Group Policy in Windows XP – Updated

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to open and navigate trough pre-defined Group Policy console.

Prerequisites: you have to know what is Group Policy, and how to work in Microsoft Management Console.

Key terms: run Group Policy, Console organization, example settings, gpedit.msc, software settings, windows settings, administrative templates, password policy, security options.

Local Group Policy Console

We will use the beginning menu run command to open our native cluster Policy console. In Run menu, we will open Microsoft Management Console by writing in mmc, then add the cluster Policy Snap-in to our console. we will additionally open pre-defined cluster Policy console by writing gpedit.msc in Run menu.

Run Group Policy

Image 138.1 – Run Group Policy

Group Policy

Image 138.2 – Group Policy

Console Organization

There are two major sections – Computer Configuration section, and User Configuration section. If user settings are defined in AD, then they are independent of the computer on which the user logs on to. If settings are configured locally, settings are valid only for local users. User settings get applied at user log on.

Under Computer Configuration, as well as under User Configuration, there are three categories of setting:

  • Software Settings are used to control the installation of software, and there are no local settings for this. This section can only be configured through AD.
  • Windows Settings are used to set a wide range of system and startup values.
  • Administrative Templates contain Registry-based policies.

Example Settings

Lets take a look at some Group Policy settings on a local Windows XP workstation.

Password Policy

Image 138.3 – Password Policy

Security Options

Image 138.4 – Security Options

Notice that when we make a selection on the left, the right part of the window shows us two columns. In the first column we see a descriptive Policy name, and in the second column we see current settings for our Policies. If our computer is on a domain, then the current settings are a combination of local settings and settings defined in AD.

To edit a setting, just click double on policy name and choose the appropriate setting.


We can open pre-defined cluster Policy console by typewriting gpedit.msc in Run menu. There ar 2 major sections in cluster Policy console: pc Configuration section and User Configuration section. pc Configuration section contains settings that ar applied for the whole pc. User Configuration node contains settings that ar applied solely to users. code Settings ar wont to management the installation of code, and there are not any native settings for this. Windows Settings ar wont to set a good vary of system and startup values. body Templates contain Registry-based policies.