Last year, I posted Three useful ways to get started with Group Policy in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. With the release of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 last month, it’s time to look at managing Microsoft’s latest and greatest Operating Systems:
Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 offer a lot of new functionality. Of course, a lot of this functionality can be centrally managed with Active Directory through Group Policy. But how do you find the Group Policy settings that are new to these two Operating Systems?
1. Use the Group Policy Search Website
First of all, the Group Policy Search Website can now be accessed at a new web address: gpsearch.azurewebsites.net. Although the old address still gets you there, this redirect might no longer function any time soon. Be sure to update your bookmarks.
This Group Policy Search website features a more intuitive Policy Tree in the left navigation pane, including the many Group Policy settings from the Microsoft Office Administrative Templates and several other non-standard settings. Alternatively you can use the Registry Tree, to find the Group Policy settings controlling a certain Registry value.
Within the website, you can filter. Available filters are for supported browsers and Operating Systems (OSs), but also on Machine Policy Settings Only and User Policy Settings Only.
When your job is to communicate and document the Group Policy settings in use in your organization, then you’d also love the Copy menu in the website. It allows for easy copying and sharing of information on a particular Group Policy setting.
2. Use the Group Policy Reference
Microsoft has updated its documentation on the built-in Group Policy settings. The documents can be found here. One of the documents is called WindowsServer2012R2andWindows8.1GroupPolicySettings.xlsx. That’s the Excel document describing the Group Policy Settings for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.
Using the functionality of Microsoft Office Excel, certain Group Policy settings can be filtered out, by using the filter options of the columns of the document. The New in 8.1 column would be particularly useful columns to filter on, when looking for a Group Policy setting for managing a new feature in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.
Also, using Ctrl + F allows you to quickly search the entire document for a certain text.
Three useful ways to get started with Group Policy in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
My presentation on Group Policies in Windows Server 2012 is now online (Dutch)
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