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Foreign Policy Analysis
Group Policy Processing Order

Group Policy Processing Order


Welcome to the ITFreeTraining course on Group
Policy. Group Policy is a powerful feature that allows the administrator to have a lot
of control over the Windows systems that they support. This course is updated as required
to meet the current exam objectives for the Microsoft certification exams. So to start this course off, let’s ask the
question, what is Group Policy? Group Policy allows the system administrator to have centralized
control of users and computers on the network. Settings can be configured like desktop settings,
printers and login scripts just to mention a few. Group Policy works like this, an administrator,
in this case, creates a group policy in Active Directory. They can then configure just over
3 and a half thousand settings. These settings can be targeted for users or computers. This
includes desktop, laptops and servers. Once the group policy is configured, it will be
downloaded to the computer and applied. The administrator also has the option to configure
group policy settings and assign them to specific users. Like with computers, the settings are
configured and applied to the users. Any changes to group policy settings stored in Active
Directory will automatically be downloaded to the computer and applied to the users and
computers. You can see that the Group Policy feature in Windows allows the administrator
to have a lot of control over the user’s experience. Now that we understand what Group
Policy is, I will now have a closer look at the history of Group Policy and how it works. Group Policy was first introduced in Windows
2000. If you want to configure Windows, you can do this using the registry; however, changes
made to the registry are permanent. In contrast, changes to group policy are not permanent
and can be rolled back at any time. To remove a change, the administrator would simply un-configure
the group policy setting and Windows will do the rest. The next consideration with using the registry
is that the registry can change. This is common with new operating systems. If you control
the user’s experience using the registry, there is no guarantee that that same registry
setting will work the same on a newer operating system. With group policy, changes in the operating
system and new operating systems are supported. Although group policy is updated, in most
cases the group policy will work the same on older operating systems and on newer operating
systems. In some cases, you may need to configure some additional settings to support newer
operating systems because they have new features; however, you should not have to change any
existing settings. You can see the advantages of Group Policy over traditional registry
editing to configure computers in your organization. With all this talk of centralized control,
it may surprise you to hear that Group Policy is in fact client driven. Group Policy settings
are configured on clients by Client Side Extensions or CSE’s. Which CSE’s are installed on
the clients depends on which operating system is running. Newer operating systems currently
have 4 CSE’s. All Windows versions that support Group Policy will have 3 CSE’s.
If the 4th CSE’s is not shipped with the operating system, Microsoft does have this
CSE available to be downloaded and installed for operating system after and including Windows
XP. Group Policy essentially works like this.
Group Policy settings are stored on a Domain Controller and replicated to all the other
Domain Controllers. A client on the network will download a copy of the Group Policies
that apply to that client. These Group Policies will then be processed by the Client Side
Extension. If there is no Client Side Extension or the Client Side Extension does not understand
that setting, the setting will simply be ignored. This allows you to configure Group Policy
without having to worry about older clients not being able to process the setting. Once
you start learning about Group Policy, you will find that it is a flexible system allowing
backward compatibility as well a future development. Well that covers it for the introduction to
Group Policy. Remember this is only the first video in the series on Group Policy. For the
rest of the videos, please see our web page or YouTube Channel. Until the next video,
thanks for watching.

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