Upgrading the ADMX Central Store files from Windows 7/2008R2 to Windows 8/2012


###   UPDATE (22 March 2013)   ###

The ADMX and ADML files for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are now available as a separate download. This includes 185 ADMX files, and is the complete set of all ADMX files for these OSes. Please use this download instead of the instructions in this post to create your super-set of updated ADMX/ADML files.






A while back I posted something similar regarding upgrading the PolicyDefinitions folder in SYSVOL from Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 set of ADMX/ADML files to their newer versions in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. That post is here.


Well, it’s now time to move that on as Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are now out.

First off, all ADMX/ADML files have had their dates updated. While I didn’t look to see if all the contents of the files have changed, it’s probably best to assume every file has changed and update all of them.

One of them "(“InputPersonalization.admx”) has been removed since Windows 7. It controlled 1 setting, and this setting has been moved into the larger ControlPanel.admx. Meaning this admx/adml can be deleted once the newer ControlPanel.admx file is copied to the PolicyDefinitions folder.

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 offer a range of new features (he says putting it mildly), and there are new admx/adml files for these. So make sure you include these in your update

ADMX/ADML files new in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012



As with the previous operating systems, there are some admx/adml files which exist on the server SKU which do not also exist on the client SKU, and vice versa:

ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows Server 2012 but do NOT exist on Windows 8



ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows 8 but do NOT exist on Windows Server 2012


And the easy way to get all the possible ADMX/ADML files for a particular OS without having to install all the roles/features is to simply copy them out of the winsxs directory (replace en-US in the commands below if your OS is installed in a language other than English). Here is a sample set of commands which can do this for you. You’d need to run this on both a Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 computers to capture all possible admx/adml files.

cd /d %windir%winsxs
dir *.admx /s /b > %USERPROFILE%Desktopadmx.txt
dir *.adml /s /b | find /i "en-us" > %USERPROFILE%Desktopadml_en-us.txt

mkdir %USERPROFILE%DesktopPolicyDefinitions
mkdir %USERPROFILE%DesktopPolicyDefinitionsen-US
FOR /F %i IN (%USERPROFILE%Desktopadmx.txt) DO copy %i %USERPROFILE%DesktopPolicyDefinitions
FOR /F %i IN (%USERPROFILE%Desktopadml_en-us.txt) DO copy %i %USERPROFILE%DesktopPolicyDefinitionsen-US

I hope that helps you with your admx/adml upgrade.



Comments (36)
  1. @Bandu & TechFiend above: If you need to edit GPOs for Windows 8 and/or Windows Server 2012, there is one clear recommendation: Use a Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 to do the GPO editing on. Using ADM files is for XP/2003 machines with GPMC 1.1 installed. These OSes should not be used for editing GPOs for newer OSes. So Bandu, all you need is one machine with 8/2012 to edit the GPOs on – there is no "partial upgrade". You just need your editing machines to be the newer OS.

  2. Can I copy all the files which are exported from winsxs to my CentralStore and overwrite everything in there? Are all admx and adml files backwards compatble with my Windows Windows Server 2008 R2 GPO's?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes, you are correct they should be available when you install the browser.

    I personally prefer to use the official packages MS releases, but only if I have the time available to wait for Microsoft.  At the moment, I can wait.

  4. @john. The text files are created so you can see what files will be copied from the winsxs directory. It then copies the files from there to the PolicyDefinitions folder on the desktop. It sounds like the copy is failing. You'll have error messages with every file copy attempt which should guide you to your solution.

    The script is just an example for you to customise to make sure it works with your particular environment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good news everyone, our Microsoft Rep just informed me that the Server 2012/Win8 ADMX/L package has been released.  Now, just have to wait for the IE10 files.

    Windows 8/2012 admx files


  6. Nelis99 says:

    Made script enhancements. Original does not support roaming profiles properly.

    if NOT EXIST c:tmp mkdir c:tmp

    pushd %windir%winsxs

    dir *.admx /s /b > c:tmpadmx.txt

    dir *.adml /s /b | find /i "en-us" > c:tmpadml_en-us.txt

    mkdir c:tmpPolicyDefinitions

    mkdir c:tmpPolicyDefinitionsen-US

    FOR /F %%i IN (c:tmpadmx.txt) DO copy %%i c:tmpPolicyDefinitions

    FOR /F %%i IN (c:tmpadml_en-us.txt) DO copy %%i c:tmpPolicyDefinitionsen-US


  7. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, looks like you may not have uploaded the Language files (ADML)

    The ADMX files must be accompanied by at least one set of the ADML files.

  8. @John: So far I've seen problems with editing the 2012/Windows 8 Name Resolution Policies on a 2008 R2 machine. The golden rule of management is always use the latest OS to manage clients where possible. Some of the RSAT tools in Windows 8 aren't backwards compatible with 2008 R2, so a mix is sometimes required.

    @ianc3: You're welcome. Blogs are not support statements and I don't work for the Product Group. Blogs are just helpful "how-to's". In the blog post I wrote for upgrading ADMX files from Vista to Win 7, I just recommended copying them from the PolicyDefinitions folders on client and server OSes where all roles and features have been installed. Copying the files from the directory where all the ADMX files exist is a better way to do it. And I could have also left it at saying "just copy the files from winsxs", but added a short list of simple commands as a way of explaining what is going on. The script should not be used verbatim, they are samples (for example, the script doesn't take into account the versioning which happens in CBS). And until a downloadable set of all ADMX files is released, if it will be released, this is the easiest way. If anyone has any better methods, they are more than welcome to share them here.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It doesn't look like there are new ADMX for Server 2012 yet, but does anyone know if there are new ADMX/L available for Windows 8 and IE10?  I can't seem to find any of the new ADMX/L files…not even sure they have been released yet.

  10. @Roel. Yes, you can overwrite your existing files in your central store. Note that down-level GPMC, gpedit.msc consoles may not understand the settings defined in these files. Therefore you should only edit the GPOs from Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 once you do this. I personally haven't tested if the new ADMX/ADML files cause these apps to throw errors. But I have seen errors when editing GPOs on Vista once the central store got upgraded to Windows 7 ADMX/ADML files.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Quick update to my previous post about waiting for the IE10 ADMX/L files.

    If you need to support older systems that don't recognize ADMX, you can get the IE10 ADM file from here:


    The IE10 ADMX/L files are included in MSI for Win8 and Server 2012 (see 14 Mar post above), but that is not listed or mentioned on the download page for some reason.  My bad for not actually looking at the extracted files.

  12. @Sebastian – the version differences your're seeing are that WinSXS keeps past versions of every update from every hotfix or Windows Update or Service Pack. So you're seeing multiple versions of the same files in there. The script was meant as a hint to help you locate the most recent version. Please use your own logic to locate the most recent version of each of the files in WinSXS.

    PoliciyDefinitions folder only stores a link to the files in WinSXS, but not a link to ALL files in WinSXS, only for the roles and features on that particular instance of Windows. Which is why I recommend using the WinSXS directory, as that contains all possible admx/adml files.

    I hope that helps.

  13. @fedayn1 – See my answers to Scott, Sebastian and Roel above.

  14. Sorry, meant to logon before I posted the previous comment.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What's the error?

    Instructions are contained in the last paragraph of the the blog post, starts with "And the easy way to get all the possible ADMX/ADML…"

  16. @Renan Blanco: See my comment from 19 Nov 2012:

    "Note that down-level GPMC, gpedit.msc consoles may not understand the settings defined in these files. Therefore you should only edit the GPOs from Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 once you do this."

    Are you editing on a Win8/2012 computer?

    It looks like you need that to work with the updated ADMX for VolumeEncryption. The line that the error is complaining about relates to building a new definition of a computer which has Win8, but is not ARM based. This definition could be invalid on a Win7/R2 computer:



         <!– We must make our own definition for Windows 8 without ARM –>  

         <definition name="SUPPORTED_Windows8NoARM" displayName="$(string.SUPPORTED_Windows8NoARM)" />  



  17. @Scott – the point is that the PolicyDefinitions folder on the client OS has some ADMX files which are not in the PolicyDefinitions folder on the server OS, and vice versa. But the winsxs folder has them all. See the lists above titled "ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows Server 2012 but do NOT exist on Windows 8" and "ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows 8 but do NOT exist on Windows Server 2012".

  18. fedayn1 says:

    Hi Craig,

    Thank you for the writeup.

    I have a couple of questions for you.

    You said that got some errors when upgraded Central Store to W7 from Vista.

    Instead of getting the list of adm/admx files from winsxs folder, wouldn't be easier get the content of the PolicyDefinitios folder from a Windows 8 machine, then the content from a Windows 2012 server and copy all the files to the domain central store?

    We have a Windows 2003 forest functional level with only one domain. There are Windows XP and Windows 7 machines and some Windows 8 are coming in, so we need the admx files for that SO. Could I manage all the Policies from a central GPO-management machine?

    I've been managing the GPO for XP/Windows 7 from the same machine with no issues for a long time.

    Thank you.

  19. ianc3 says:

    First, thanks for your time in making this post to give us a hand. We appreciate it.

    Second, this is just absolutely the most retarded frickin' thing I've ever seen in my life. Is there no better way to do this? It's just insane… Asking people to run and modify scripts to make lists of files and determine which are necessary to copy to update their GP templates? Hello… This is enterprise software here, right? There has to be an easier way…

  20. That really helped, thx.

  21. @Tech_Fiend: there are new ADMX files for Server 2012, see the detailed list above of the new ADMX files. There is no separate download, which is why this blog post exists.

    @Francois: I work for Microsoft Support helping customers with Premier Support. And, yes, copying files from winsxs is just as valid as coping from System32. Note that system32 actually has no files in it, it only has links to files in winsxs. See here for a good explanation: blogs.msdn.com/…/disk-space.aspx

  22. John says:

    This great.  Now that I've run the cmds and got the two export txt files on the desktop, what do I do to import them onto the 2012 DCs/servers so that I can manage the group policy settings?

    Also, the Policy Definitions folder that it creates has only one subfolder that contains nothing.  Should it have something in it?

  23. engineer blogs says:

    Good article and helpful info

    <a href=" http://www.engineerblogs.net/"&gt; engineer blogs</a>

  24. Gary Emmerton says:

    Useful post, however I have a question…..I can't seem to find the latest ADMX for Win8 and 2012 available for download from MS….any reason why these are not available through the normal channel ?

    Office 2013 are available, but nothing for 2012 and Windows 8 (or not that I can find anyway)

  25. Wouldn't it be simpler to copy the admx files from the PolicyDefinitions folder?

  26. Sebastian says:

    Dear Craig, thanks for that posting, can you explain why I got some file override warnings in the copy step? It seems that there are more than "one" version in my local winsxs folder and this making my quite nervous. 🙂

    Could you please also give me a hint about the difference of winsxs and the PolicyDefinitions folder? 🙂


  27. Is this method supported by Microsoft Support ?

  28. John says:

    If I update the policydefinitions to 2012/8, can a 2008 R2 with GPMC read these files successfully or I'm required to edit GPOs using Server 2012?

  29. Curtiss says:

    @Tech_Fiend Don't the IE10 files come with every machine that uses IE10? i installed IE10 on my windows 7 machine and got a new inetres.admx in my local policydefinitions folder.

  30. Renan Blanco says:

    I have a question.

    How to migrate the .admx and .adml to my ADMX Central Store? Just copy/ paste?

    I did copy and paste, but when I start o GPMC, it display an error.

    What I do?

    I need join a domain controller Win Server 2012?

  31. Renan Blanco says:


    I to run the step-by-step of the post, but appears an error when i start the GPMC> Administrative templates:

    Following Error:

    " An errir has occurred while collecting data for Administrative Templates.

    Resource '$(string.SUPPORTED_Windows8NoARM)' referenced in attribute displayName could not be found. File \serv.domain.brsysvoldomain.brPOliciesPolicyDefinitionsVolumeEncryption.admx, line 13, columm 39."

    Do you have idea?

  32. Bandu says:

    We have been asked to update ADMX/ADML files for Windows 8 only, is that possible?

  33. C3dy says:

    Thanks for the post!

    So, there is one question which I didn’t find a clear answer yet… Is it safe to replace the central store of Server 2008 R2 with the updated admx/adml files for Server 2012? Can I edit previous created GPOs after updating templates?

    And what if not? Is it possible to change the policy definitions folder back to the older templates, from which I made a save from?

    Thanks and best regards


    1. @C3dy
      Yes, it’s fine to replace the ADMX/ADML files on a 2008 R2 server (C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions). However, the post relates to the central store in the domain (\\domainname\sysvol\domainname\Policies\PolicyDefinitions) which is a better place to store them. They are just files which are not locked. So you simply copy them somewhere same first and then just paste in the new files from an upgraded version,

  34. Anonymous says:

    What administrative templates should I be using to create a central store when all of my clients are Windows 7 SP1 but my domain controllers are Windows Server 2012 R2?
    Should I be using the W7/2008 R2 administrative templates since all of my clients are Windows 7 or should I use the latest administrative templates for W8.1/2012 R2? If I use the W8.1/2012 R2 templates in the central store, will those even work when all of my clients are Windows 7?

    1. @Anonymous: Yes, use the most recent (8.1/2012R2). Any settings which don’t apply to downlevel OSes will both state this for the setting, and will be ignored by the older OSes.

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