Group Policy preferences allow you to configure, deploy, and manage operating system and application settings that you cannot manage using Group Policy settings. Group Policy preferences include the ability to configure mapped drives, scheduled tasks, and Start menu settings.
The table below compares Group Policy preferences to Group Policy settings.
|Group Policy Preferences||Group Policy Settings|
|Characteristics of Group Policy preferences include:
||Characteristics of Group Policy settings include:
You should know the following facts about Group Policy preferences:
- The primary difference between Group Policy preferences and Group Policy settings is that preferences are applied but not enforced (users can change settings applied through preferences). Group Policy preferences do not cause the application or operating system feature to disable the user interface for the settings they configure.
- Group Policy writes preferences to the locations in the registry where the application or operating system stores the setting.
- Group Policy preferences support applications and operating system features that are not Group Policy-aware.
- If you choose to apply Group Policy preferences only once (rather than refresh them regularly), users can customize the preference permanently on their individual machines.
- You can use the Set-GPPrefRegistryValue Windows PowerShell cmdlet to configure Group Policy preferences.
Note: You must use the import-module grouppolicy command to import the Group Policy module before you use Windows PowerShell to manage Group Policy preferences.
- To apply Group Policy preferences, the client must have the client-side extensions (CSEs) installed. Client-side extensions are built in to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but must be manually installed for previous generations of Windows clients.
The following table provides an explanation to each Group Policy preference:
|Drive maps||Manages network drive mappings without writing logon scripts.|
|Environment||Manages user and system environment variables or updates the environment path.|
|Manages files or folders, such as copying configuration files to users’ profile folders, or regularly cleaning up temporary folders.|
|Ini Files||Modifies and updates individual properties within a .ini file.|
|Network shares||Manages network shares on multiple, targeted computers. Additionally, it prevents users from seeing subfolders for which they lack permission to access, and configures user limits.|
|Registry||Manages registry entries, without the need to write scripts.|
|Shortcuts||Manages several types of shortcuts on multiple, targeted users and computers.|
|Devices||Enables or disables devices based on a device class identifier.|
|Folder options||Configures folder options and file extension associations.|
|Internet settings||Configures Internet Explorer options for Windows Internet Explorer.|
|Local users and groups||Manages local users and groups.|
|Network connections||Configures VPN and dial-up connections.|
|Power options||Configures power options and power schemes for computers.|
|Printers||Manages shared printers, TCP/IP printers, and local printers.|
|Regional options||Configures the user locale, including number, currency, time, and date formats.|
|Scheduled tasks||Manages scheduled tasks on targeted users and computers.|
|Services||Configures services to:
|Start menu||Configures Start menu options for users.|