How to modify the default Group Policy refresh interval

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Article ID: 203607 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q203607
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This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
Notice
This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.
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SUMMARY

This article describes how to modify the default group policy refresh interval.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows


A group policy is applied when you start a computer and when a user logs on to Windows 2000. After a group policy is applied, Windows 2000 determines which group policy should be applied the next time a user logs on. By querying specific registry values, an administrator can specify whether a group policy should be refreshed in the background, and if so, at what intervals.

The interval at which a group policy is refreshed is defined by a refresh interval value and an offset interval value. The refresh interval is an amount of time between 0 (zero) and 64800 minutes (45 days), which is used to determine when the group policy should be applied next. By default, if the administrator does not modify the default setting, Windows 2000-based computers use 90-minute intervals. For domain controllers, the default is 5 minutes. This default for domain controllers is used because when a change to domain policy or rights is made, this reduces the latency in applying the change to domain controllers as replication occurs. If 0 (zero) is specified for the refresh interval, the refresh occurs in 7-second intervals.

To avoid the performance degradation that can occur if many Windows 2000-based computers request a group policy refresh from domain controllers at one time, a random offset interval is added to the refresh interval to determine the total amount of time between group policy application cycles. The valid range for the offset interval can be 0 (zero) to 1,440 minutes (24 hours). The default for Windows 2000-based computers is 30 minutes, while the default for domain controllers is 0 (zero) minutes.

The interval at which the background refresh of a group policy occurs for the computer and the user are maintained separately. The administrator has the option of modifying these default values or disabling the ability to refresh a group policy in the background.

How to modify the refresh and offset intervals on a specific computer

  1. Log on to the Windows 2000-based computer as an administrator.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
  3. Double-click Computer Configuration, and then double-click Administrative Templates.
  4. Double-click System, and then double-click Group Policy to display the group policies.
  5. Depending on the type of computer from which you making this change, double-click Group Policy refresh interval for computers to make this change for workstations or for member servers. Or, double-click Group Policy refresh interval for domain controllers.
  6. Click Enable in Group Policy refresh interval for computers so that you can modify the refresh and offset intervals settings on the Policy tab. Optionally, the administrator can enable Disable background refresh of group policy.
  7. Click OK, and then close the Computer Management snap-in.
Note These changes may be overridden by a policy set up by an administrator in Group Policy Objects (GPO) in Active Directory.

How to change the behavior by modifying the registry

Use Registry Editor to make one or more of the following modifications:
  • To change the refresh interval for computers:
    Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ System
    Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTime
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Valid range for data (in minutes): 0 to 64800
  • To change the offset interval for computers:
    Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ System
    Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeOffset
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Valid range for data (in minutes): 0 to 1440
  • To change the refresh interval for domain controllers:
    Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ System
    Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeDC
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Valid range for data (in minutes): 0 to 64800
  • To change the offset interval for domain controllers:
    Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ System
    Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeOffsetDC
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Valid range for data (in minutes): 0 to 1440
  • To change the refresh interval for users:
    Registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ System
    Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTime
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Valid range for data (in minutes): 0 to 64800
  • To change the offset interval for users:
    Registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\ System
    Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeOffset
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Valid range for data (in minutes): 0 to 1440

How to use a Group Policy object (GPO) to change the behavior of multiple computers

  1. Log on to the Windows 2000-based computer as an administrator.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type mmc, and then click OK.
  3. Click Console, and then click Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. In the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box, click Add, select the Group Policy item in the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box, and then click Add.
  5. In the Select Group Policy Object dialog box, click Browse to select the appropriate Group Policy object (GPO).

    Note You can select the local computer or another computer in the domain as the correct GPO.
  6. Click OK, click Finish, click Close to close the Add Standalone Snap-in dialog box, select the added GPO, and then click OK to close the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box.
  7. Click Console Root, double-click GPO, double-click Computer Configuration, double-click Administrative Templates, double-click System, and then double-click Group Policy to display the group policy behavior policies.
  8. The Group Policy refresh interval for computers and the Group Policy refresh interval for domain controllers policies exists for modifying the intervals for Windows 2000-based computers and domain controllers. When a group policy is applied, the appropriate settings are used for the type of computer on which the policy is being applied.
  9. Double-click the appropriate policy
  10. Click Enable on the Policy tab, so that you are able to modify the refresh and offset intervals settings. Optionally, the administrator can click to select the Disable background refresh of group policy check box in the Disable background refresh of group policy behavior policy.
  11. Click OK, and then close the Group Policy Editor snap-in.

Properties

Article ID: 203607 - Last Review: April 3, 2007 - Revision: 5.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
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