:\Windows\System32) copy the files wlsnp.dll, wlstore.dll and ws03res.dll. Then register wlsnp.dll using “regsvr32 wlsnp.dll”.
Now this has registrered a new snap-in for Wireless Network Policy.
Side-note: For Windows XP to be able to process WPA2 policys you will need to install “Update for Windows XP (KB917021)”

Windows 2000: Sorry, no can do…


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Comments in GPMC

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Introduced in the new GPMC for Windows Vista/Windows 2008 is adding comments of your own to settings you make in a GPO.

Whenever you do any setting in a GPO you can add on a Comment in the new Comment page writing whatever you like. This is stored in the GPO so you will always have it for reference for further use later or any other purpose you might have.
Writing_comment_GPO

These comments you write will of course print out on your reports created from GPMC, which I think is a very nice feature added.
StarterGPO_Comments

Comments are stored at \\ad.domain.com\SYSVOL\ad.domain.com\policies\{GUID}\[MACHINE]/[USER]\comment.cmtx which is of course an XML file containing all your comments of settings in the GPO.
comment.cmtx

Using comments for your settings might make your life easier but remember that they wont show up if you are still using XP!


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StarterGPOs – New feature in GPMC

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In Windows 2008 they have introduced Starter GPO’s. This is some sort of template with which you can create real GPO’s with this as base for further editing and also with these templates it will be easier to have templates in a larger environment where you have several persons creating GPO’s, for example at department level.

. StarterGPO_Comments

As you can see in printscreen StarterGPOs have their own location in GPMC where you create your starters like any other GPO. Just right click and select New, Select a name and maybe a comment about this Starter and of you go.
When you open the Editor you will see that you only have Administrative Templates which is the only thing you can configure in these Starters. Software Settings and Windows Settings are excluded.
StarterGPO_Editor 

StarterGPO’s isn’t located in the same place as normal GPO’s.
A normal GPO would be in \\ad.domain.com\SYSVOL\ad.domain.com\Policies\ but a StarterGPO is located in \\ad.domain.com\SYSVOL\ad.domain.com\StarterGPOs but it’s still defined with a GUID

If you open one of these folders you wont find any GPT.ini file as normal when you have a GPO, instead you will find a StarterGPO.tmplx which is some sort of XML-file defining the Starter.
StarterGPO.tmplx


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Office 2007 ADM-template problems

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As you could see in my last post I found a problem with the Common Feed List so I wondered how many more issues there were which I haven’t discoved yet so I did a search and these I found as KB-articles.

Cached Exchange Mode is enabled in Outlook 2007 even though you set the “Do not use Cached Exchange Mode for all new Outlook profiles” setting in the Office Customization Tool

The Junk Mail Import List setting in the Office Customization Tool is not set correctly in the Group Policy templates

The “Synchronize Outlook RSS Feeds with Common Feed List” setting in the Office Customization Tool is not set correctly in the Group Policy templates

The “Automatically download enclosures” setting for RSS feeds in the Office Customization Tool is not set correctly in the Group Policy templates

The “Prevent users from adding PSTs to Outlook profiles and/or prevent using Sharing-Exclusive PSTs” setting is configured incorrectly in the Office Customization Tool and in the Group Policy templates

The”Disables the shortcut key” setting is configured incorrectly in the Office Customization Tool and in the Group Policy templates

The “Junk e-mail protection level” setting in the Office Customization Tool is not set correctly in the Group Policy templates

The free/busy grid displays only your working hours when you create a new meeting request in Outlook 2007

The “Make Outlook the default program for E-mail, Contacts, and Calendar” setting is disabled in Outlook 2007

Since some of these settings are commonly used I figured that it could be worth posting them here!


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Synchronize Outlook RSS Feeds with Common Feed List

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I do almost all of my settings for Windows using GPO whenever possible and Office is no difference so when configuring Office 2007 I got a problem with my RSS-feeds.

My list of RSS-feeds in IE differed from the list I had in Outlook which surprised me since I know I choose so use the Common Feed List.

I check in Outlook and found out that the checkbox (Sync RSS feeds to the Common Feed List) was greyed out and unticked even if I know I selected the right choice when configuring my GPO.

So I started searching on the Internet and found one hit, which is http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932126. Apparently MS has made a mistake in the outlk12.adm file (and also in the outlk12.opa file for OCT) so when you select enable for switching this function on, what really happens is that you turn it off.

The adm-files for Office 2007 you can download here but note that the above has not been corrected so you need to change this first thing (or keep it in mind :) ).


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ADMX Migrator – Issues

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As you could see in my old post about the ADMX migrator it will convert your existing adm-files to the new format but there are some open issues with this Migrator which can crasch GPEdit when you try to open them after convert has been done.

Read about this (Note #1) from Jeremy’s GP Blog as he has reported some of these problems to Full Armor/MS and reports that the new version will come in beginning of October.


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GPLogView

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When troubleshooting Group Policy there has been some ways to do it but there is a new tool introduced with Windows Vista to make it even easier. This tool has been around for some time but I don’t think too many knows about it yet.

The tool is named GPLogView and it benefits from the new and improved logging for Group Policy in Windows Vista.

Read more about this to at the Group Policy Team Blog
Read about the monitor mode which I think is a nice feature.

Download the tool here.

Edit: This tool has also been released as an open source project so you may download the code from here if you need to alter the code for any reason.


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ADMX Migrator

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If you want to use your own created adm-files in Windows Vista you would need to convert them into ADMX-format.

Microsoft has provided us with a tool for this named ADMX Migrator where you can migrate your adm-template to the new xml-format.

One great thing with this tool is that you can change the templates after migration (or even create new ones) without the need to open them in a text-editor or something else for editing. Another purpose may be to migrate Microsoft’s own Office 2007 adm-files to the new format since they have only released in the old format.

Download the tool here and start migrate your policies today.

See Printscreen: ADMX Migrator


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