How to: Create a Central Store for Active Directory Group Policy

This is something that is super easy to accomplish and can have a big impact on your Group Policies management scope.

There is no Central Store by default. The default setting for GPO templates is to pull from the local machine store which is the default set of templates from when the computer was installed. This means that over time your templates might not cover new setting changes in Windows. This reduces your management scope for your Active Directory network.

Old Templates

By creating a Central Store you can update the templates manually (Or Script it!) as your servers run Windows updates. Some Windows updates will periodically change the templates in the PolicyDefinitions folder on your local PC or server. All you need to do to create the central store is to copy the Windows\PolicyDefinitions folder into one of you Domain Controller’s sysvol share at \sysvol\domain\Policies\.

This is the same location that your own Group Policies you have created are kept. Once you have copied in the PolicyDefinitions folder, you can open up your Group Policy management snap in to verify. It should look like this.

New Templates

Every once in a while you can repeat the process to update the templates. The really nice part is that the Domain Controller will replicate the uploaded templates to all of the other Domain Controllers since this folder is part of the replication scope.

That is it! You now have a Central Store for your Group Policy Templates.





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