Windows Server 2008 R2 Improvements in the Group Policy Management

Windows Server 2008 R2 introduces over 1,000 new Group Policy Objects specific to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, along with several new components that expand on the core capabilities of Group Policy management that have been part of Windows 2000/2003 Active Directory. The basic functions of Group Policy haven’t changed, so the Group Policy Object Editor (gpedit) and the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) are the same, but with more options and settings available.

As mentioned earlier, the Group Policy Management Console can either be run as a separate MMC tool, or it can be launched off the Features branch of the Server Manager console tree. Group policies in Windows Server 2008 R2 provide more granular management of local machines, specifically having policies that push down to a client that are different for administrator and non-administrator users.

Additionally, applications can now query or register with a network location awareness service within Group Policy management, which provides the identity where a user or computer object resides. As an example, a policy can be written that allows users to have access to applications and files if they are on a local network segment, but blocks users from accessing the same content when they are on a remote segment for security and privacy reasons. This addition to group policies adds a third dimension to policies so that now administrators can not only define who and what someone has access to, but also limit their access based on where they are.

When running the Group Policy Management Console to manage a Windows Server 2008 R2 Active Directory environment, run the GPMC tool from a Windows Server 2008 R2 server or a Windows 7 client system to have access to all the editable objects available. If you run the GPMC tool from a Windows 2003 server or Windows XP client, you will not see all the features nor have full access to edit all objects available. This is because Windows Server 2008 R2 now supports new template file formats (ADMX and ADML) that are only accessible from Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 systems.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

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