This article discusses the Group Policy preferences that are new in Windows Server 2008 and how to enable down-level computers to process these new items. Group Policy preferences are made up of more than 20 new Group Policy client-side extensions (CSEs) that expand the range of configurable settings in a Group Policy object (GPO). These new preference extensions are included in the Group Policy Management Editor window of the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). The kinds of preference items that can be created by using each extension are listed when New is selected for the extension. Examples of the new Group Policy preference extensions include the following:

  • Folder Options

  • Drive Maps

  • Printers

  • Scheduled Tasks

  • Services

  • Start Menu

For more information about what's new in Group Policy in Windows Server 2008 R2, visit the following Microsoft TechNet Web site: The packages that are listed in the "More Information" section include the CSEs for the new Group Policy preference functionality. These CSEs are required in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), and in Windows Vista to process the new preference items.

Note This installer does not provide any user interface for configuring Group Policy preferences. This new functionality can only be configured under the new Preferences folder under User or Computer Configuration in the Group Policy Management Editor window of the GPMC on the following computers:

  • Windows Server 2008-based computers

  • Windows Vista SP1-based computers that have Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) installed

Important For existing PolicyMaker customers, this installer will remove your existing PolicyMaker CSEs installation. Do not install this on computers that are currently processing PolicyMaker settings until you have migrated the PolicyMaker settings in your GPOs to Group Policy preference settings. A tool to automate the migration from PolicyMaker settings to Group Policy preference settings will be available very soon.

More Information

For more information about Group Policy preferences, visit the following Microsoft Web site: versions of the new Windows Server 2008 Group Policy preferences client-side extensions for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP can be downloaded by using Windows Update.

These updated versions resolve the following issues:

  • CSEs are removed when a service pack is installed.

  • The Remove option is not available in Add or Remove Programs when the package is uninstalled and reinstalled.

  • Invalid support URL in Add or Remove Programs.

  • Incorrect title is shown in the Installed Updates window.

  • Vista Packages install on Service Pack 2 and later.

Or, to download the original Group Policy preference client-side extensions for your operating system, visit one of the following Microsoft Web sites:

Note If you tried to install the original release of these updates, the installation would fail, and you would receive the following error message.

Text in Error Title bar:

Windows Update Standalone Installer

Error Message text:

The update does not apply to your system

If you experienced this problem, install these re-released versions of the updates.


XmlLite is required to successfully install the new Windows Server 2008 Group Policy preferences client-side extensions in Windows Server 2003 and in Windows XP. For more information about XmlLite. visit the following Microsoft Web site: To download the XmlLite package, visit one of the following Microsoft Web sites:Windows Server 2003, 64-bit edition Server 2003, 32-bit edition XP, 64-bit edition XP, 32-bit edition

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