Group Policy Preferences Not Applying on Some Clients: Client-Side Extension, XMLLite

Group Policy Preferences quick tip: To ensure that preferences are applied to clients, make sure that clients have the CSEs and XMLLite installed

If you’re like us, you’re seriously excited about Group Policy Preferences. You’re excited because you can’t wait to save yourself scripting time, and to use the rich administration UI and item-level targeting capabilities of Group Policy Preferences to better manage your clients. So you’ve configured several preference items in the GPMC and added them to a GPO. And now you want to apply these preference items to clients. To make sure that your preference items are actually applied to clients, you’ll need to do the following to make sure that everything is in place:

1. Install the Group Policy Client-Side Extensions (CSEs) on any clients on which you plan to deploy preference items, if the CSEs are not already installed by default.  These are required for clients to process Group Policy Preferences.

2. Install XMLLite on the same clients, it is not already installed by default. (No, XMLLite is not a beer, it’s a lightweight XML parser.)

There are two main options for how to install the CSEs and XMLLite:

Option 1: Use a script

Fortunately for us,  Jakob H. Heidelberg wrote a handy script that detects whether the CSEs and XMLLite are already installed and then installs them if needed.  To get the script and instructions, see:

Option 2: Get the CSEs via Windows Update or WSUS, or from the Download Center. Then, get XMLLite from the Download Center.

If you’re going with this option, how do you know whether the CSEs and XMLLite need to be installed, and where do you get them?

CSEs: Requirements and Download Location

For the CSEs, this table summarizes requirements and tells you where to get the CSEs, if you need to get them from the Download Center rather than Windows Update or WSUS:

Operating systems

Do CSEs need to be installed?

Where to get the CSEs

Windows Server 2008

No (CSEs are already included)

N/A, not required

Windows Vista, Windows Vista with Service Pack 1


32-bit edition:

64-bit edition:

Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later


32-bit edition:

64-bit edition:

Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 or later


32-bit edition:

64-bit edition:

XMLLite: Requirements and Download Location

For XMLLite, we have another table. First, a note on requirements.  XMLLite is not needed if:

· Your clients run Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista.

· Your clients Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 clients run Internet Explorer 7 and/or the latest service packs.

For clients that run Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP operating system versions that support the CSEs,  this table summarizes requirements and tells you where to get XMLLite from the Download Center.

Operating systems

Does XMLLite need to be installed?

Where to get XMLLite

Windows XP SP3

No, XMLLite is already included

N/A, not required

Windows XP SP 2

Yes, unless Internet Explorer 7 is installed (in which case XMLLite is included)

Windows Server 2003 SP2

No, XMLLite is included

N/A, not required

Windows Server 2003 SP1

Yes, unless Internet Explorer 7 is installed

We hope that this information helps make your life easier. And if you need more information about Group Policy Preferences, check out the Group Policy Preferences Overview.

-Connie Rock (“and Roll”), Group Policy User Assistance

Comments (5)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Вы еще не используете Group Policy Preference?! Почему?! На днях Олег Ржевский…

  2. GPTeam says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’re using GP Preferences. This blog is not as closely monitored for troubleshooting as the Group Policy Forum, which generally responds to problems within a day.

    I would suggest that you repost this question there, including the XML for this Preference item (so we can help hunt for the potential issue). To get at the XML for this item, you can copy and paste the item onto the desktop (where it will be saved as an XML file) or click the icon on the top of the Preference editing window that has the arrow bracket icon: < > (denoting XML).

    LiliaG, Group Policy PM

  3. Mark says:

    Please oh please can you get XMLLite added to WSUS. This impeading our deployment of GPP.

  4. shawn says:


    I am trying to use user preferences to push out a home page to users. I’ve configured the setting under Control Panel –> Internet Settings –> Added the IE7 setting, and entered the URL I want to add, but the settings are not being applied. GPO applied to the correct OU wiht the proper group set to Apply. I don’t have another GPO setting the home page that would override the setting.

    Domain is Win2k3 w/SP2, all clients are Vista 32bit Business Edition w/SP1 and they do have the CSE’s (KB943729) installed.

    (I know I can use the setting under policies to set a home page, but I want users to be able to change the home page if they want to.)

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


  5. Philip Elder says:

    It seems that CSE is broken in the downloaded OL Vista Enterprise SP2 media.

    I cannot for the life of me get our GPPrefs to work on the 8 newly installed Vista Ent. SP2 systems.

    Trying to use pkgmgr to somehow insert the CSEs into Vista Ent. SP2 does not work.

    So, how do we get CSEs to work with Vista SP2 please?


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