10.5 Summary

One of the big selling points of Active Directory has always been group policy and in Windows Server 2003 Active Directory, Microsoft extended the functionality and management of GPOs greatly. In this chapter we expanded on the information presented in Chapter 7, to cover the details of how group policies are stored in Active Directory, how GPOs are processed by clients, the GPO precedence order, the effect of inheritance, and the role ACLs play.

With Windows Server 2003, Microsoft provided several new tools to help manage and troubleshoot GPOs. Perhaps the most important is the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), which is a one-stop shop for all your GPO needs. With the GPMC you can perform virtually any function you need to do from a single interface, as opposed to using three or four as wa necessary with the Windows 2000 tools. Another benefit of the GPMC is that is installs several COM objects that allow you to script 90% of your GPO management functions. Another long-awaited feature that is available now is the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) that allows for modeling and testing of GPOs. With RSoP you can configure several different settings including the container to process, any security groups to include, whether to use a specific site, whether to use loopback mode, whether to use a specific WMI filter, and more. The end result is a GPOE view of the settings that would be applied.

    Part II: Designing an Active Directory Infrastructure
    Part III: Scripting Active Directory with ADSI, ADO, and WMI