Understanding Group Policy order (2022)

Group Policy order can be confusing. To understand how exactly Windows applies one GPO (Group Policy Object) versus another, you can use the "LSD OU" rule.

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Josh Rickard

Josh's primary focus is in Windows security and PowerShell automation. He is a GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN) and GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA). You can reach Josh at MSAdministrator.com or on Twitter at @MS_dministrator.

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Contents

  1. The LSD OU rule
  2. Local Group Policy
  3. Site-based Group Policy
  4. Domain-based Group Policy
  5. Container-based Group Policy
  6. Conclusion

You should always ask yourself two questions when dealing with Group Policy:

  1. Where are you (local, site, domain, or organizational unit)?
  2. What are you (computer or user)?

The LSD OU rule ^

With these two questions, you will be able to understand how the system applies Group Policy Objects as well as which object you are attempting to add or remove settings to. Additionally, a simple acronym can help anyone understand the layering of GPOs. That acronym is LSD OU! It stands for the following elements:

(Video) Understanding Group Policy Order of Precedence

L = Local

S = Site

D = Domain

OU = Organizational Unit

You can create and apply GPOs to computers and users, but most people think they only apply to domains. This is partially true, but you can configure Group Policies for local machines as well. This means you can apply GPOs in multiple ways, but GPOs will apply to a system or user in a specific order.

This specific order is the same as in the acronym: LSD OU.

LSD OU rule: L (local), S (site), D (domain), OU (organizational unit)

Local Group Policy ^

On your local system, you can view and edit your Local Group Policy settings by searching your computer. Using the Start Menu, begin typing (searching) for "Edit Group Policy." You can configure settings for your local system or account, but all subsequent Group Policy layers (site, domain, and OU) that have the same setting configured or enabled can overwrite these settings.

This means you can configure Group Policies locally, but the system can overwrite them when you've set Group Policies to trump these settings from site, domain, or OU GPOs applied to your system or user account.

Site-based Group Policy ^

Now that we understand how Windows applies Local Group Policy settings, we move toward understanding how an organization that has Active Directory (AD) can apply GPOs. At the topmost layer, Group Policy Objects can apply to the "site" level. To understand how a site-based Group Policy could work, we must first generally understand how large organizations might structure their environment.

In Active Directory, we have a topmost layer called an AD forest. An organization can have multiple forests. Within each AD forest, we can have multiple domains.

Multiple AD forests and domains

(Video) Group Policy Processing Order

If your organization has a large environment, the infrastructure design may look like the figure above. Even if you only have one domain in your environment, you can use AD sites, but you will not typically see this. You can understand an AD site as a subnet of your network. We can organize or group machines, systems, users, etc. that reside within a specific subnet. We can then apply a specific GPO to those objects even if those items do not reside in the same domain (or even forest).

Some organizations may use this feature. I have never had to use it personally, but it's a great way to organize your GPOs across domains and forests, especially for servers that may reside in your datacenter but belong to different groups, sub-organizations, or domains.

When linking GPOs to your sites (groups) and a Local Group Policy exists with the same setting, site-based GPOs will overwrite any Local GPO settings.

Domain-based Group Policy ^

Domain based Group Policy Objects are far more common in organizations, mostly because setting up a new domain creates a "Default Domain Policy" at the root of that domain. This policy contains a few default settings like a password policy for your users, but most organizations change these. Additionally, some organizations modify this default policy and add their own specifications and settings.

You can definitely add to and edit the Default Domain Policy, but you may be better off just creating a new GPO at the root of your domain. If you decide to modify the existing Default Domain Policy or create a new GPO, please be aware you should apply certain settings to your root domain and not subsequent locations like OUs. It is possible to set these settings in alternate locations, but not recommended. You can only set these settings once per domain, and thus the best practice is to apply these at the root of the domain.

  • Account policies
    • Password policy
    • Enforce password history
    • Maximum and minimum password age
    • Minimum password length
    • Passwords must meet complexity requirements
    • Store passwords using reversible encryption for all users in the domain (Noooooooooo!)
  • Account lockout policy settings
    • Account lockout duration
    • Account lockout threshold
    • Reset account lockout counter after
  • Kerberos policy settings
    • Enforce user logon restrictions
    • Maximum lifetime for service ticket
    • Maximum lifetime for user ticket
    • Maximum lifetime for user ticket renewal
    • Maximum tolerance for computer clock synchronization
    • Network access: Allow anonymous SID/NAME translation
    • Network security: Force logoff when logon hours expire

If you have a specific configuration or setting you want to apply to all systems, you should create and link that GPO to the root of your domain. This aids both visually and logically the design and layout of your GPOs. If you still want to apply a GPO to most of your systems or users, you can still create and link that GPO to the root of your domain. However, you will need to filter what the GPO will apply to.

You can filter a GPO several different ways, but the most common methods are using the Security Filtering sections on the GPO's Scope tab or using WMI Filtering (also located on the Scope tab). By default all GPOs have Authenticated Users set as the filtering scope. (Please note Authenticated Users means both user and computer objects authenticated to the domain.) But if you wish, you can specify both (or either) a Security, Distribution, or individual objects that contain either computers or users, instead of all Authenticated Users.

As I mentioned previously, you can also set a WMI Filter that will automatically filter what objects this GPO will apply to. For example, if I wanted to apply a GPO to all laptop and mobile computers, I could add a WMI filter that would look for the existence of a battery.

WMI filter to apply a GPO only to systems with a battery

Group Policies applied at the domain level will apply to all objects that contain the specific setting you have configured. Applying either a local or site policy that includes an object (user or computer) within our domain will apply those settings first. If we set a domain-wide policy that has any portion of either a local or site GPO, our domain GPO will overwrite either of the previous settings.

In a typical organization, you will always see Account, Account Lockout, and Kerberos Policies at the root of that domain, but some choose to add other policies. For example, one could configure and add settings related to Windows Event Viewer logging across all systems. It is a best practice to create a specific policy for this setting instead of just adding it to the Default Domain Policy (but you can).

Most of your GPOs (configurations) will apply one step lower, at the Organizational Unit level. This allows for more granular control, and visually these OUs typically represent the structure of your organization (e.g. Finance, HR, Marketing, etc.).

Container-based Group Policy ^

Depending on who has designed or organized your Active Directory OU structure, you will typically have a set of containers or folders similar to the layout of a file system. These folders (OUs) can contain any AD object like Users, Computers, Groups, etc. Even though they contain these objects, all Group Policy Objects contain built-in filtering. When we create a new GPO, we will see there are two main configuration options available (built-in filtering). These are Computer Configuration and User Configuration. We can apply configurations to both Users and Computers within the same GPO, but we can also specify one or the other as well.

User and Computer based Group Policy

(Video) 70-410 Objective 6.1 - Understanding Group Policy Management on Windows Server

For example, let's imagine we have a simple setup for our domain that contains the following:

The Default Domain Policy will apply to all OUs and User or Computer objects that reside below where you applied the GPO (basically, in the domain). Again, typically this GPO contains all the Account, Account Lockout, and Kerberos settings for the entire domain and possibly other configurations and settings.

The second layer (Parent OU) has a Group Policy applied to it called Configure Default Logging, which applies to all Computer objects that reside within the Parent OU. This means that the Configure Default Logging policy will apply to any computers within either the Parent OU or Child OU.

The last layer is the Child OU. This OU has another GPO applied to it called Configure Child Default Logging. The Configure Child Default Logging GPO could be the same as the Configure Default Logging GPO. (You shouldn't do this, but if you have a reason to, you can.) But let's imagine we have decided to change the Retain application log setting for all computer objects residing under the Child OU. However, we don't want to apply it to all computer objects within the Parent OU.

This means our Default Domain Policy will apply first to our computer. (Remember, you can specify certain settings only once and thus only apply them once). Next the settings of our Configure Default Logging policy will apply to our computer. Finally, our changes to Configure Default Logging in our Configure Child Default Logging policy will apply last. This will modify any settings that are not "set only once" settings and are within the Configure Default Logging policy.

The order in which these GPOs will apply to our computer objects is as follows:

Default Domain Policy > Configure Default Logging > Configure Child Default Logging

There are a few caveats to this processing though. These are longer topics, which I plan on writing more about soon, but these caveats include both Enforced and Block Inheritance. A GPO applied higher in the hierarchy of your AD (OU) structure has the right to enable a setting on that GPO called Enforced.

Enforced means that if any other OUs have enabled another setting (which I'll talk about next) called Block Inheritance then that GPO will apply no matter what (even with Block Inheritance enabled). A GPO higher in the domain or OU structure that has Enforced enabled will overwrite any subordinate OUs that have enabled Block Inheritance.

To enable the Enforced setting on your GPO, you can right-click it and select Enforced.

Enforcing a GPO

(Video) 15. Group policy processing order, block inheritance and enforce

To add Block Inheritance to an OU, you can select it, right-click it, and select Block Inheritance. Again, if certain settings like Account, Account Lockout, and Kerberos policies already apply, those settings will trump either one of these features since they only can apply once across your domain.

Block inheritance of GPOs to specific OUs to influence GPO order

Conclusion ^

Remember the two main questions you should always ask yourself before enabling a Group Policy Object:

  1. Where are you (local, site, domain, or OU)?
  2. What are you (computer or user)?

Understanding these two questions is critical when you begin configuring GPOs that may impact hundreds or even thousands of users or computers in your organization. Additionally, if you understand LSD OU, you are well on your way to mastering Group Policy order and streamlining your IT processes.

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FAQs

What is the correct order of Group Policy processing? ›

Typically, when determining which policy settings to apply, the local policy of the machine is evaluated, followed by site policies, then domain policies, and finally the policies on all the OUs that contain the object being processed starting at the root of the domain.

Which group policy has the highest precedence? ›

GPOs linked to organizational units have the highest precedence, followed by those linked to domains. GPOs linked to sites always take the least precedence. To understand which GPOs are linked to a domain or OU, click the domain or OU in GPMC and select the Linked Group Policy Objects tab.

What is the hierarchy of group policy? ›

The Group Policy hierarchy

Group Policy objects are applied in a hierarchical manner, and often multiple Group Policy objects are combined together to form the effective policy. Local Group Policy objects are applied first, followed by site level, domain level, and organizational unit level Group Policy objects.

What are 3 Best Practices for GPOs? ›

Group Policy Best Practices
  • Do not modify the Default Domain Policy and Default Domain Controller Policy. ...
  • Create a well-designed organizational unit (OU) structure in Active Directory. ...
  • Give GPOs descriptive names. ...
  • Add comments to your GPOs. ...
  • Do not set GPOs at the domain level. ...
  • Apply GPOs at the OU root level.

What is the first step in the GPO processing order? ›

What is the first step in the GPO processing order? The computer establishes a secure link to the domain controller.

What are the four levels of priority for group policy? ›

Levels of GPO processing

The four unique levels of hierarchy for Group Policy processing are called Local, Site, Domain, and OU.

How do I find my GPO precedence order? ›

If you have more than one GPO linked to an OU then the processing order of these GPOs is determined by what is known as the link order. The GPO with the lowest link order will be processed last – in other words the GPO with a link order of 1 has the highest precedence, followed by link order 2, etc.

How do I take precedence in group policy? ›

To change the precedence of a GPO link:
  1. Select the OU, site, or domain in the GPMC console tree.
  2. Click the Linked Group Policy Objects tab in the details pane.
  3. Select the GPO.
  4. Use the Up, Down, Move To Top, and Move To Bottom arrow icons to change the link order of the selected GPO.
Jul 12, 2015

Which GPO will apply if conflict occurs? ›

If there is conflict between two GPO's of same container, the last applied GPO will be effective. i.e., the bottom one will be effective.

How do I set up group policy? ›

Open Group Policy Management by navigating to the Start menu > Windows Administrative Tools, then select Group Policy Management. Right-click Group Policy Objects, then select New to create a new GPO. Enter a name for the new GPO that you can identify what it is for easily, then click OK.

What are the 5 roles of Active Directory? ›

Currently in Windows there are five FSMO roles:
  • Schema master.
  • Domain naming master.
  • RID master.
  • PDC emulator.
  • Infrastructure master.
Dec 1, 2021

What is GPO and how it works? ›

Microsoft's Group Policy Object (GPO) is a collection of Group Policy settings that defines what a system will look like and how it will behave for a defined group of users. Microsoft provides a program snap-in that allows you to use the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC).

How do I optimize group policy? ›

In particular, the policies that control slow-link detection, processing despite GPO version, and synchronous or asynchronous processing can affect performance significantly.
  1. Slow-link detection. ...
  2. GPO versioning. ...
  3. Asynchronous processing. ...
  4. Disable unused settings. ...
  5. Set a maximum wait time. ...
  6. Limit GPOs. ...
  7. Limit security groups.

How many GPOs is too many? ›

Note, that in no case can a client process more than 999 GPOs before the Group Policy engine gives up and dies. And that's definitely too many GPOs.

How do I manage objects in group policy? ›

Editing a GPO
  1. Start the Group Policy Management application. Press [Windows Key + R] and type “gpmc.msc” and click “OK”
  2. Navigate to the Domain you want to manage and then navigate to the Group Policy Objects container.
  3. To begin editing a GPO, right click the GPO and select “Edit…”.

How do I assign a GPO to a user? ›

On the Group Policy Management screen, select your GPO and access the Delegation tab. On the bottom of the screen, click on the Advanced button. Select the Authenticated users group and uncheck the permission to apply the group policy. Click on the Add button and enter a user account.

Which two components make up a GPO? ›

Every GPO contains two parts, or nodes: a user configuration and a computer configuration. The first level under both the User and the Computer nodes contains Software Settings, Windows Settings and Administrative Templates.

In what order are group policy settings applied quizlet? ›

Group Policy Objects (GPO) are applied in which of the following orders? Local group policy, GPO linked to site, GPO linked to domain, GPO linked to Organizational Unit highest to lowest.

What is OU policy? ›

An organizational unit (OU) is a container within a Microsoft Active Directory domain which can hold users, groups and computers. It is the smallest unit to which an administrator can assign Group Policy settings or account permissions.

Does user or computer policy take precedence? ›

If both settings are configured, the setting in Computer Configuration takes precedence over the setting in User Configuration.

What's the difference between a policy and a preference? ›

A policy is removed when the GPO goes out of scope—that is, when the user or computer is no longer targeted by the GPO. A preference, however, remains configured for the targeted user or computer even when the GPO goes out of scope.

How do you enforce GPO and why? ›

By default, GPO links are not enforced. There it specifically states: The Enforce setting is a property of the link between an Active Directory container and a GPO. It is used to force that GPO to all Active Directory objects within a container, no matter how deeply they are nested.

What happens if there are conflicts between the Group Policy settings? ›

When Group Policy settings are configured for both the parent organizational unit and the child organizational units, the settings for both organizational units apply. If the settings are incompatible, the child organizational unit retains its own Group Policy setting.

How do I troubleshoot Group Policy issues? ›

Here is a four-step guide to troubleshooting Group Policy.
...
4 Steps to Troubleshooting Group Policy
  1. 1 – Confirm CSE is installed. This is a great place to start. ...
  2. 2 – Quick check on GP Health. Rule out odd stuff by running GPResult. ...
  3. 3 – Check the Event Log. ...
  4. 4 – Check the CSE registrations.
Mar 27, 2013

What is GPO override? ›

To enforce the Group Policy settings in a specific GPO, you can specify the No Override option. If you specify this option, policy settings in GPOs that are in lower-level Active Directory containers cannot override the policy.

How do I apply GPO to OU? ›

Start → Administrative tools → Group policy management console. Navigate to the desired OU, to which you want to link a GPO. Right click on this OU and select "Link an existing GPO" . In the "Select GPO" dialog under Group Policy Objects, select the GPO you want to link and click OK.

What is Group Policy preferences? ›

Group Policy Preferences is a collection of Group Policy client-side extensions that deliver preference settings to domain-joined computers running Microsoft Windows desktop and server operating systems. Preference settings are administrative configuration choices deployed to desktops and servers.

What is LDAP in Active Directory? ›

What is LDAP? LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) is an open and cross platform protocol used for directory services authentication. LDAP provides the communication language that applications use to communicate with other directory services servers.

What is difference between AD and DC? ›

Loosely, the DC is "the box it runs on" and AD is "the software [providing access to and managing user/directory information]". It's the difference between a single cab and a taxi service. A taxi service can consist of one or many cabs, but without any cabs, there is no taxi service.

What's the difference between domain admin and enterprise admin? ›

Enterprise Admins group is a group that appears only in the forest root domain and members of this group have full administrative control on all domains that are in your forest. Domain Admins group is group that is present in each domain. Members of this group have a full administrative control on the domain.

Why do we need group policy? ›

It essentially provides a centralized place for administrators to manage and configure operating systems, applications and users' settings. Group Policies, when used correctly, can enable you to increase the security of user's computers and help defend against both insider threats and external attacks.

What are the types of group policy? ›

More specifically, we learned that a group policy object (GPO) is a collection of policy settings available to define the configuration or behavior of users or computers. There are three types of GPOs: local, nonlocal, and starter.

What is a group policy template? ›

The Group Policy template (GPT) is a file system folder that includes policy data specified by . adm files, security settings, script files, and information about applications that are available for installation. The GPT is located in the system volume folder (SysVol) in the domain \Policies subfolder.

What is correct order of GPO deployment in client side? ›

Long in short, GPO is applied with the order: local group policy, site, domain, organizational units.

What is the order of GPO deployment in client side? ›

The user settings GPOs are processed in the following order: Local GPO -> Default Domain Policy -> Printer settings policy -> Network settings policy. How does the client process the GPO settings? The client machine has client-side extension (CSE) files which process the GPO settings.

What are some good group policies? ›

7 Must-Have Group Policy Settings
  • The Control Panel. ...
  • Restrict Access to the Command Prompt. ...
  • Turn Off Forced Restarts. ...
  • Do Not Allow Removable Media Drives. ...
  • Disable Software Installations and Prevent Users From launching Microsoft Store Apps. ...
  • Turn Off OneDrive. ...
  • Switching Off Windows Defender.
Dec 7, 2020

Should you edit the default domain policy? ›

Do Not Modify the Default Domain Policy. This GPO should only be used for account policy settings, password policy, account lockout policy, and Kerberos policy. Any other settings should be put into a separate GPO. The Default Domain Policy is set at the domain level so all users and computers get this policy.

How many GPO are there? ›

GPO market

There are approximately 600 active GPOs serving healthcare providers across the country.

How do I see what GPO is applied to all computers? ›

To go logged user at workstation PC, at command prompt type the "gpresult", or at the run type "rsop. msc" it will create or display result information if your group policy is being applied or take effect.

How do I review Group Policy? ›

Right-click the GPO version for which to review the settings, click Settings, and then click HTML Report or XML Report to display a summary of the GPO's settings.

What can group policies manage by default? ›

It has the highest precedence of all GPOs linked to the domain, and it applies to all users and computers in the domain. The Default Domain Policy GPO is generally used to manage default account settings, although there are exceptions to this practice.

How do I use Group Policy Management Console? ›

To start GPMC, do the following: On the Start screen, click the Apps arrow. On the Apps screen, type gpmc. msc, and then click OK or press ENTER.

In what order are Group Policy settings applied quizlet? ›

Group Policy Objects (GPO) are applied in which of the following orders? Local group policy, GPO linked to site, GPO linked to domain, GPO linked to Organizational Unit highest to lowest.

How do I find my GPO precedence order? ›

If you have more than one GPO linked to an OU then the processing order of these GPOs is determined by what is known as the link order. The GPO with the lowest link order will be processed last – in other words the GPO with a link order of 1 has the highest precedence, followed by link order 2, etc.

What are the 5 roles of Active Directory? ›

Currently in Windows there are five FSMO roles:
  • Schema master.
  • Domain naming master.
  • RID master.
  • PDC emulator.
  • Infrastructure master.
Dec 1, 2021

Which of the following are exceptions to the order in which GPOs are processed? ›

Which of the following are exceptions to the order in which GPOs are processed? If a computer belongs to a workgroup, it processes only local GPOs. You can modify the default behavior by using the Block Inheritance option.

You can configure settings for your local system or account, but all subsequent Group Policy layers (site, domain, and OU) that have the same setting configured or enabled can overwrite these settings.. This means you can configure Group Policies locally, but the system can overwrite them when you've set Group Policies to trump these settings from site, domain, or OU GPOs applied to your system or user account.. Domain based Group Policy Objects are far more common in organizations, mostly because setting up a new domain creates a "Default Domain Policy" at the root of that domain.. Group Policies applied at the domain level will apply to all objects that contain the specific setting you have configured.. Applying either a local or site policy that includes an object (user or computer) within our domain will apply those settings first.. We can apply configurations to both Users and Computers within the same GPO, but we can also specify one or the other as well.. The Default Domain Policy will apply to all OUs and User or Computer objects that reside below where you applied the GPO (basically, in the domain).

Doing so allows network administrators to push best practices to end-user workstations based on specific organizational needs—without having to apply them on a local basis.. To go into greater detail, administrators can use Group Policy Management to enforce and encode organizational cybersecurity practices beyond the default security settings that come with Windows and other applications.. In a digital environment in which at least one server has installed Active Directory Domain Services, Group Policy Management tools exist to help centralize computer management from a single administrator account.. To set up GPOs using Active Directory, IT professionals have a number of tools at their disposal, the most popular of which is the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) .. It also improves reporting for specific GPO settings and Resultant Set of Policy (RsoP) data while granting programmatic access to preceding GPO operations.. Finally, the last GPOs to be applied will be those set up for an Active Directory organizational unit in which the computer or user operates.. The way you change Group Policy Management will depend on what type of GPO you’re trying to design and enforce.. For example, IT professionals attempting to set policies that are specifically related to the Windows operating system will want to launch the Group Policy Management tool from their administrator account and make specific changes through the Group Policy Editor and/or GPMC.. It’s also worth noting when GPO updates will be pushed out.

The client gives precedence to the Computer Configuration policies over the User Configuration policies by processing the User Configuration policies first.. Understanding group policy loopbackIn most cases, a user who logs on from a workstation should have his group policies applied based primarily on the settings defined by the user object in the AD rather than their computer object.. Group policy loopback, which is supported only in pure Windows 2000 environments (Windows 2000 clients and Windows 2000 DCs), enables group policies to be applied based only on the computer from which the user logs on.. Replace mode: In this mode, Windows 2000 processes only the Computer Configuration group policies, ignoring the User Configuration group policies.. You can configure the slow-link behavior through the Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Group Policy/Group Policy Slow Link Detection policy of the group policy object and for user policies through the same node of the User Configuration branch.. On-demand GPO refreshAs mentioned above, Windows 2000 updates group policies automatically based on the refresh interval you specify for group policies, with the default refresh interval being 90 minutes.

Group Policy (GP) is a Windows management feature that allows you to control multiple users’ and computers’ configurations within an Active Directory environment.. Group Policies within the entire AD forest can be managed via the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)— a built-in Windows Server 2008 (and beyond) admin tool.. To open GPMC, go to the Windows Server Manager > Open “Tools Menu” > “Group Policy Management”. One is linked to the domain, and the other to the domain’s controller.. Within this structure, including Domain Controllers and Domains’s policies, you can see the status of their GPOs, linked GPOs, GP Inheritance, and their Delegation.. Right-click on the OU, and click on the option “Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here…” Give your new GPO a Name, and click “Ok.” When you save it, your brand new GPO will be instantly enabled and linked to the specified OU.. Using this second method, you’ll have to manually link the new GPO to a domain, site, or OU.. The Group Policy Management will automatically open on the editor in a new window.. The Group Policy Management Editor is also an essential Windows admin tool that allows users to change configuration policies on computers and users.. These settings have more priority than the application’s configuration settings, and sometimes they even “grayed out.” Within policies, you’ll find Software Settings (apply software configuration to computers/users), Windows Settings (for Windows security or accounting settings), and Administrative Templates (Control of the OS and user).. Preferences can only be configured within domain GPOs, whereas policies can be set for both domain and local GPOs.. As mentioned previously, when you create a new GPO, you also need to link it somewhere, such as domain, site, or OU.. By default, the GPOs with the most precedence are those linked to the OU.. When configuring group policies, Microsoft’s Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is a must!

What’s more, you can even link a site, domain or OU to a GPO in another trusted domain.. Disabling a GPO link — By default, processing is enabled for all GPO links.. For Group Policy management, Microsoft provides the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) .. (The two GPOs I mentioned earlier, Default Domain Policy and Default Domain Controllers Policy, are popular targets because they are created automatically for every domain and they control important settings.). Unfortunately, native tools don’t make it easy to keep Group Policy safe and under control.

Alright, so the first one, L, is simply local, and it's not so much that a Group Policy object can be linked to a local container, it's that we can have a local Group Policy object.. Well, let's talk about what happens when, for instance, a computer turns on, which is when the computer settings are applied.. If there are any settings applied to the local GPO, then it applies those to the computer that's being turned on.. Then it looks into the organizational unit that the computer account would belong to, or reside in and technically I really should say that L S D OU is L S D OU OU OU.. So what will actually happen there is while the computer account for instance, let's say, resides down in a child organizational unit, and I have it illustrated here as though it's a couple levels deep, what would actually happen is the system would first look at the top-level organizational unit, or the top parent-level organizational unit in that hierarchy, look to see if there's any Group Policy objects linked to that OU, and then apply them, and then it works its way down to the next level through the hierarchy, checking each step along the way to see if there's any Group Policy objects that are linked to that container, until it finally ends up down at the organizational unit level that the object resides in.. Why does it matter that we go to local, then site, then domain, and then the organizational unit?. The user resides down in an organizational unit where there's another GPO that's been linked.. So we have one GPO that turns it on, one GPO that turns it off.. When it comes to GPO's, the rule is the last setting applied wins.. Then the GPO at the organizational unit level turned off the setting, and that would've happened afterward, and so that setting wins, meaning the setting is turned off.. So if we reverse this and we say that the GPO linked to the domain turns off something, and then the GPO linked to the OU turns on something, then in this case, the setting would be on.

This is the Local Policy of a computer, and any settings that are plugged into Local Policy will process first when Windows starts.. Since Local Policy is first to apply, it means that any levels of the Active Directory Group Policy that we are about to cover in a minute will take priority over Local Policy.. In other words, your computer might put your Local Policy settings into place, but milliseconds later during the boot process, those settings could be overwritten by AD policy settings.. Once your environment is large enough and you have defined your Sites inside this tool, you have now enabled Group Policy to be able to issue settings to computers (and users) based on the site that they reside in.. If a computer account is logging in and Group Policy recognizes it to be in the GrandRapids site, it will apply all GPO settings that are flagged for GrandRapids.. Some policies and settings are going to be things that you want to apply to all of the machines or users in the entire domain, and the appropriate place for those settings are domain-level GPOs.. Applying Group Policy at the OU level is our default mentality when working with GPOs, because it is by far the most common tier to which settings are applied.. Even though many other OUs exist and contain objects, the settings inside the Firewall Settings GPO will only be applied to those machines that are sitting inside the Human Resources OU:. When a computer boots, it processes the Group Policy settings in this order:. • Local Policy. • Site-level policies. • Domain-level policies. • OU-level policies. Looking at the processing order list brings to mind a few examples that may be helpful to round out your understanding on this topic:. • Since Local Policy goes first, anything inside any Active Directory Policy has the potential to nullify or change that local policy setting.. • If there is a domain-level policy setting that contradicts a site-level policy setting, the domain-level policy applies last, and therefore wins the day.. Computers inside the Human Resources OU will be receiving the settings from inside the Firewall Settings GPO, because it is linked directly to that OU.. Computers inside the Human Resources OU may also be receiving settings from the Default Domain Policy, which is being applied at the domain level, and in this case, those computers would be "inheriting" those settings from the Default Domain Policy.. A practical guide filled with real-world tasks that use Group Policy settings to control your Active Directory environment, Mastering Windows Group Policy is a must-read for IT professionals who work with Windows Servers or are interested in the Active Directory environment.

Group Policy is a common way to apply configuration settings, install software, run scripts, and more across thousands of Active Directory (AD) domain-joined computers.. GPOs are individual policies that contain many different settings to perform on a domain-joined computer.. Think of a GPO as simply a single policy; it’s a manifest that contains instructions to perform tasks like setting a logon script, changing a user’s desktop, installing software and thousands of other tasks.. Active Directory stores GPOs in the Active Directory database that are replicated between domain controllers (DCs).. Once you create a GPO, you then target that GPO to a set of computers or users within an OU.. If a GPO is the primary component of Group Policy, the Group Policy Template (GPT) is the next important concept.. GPTs consist of registry settings, security files, applications, scripts and installers, shortcuts, XML files, graphic files, and so on, depending on what kind of settings you define in the corresponding GPO.. Inside of the GPMC is where you can create and assign Group Policy Objects (GPOs) to Active Directory organizational units (OUs), Active Directory sites, and more.. Once modified, AD replication takes over and replicates both the GPO and GPT to the rest of the DCs according to the AD replication schedule.. Clients adhere to their defined Group Policy refresh interval .. Once the refresh interval is up, the Group Policy Client service on the client will check with the DC for any new or changed policies.. The Group Policy Client service may not immediately apply new settings.. If you need to perform a change on one, ten or 1,000 domain-joined computers, be sure that you know what is Group Policy.

It essentially provides a centralized place for administrators to manage and configure operating systems, applications and users’ settings.. A Group Policy Object (GPO) is a group of settings that are created using the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Group Policy Editor.. GPOs can be associated with a single or numerous Active Directory containers, including sites, domains, or organizational units (OUs).. The MMC allows users to create GPOs that define registry-based policies, security options, software installation and much more.. Active Directory applies GPOs in the same, logical order; local policies, site policies, domain policies and OU policies.. Group Policy Objects can be used in a number of ways that benefit security, many of which will be mentioned throughout this article.. Administrators can use GPOs to define which network connected printers appear on the list of available printers after a user in a specific Active Directory OU logs onto the domain.. The order at which GPOs are processed affects what settings are applied to the computer and user.. If you want to ensure that your data and your core IT infrastructure is set up in a secure way, then you probably need to understand how to properly use Group Policy.. Group Policies can be used in numerous ways to bolster security, including disabling outdated protocols, preventing users from making certain changes and more.. Password Policy: Many organizations are operating with relaxed password policies, with many users often having passwords set to never expire.. Speaking of GPO updates, they are undertaken randomly every 90 to 120 minutes whenever the computer gets rebooted.. You can be specific with an update rate from 0 minutes up to 45 days.. The Lepide’s Group Policy Auditing solution (part of Lepide Data Security Platform) will help you to get more visibility over the changes being made to your Group Policy Objects.. Every time a critical change is made, Lepide will send the admin a real time alert and provide the option to roll back unwanted changes to their previous state; allowing admins to maintain a policy of least privilege and ensure the security policies of the organization remain intact.

A Little on Standard Group policy Processing Before we look at how loopback processing works it may be beneficial to have a quick refresh on how standard group policy processing works.Group Policy Objects (GPO) are a collection of configurable policy settings that are organised as a single object and contain Computer Configuration policies which are applied to computers during Startup and User Configuration policies which are applied to users during logon.. Why Loopback The User Group Policy loopback processing mode option available within the computer configuration node of a Group Policy Object is a useful tool for ensuring certain user settings are applied on specified computers.. Replace mode will completely discard the user settings that normally apply to any users logging on to a machine applying loopback processing and replace them with the user settings that apply to the computer account instead.. Merge mode will apply the user settings that apply to any users logging on to a machine applying loopback processing as normal and then will apply the user settings that apply to the computer account; in the case of a conflict between the two, the computer account user settings will overwrite the user account user settings.. Computer Node policies from all GPOs in scope for the computer account object are applied during start-up (in the normal Local, Site, Domain, OU order), the computer flags that loopback processing (Merge Mode) is enabled.. As the computer is running in loopback (Merge Mode) it then applies all User Node policies from all GPOs in scope for the computer account object during logon (Local, Site, Domain and OU), if any of these settings conflict with what was applied during step 2.. Computer Node policies from all GPOs in scope for the computer account object are applied during start-up (in the normal Local, Site, Domain, OU order), the computer flags that loopback processing (Replace Mode) is enabled.. User Node policies from all GPOs in scope for the user account object are not applied during logon (as the computer is running loopback processing in Replace mode no list of user GPOs has been collected).. As the computer is running in loopback (Replace Mode) it then applies all User Node policies from all GPOs in scope for the computer account object during logon (Local, Site, Domain and OU).. This will have to be set for all GPOs that contain user settings you wish to deny that are in scope for the computer account.

The Local Users and Groups snap-in enables you to manage local users and groups.. By default,. all local user accounts you create are added to the Users group.. In addition,. when a system joins a domain, the Domain Users group is made a member of that. system’s local Users group.. To create a local user or group account, right-click the appropriate folder. (Users or Groups) and choose New User (or New Group), enter the appropriate. attributes, and then click Create.. When a system belongs to a domain, its. Local groups can also include domain accounts, including user accounts,. Universal groups, and Global groups from the enterprise’s Active. Directory, as well as Domain Local groups from within the system’s. domain.. Rather than creating a new local user account for the new user, rename the old. user account.. You cannot. delete these accounts, nor can you remove the Administrator account from the. Local Administrators group, so renaming the accounts is a recommended practice. for hindering malicious access to a system.. You can delete a local user or group account (but not built-in accounts such. as Administrator, Guest, or Backup Operators) by right-clicking the account and. choosing Delete.. To protect user accounts in the event that the user forgets the password,. every local user can make a Password Reset Disk and keep it in a safe place.. Then, if the user forgets his or her password, the password can be reset using. the Password Reset Disk, enabling the user to access the local user account. again.. To. switch to another user, click Start, click Log Off, click Switch User, and then. click the user account you would like to switch to.

If an update for the time clock software is available, you can create a policy that rolls out the update whenever the machine goes through a policy refresh.. At the local level, policies can be applied to a specific computer or a specific set of local users on that computer without affecting other machines or users on the domain.. If the shortcut was created by a policy, however, it would reappear after the next policy refresh and the user would need to manually delete it once more.. Applying policies at the local level means you'll need to update the policies on a machine each time a change needs to be made.. Because of this, we'll talk briefly about local policies and then focus more on policies applied within AD.. If that same user logs onto another machine, the same policies won't be applied unless that machine also happens to be affected by the same policy.. In addition, you can apply specific policies to local users without affecting that user on other AD machines.. As mentioned earlier, working with policies in AD means you'll be able to apply policies to a site, domain, or OU and be able to specify whether you're targeting computers or users.. When working with policies in AD, you'll want to work with the Group Policy Management Console (GMPC).. From there, you'll be able to create group policies that are applied to the domain instead of a local machine or user.

Group Policy is a much improved extension of. System Policy Editor in Windows NT 4.The. implementation of Group Policy allows you to administer your network. dynamically.Applying changes to. only the groups, users, or computers that you see fit.Here is a very brief listing of just some of the areas Group. Policy covers:. With all of the technology built into. Windows 2000 you shouldn’t have to set all of these options at the workstation. level right?Right.GP can be applied in many different areas.In fact, some settings in GP, like Domain User Account. settings, won’t work unless they’re set in the correct place.There are 5 major areas where you will apply GP:. In the case of multiple settings being. applied with multiple GPO’s, the rule of thumb is “closest one wins”.Simply put, GP is applied in order as listed above to the. workstation, or user.If a setting. is defined in the Domain GPO, and then defined differently at the OU level, the. setting specified at the OU level takes precedence.. You effectively have two choices in GP. implementation, Layered and Monolithic GPO design.The layered approach’s goal is to establish the GP settings in as few. GPOs as possible, while allowing dynamic control of your GP policy, and is best. suited for environments where change to GP may be frequent.The monolithic approach tries to apply the desired GP. settings to a given user or computer with very few GPOs.. The layered approach requires a base GPO. applied to the domain.This applies. desired settings to as many users and computers as possible, without overlapping. policy settings.OU specific GPOs. are created next in order to apply settings tailored to individual departments,. users, or computers, resulting in the final GP structure applied to the end user. or computer at logon.Note that. this approach does result in longer logon times, due to the number of GPOs. applied.. To really utilize the full benefits of Group. Policy, consider setting a permissions structure on the GPO’s to filter out. unwanted policies.This is a much. more granular way of applying GP to your community.The use of Block Policy Inheritance to filter out inheritance is an all. or nothing scenario.For example,. you simply want to block a specific portion of GP, such as the denial of using. registry editing tools to one OU.It. is much simpler to filter out one GPO dedicated to registry settings, than to. deny all GP, then recreate everything but the registry settings to get the. effective inheritance.See the. following example for details.. In this example, we will filter specific. portions of Group Policy in our fictional organization Trake Inc.Trake’s single domain model contains OU’s that house each. specific operating group (Electrical Engineering, Sales, IT Support, and CAD).In order to create a granular implementation of GP, we have implemented. several GPO’s specific to groups of intended settings.. Therefore, we have set the Scripts policy 2 on the IT Support OU only.All other OU’s receive the standard Scripts policy 1.The Sales OU contains Sales staff that travel on a regular basis.The network admin for Trake has setup the salesman’s. laptops to utilize Offline Files so the sales staff can view reports and sales. figures while on the road.We have. set the File Synchronization policy on the Sales OU as well, to define the. Offline File settings for the sales staff.. However, we have a problem with our GP. implementation.The IT Support. staff requires access to the registry editing tools due to the nature of their. job troubleshooting software and hardware at the end user location.To prevent the inheritance of the Registry policy setting, we set the. Deny permission for the IT Support security group on the Registry policy GPO.

The first thing to know, is that there is “legacy” auditing and then there is “advanced” auditing, within Windows server.. For the purposes of tracking changes made to AD, which is what we’re interested in for Group Policy change auditing, you can enable the Directory Service Changes sub-category, and in fact this is the category of events GPAA uses to track the who, what, when and why of AD changes related to Group Policy.. The one thing to note about enabling these advanced audit configuration categories on your domain controllers, is that you have to also tell AD to ignore the legacy auditing categories, if you plan to keep them enabled as well.. Once that policy is enabled, then all legacy events categories will be ignored and only advanced audit categories will be logged to the DC’s security event logs.. The first is that you have to enable auditing for AD changes, as I just described above.. If we take the whole universe of things that can be audited as it relates to Group Policy management, then only deletion of GPOs and the creation and deletion of WMI filters require additional SACLs being put in place to generate audit events.. Once the Directory Service Changes auditing sub-category is enabled on your DCs, and SACLs are configured, then you can start to look at all of the changes that occur in AD related to Group Policy management.. The following table lays out a variety of GP management tasks, the event IDs to look for and sample event text from that event operation within, in this case, a Windows Server 2008-R2 DC.. First off, the Change GPO event relates to changes that you make to a GPO.

This GPO should only be used for account policy settings, password policy, account lockout policy, and Kerberos policy.. The Default Domain Policy is set at the domain level so all users and computers get this policy.. Putting users and computers in separate OUs makes it easier to apply computer policies to all the computers and user policies to only the users.. If you have users or computers that you don’t want to inherit a setting, then you can put them in their own OU and apply a policy directly to that OU.. This policy is applied at the Winadpro computers OU, so sub OUs will inherit this policy.. For example, I have a GPO called browser settings, it only has computer settings configured and no user settings so, I have disabled the User configuration for this GPO.. Browser Settings Security Settings Power Settings Microsoft Office Settings Network Settings Drive Mappings Power Bitlocker Applocker Firewall rules and so on…... Login scripts downloading large files Startup scripts downloading large files Mapping home drives that are far away Deploying huge printer drivers over group policy preferences Overuse of group policy filtering by AD group membership Using excessive WMI filters Lots and lots of GPOs linked to a user or computer over a slow link.

Password Setting: Allowed to Set Passwords Enables the user to set passwords and unlock accounts for non-administrative local users.. Jump Group Editing: Allowed to Edit Jump Groups Enables the user to create or edit Jump Groups.. Reporting Session and Team Report Access: Allowed to View Support Session Reports Enables the user to run reports on support session activity, viewing only sessions in which they were the primary representative, only sessions in which one of their teams was the primary team or one of their teammates was the primary representative, or all sessions.. Session and Team Report Access: Allowed to view support session recordings Enables the user to view video recordings of screen sharing sessions, Show My Screen sessions, and command shell sessions.. Session Management Allowed to generate session keys for support sessions within the representative console Enables the user to generate session keys to allow customers to start sessions with them directly.. Allowed to share sessions with teams which they do not belong to Enables the user to invite a less limited set of user to share sessions, not only their team members.. Rep to Rep Screen Sharing Allowed to show screen to other representatives Enables the user to share their screen with another user without the receiving user having to join a session.. Attended and Unattended Session PermissionsAttended and Unattended Session Policies Session Policy Set the prompting and permission rules that should apply to this user's sessions.. You can set each user's Jump Item Role to set their permissions specific to Jump Items in this Jump Group, or you can use the user's default Jump Item Roles set in this group policy or on the Users & Security > Users page.. Add Vault Account Group Memberships Search for an account group, select the Vault Account Role , and then click Add to grant members of the policy access to the group of Vault accounts.

A group policy is a collection of user and computer configuration settings that you can. link to computers, sites, domains, and OUs in Active Directory.. ■ Computer Configuration settings Used to set group policies that apply to. specific computers, regardless of who logs on to them. ■ User Configuration settings Used to set group policies that apply to specific. users, regardless of which computer they log on to. No matter which type of setting you are configuring (computer or user), there are three. categories of settings available: Software Settings, Windows Settings, and Administra­. tive Templates.. The Software Settings node contains settings you can also use to deploy software to cli­. ent computers using Group Policy.. ■ Security Settings There are a host of security settings for both computer and. user configurations.. When settings are incompatible, the. default is for settings linked to the child container to override settings linked to the par­. ent container.. ■ No Override When you link a GPO to a container, you can configure a No. Override option that prevents settings in the GPO from being overridden by settings. in GPOs linked to child containers.. To prevent a policy from applying to either a user or a group, you can change permis­. sion settings for those users.

• Group Policy concepts • Creating test and staging environments • Group Policy tools. Group Policy Terms. Group Policy Object Scope of Management. Group Policy Terms. Group Policy Object Scope of Management. Group Policy Management Console. • MMC snap-in • Includes Group Policy Object Editor • Reporting and modeling • Supports cross-forest trusts. Parent OU Policy Domain Policy Site Policy Local Security Policy. Child OU Policy Parent OU Policy Domain Policy Site Policy Local Security Policy. Group Policy Modeling and Results. • Group Policy Modeling. Simulates GPOs on user or computer. demonstration. Group Policy Modeling and Results. • Using Group Policy Modeling • Using Group Policy Results. Session Summary. • Manage and control your environment more easily with Group Policy • Use a staging environment to test Group Policy before production deployment • Use the GPMC to manage Group Policy. Find all these support options at www.microsoft.com/technet/support. Microsoft offers a progressive series of support options starting with no-charge online support and developing through subscription, incident, and contract support.. User Group Program. Access information and support for IT and other interest-specific user groups.

Videos

1. Group Policy Order of Processing
(Roger Zimmerman)
2. Introduction to Group Policy
(itfreetraining)
3. Understanding Active Directory and Group Policy
(Kevin Brown)
4. Understanding Group Policy Precedence | ServerAcademy.com
(Server Academy)
5. Group Policy Tutorial For Beginners - Live Training
(Server Academy)
6. Group Policy Types and components
(itfreetraining)

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