This article describes how to use the Group Policy Editor
to change local policy settings for the computer or for users of the computer.
Uses of Group Policy
In Microsoft Windows XP, you use Group Policy to define user and
computer configurations for groups of users and computers. You create a
specific desktop configuration for a particular group of users and computers by
using the Group Policy Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in. The Group
Policy settings that you create are contained in a Group Policy Object (GPO),
which is in turn associated with selected Active Directory containers, such as
sites, domains, or organizational units (OUs). With the Group Policy snap-in
you can specify policy settings for the following:
- Registry-based policies.
These include Group Policy for the Windows XP operating
system and its components and for programs. To manage these settings, use the
Administrative Templates node of the Group Policy snap-in.
- Security options.
These include options for local computer, domain, and
network security settings.
- Software installation and maintenance options.
These are used to centrally manage program installation,
updates, and removal.
- Scripts options.
These include scripts for computer startup and shutdown,
and user logon and logoff.
- Folder redirection options.
These allow administrators to redirect users' special
folders to the network.
With Group Policy, you can define the state of users' work
environment once and rely on the system to enforce the policies that you
How to Start the Group Policy Editor
To start the group policy editor, follow these steps.NOTE
: You must be logged on to the computer using an account that has
administrator privileges in order to use Group Policy Editor.
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- In the Open box, type mmc, and then click OK.
- On the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap-in.
- Click Add.
- Under Available Stand-alone Snap-ins, click Group Policy, and then click Add.
- If you do not want to edit the Local Computer policy, click
Browse to locate the group policy object that you want. Supply your user
name and password if prompted, and then when you return to the Select
Group Policy Object dialog box, click Finish.
NOTE: You can use the Browse button to locate group policy objects linked to sites, domains,
organizational units (OU), or computers. Use the default Group Policy Object
(GPO) (Local Computer) to edit the settings on the local computer.
- Click Close, and then in the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box, click OK.
The selected GPO is displayed in the Console
How to Use the Group Policy Editor
The Group Policy snap-in contains the following major branches:
- Computer Configuration
Administrators can use Computer Configuration to set
policies that are applied to computer, regardless of who logs on to the
computers. Computer Configuration typically contains sub-items for software
settings, Windows settings, and administrative templates.
- User Configuration
Administrators can use User Configuration to set policies
that apply to users, regardless of which computer they log on to. User
Configuration typically contains sub-items for software settings, Windows
settings, and administrative templates.
To use the group policy editor, follow these steps:
- Expand the GPO that you want. For example, Local Computer Policy.
- Expand the configuration item that you want. For example, Computer Configuration.
- Expand the sub-item that you want. For example, Windows Settings.
- Navigate to the folder that contains the policy setting
that you want. The policy items are displayed in the right pane on the Group
Policy Editor snap-in.
NOTE: If no policy is defined for the selected item, right-click the
folder that you want and then on the shortcut menu that appears, point to All Tasks, and then click the command that you want. The commands that are
displayed on the All Tasks submenu are context sensitive. Only those commands that are
applicable to the selected policy folder appear on the menu.
- In the Setting list, double-click the policy item that you want.
NOTE: When you work with policy items in the Administrative Templates folder, click the Extended tab in the right pane of the MMC if you want to view more
information about the selected policy item.
- Edit the settings of the policy in the dialog box that
appears, and then click OK.
- When you are finished, quit the MMC.
The following example illustrates the use of the Group Policy
Editor to customize the Windows XP user interface. In this example, we will use
the Group Policy Editor to temporarily remove the Turn Off Computer
button from the Start
menu. To do this, follow these steps:
- Start the Group Policy Editor and open the Local Computer
policy by using the steps provided in the How
to Start the Group Policy Editor section of this article.
NOTE: You can start the Group Policy Editor snap-in from the command
line. This automatically loads the Local Computer GPO. To do this, follow these
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- In the Open box, type Gpedit.msc, and then click OK.
- Expand User Configuration (if it is not already expanded).
- Under User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates.
- Click Start Menu and Taskbar.
- In the right pane, double-click Remove and disable
the Turn Off Computer button.
- Click Enabled, and then click Apply.
- Click Start.
Notice that the Turn Off Computer button is no longer displayed.
- Select the Remove and disable the Turn Off Computer
button Properties dialog box.
- Click Not Configured, then click Apply, and then click OK.
- Click Start.
Notice that the Turn Off Computer button is again displayed on the Start menu.
- Quit the Group Policy Editor snap-in.
For additional information
about using computer management in Microsoft Windows XP, click the article
number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
How To Use Computer Management
For more information about the use of Group
Policies, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
Article ID: 307882 - Last Review: December 1, 2007 - Revision: 3.7
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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