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Best of Questions and Answers from Webcast: Getting Started with Group Policy in Windows Vista (June 28, 2006)

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Webcast Q&A

Below I’ve pasted an edited and cleaned up copy of most of the Q&A from today’s webcast entitled “Getting Started with Group Policy in Windows Vista

HUGE thank you to Mark Lawrence for handling the Q&A on the back-end, and who’s work this really represents.


Questions and Answers

“Which ADPREP do I run? ADPREP comes with Vista?”

I extended the schema to the Windows Server “Longhorn” version – but using the ADPREP and .LDIF files that are included on the Windows Vista installation disk.

You could even use the version of ADPREP command you have on your current Win2000 or Win2003 domain controllers, but use new LDIF files from Longhorn


“When we run adprep off of the vista dvd will it add/enable all of the Vista group policies to our current windows 2003 servers?”

ADPREP is not required to use most new Group Policy settings available in Windows Vista — all that is required is to use the GPEDIT and GPMC tools in Windows Vista to create GPOs for Windows Vista systems.  A few feature areas (such as new wireless settings in Vista and Longhorn Server) do require a schema update to Win2000 and Win2003 AD environments – and there are papers on www.microsoft.com/technet with details.


“SO to run Vista I don’t really need to run the ADPREP at this time I can wait?”

No.  You don’t need to do it.  ADPREP is not required to deploy Windows Vista systems, and to use Group Policy.  All that is needed is to use the GPEDIT and GPMC tools in Windows Vista, IF you would like to use some of the 800+ new Windows Vista settings to make new GPOs.  Existing GPOs will apply as expected to Windows Vista systems.

I was just showing this (and thought I was clear about it) as a preparatory step to when you introduce Windows Server “Longhorn” Domain Controllers into your domain.


“How and when is the central store for GPO’s setup?”

I demonstrated that later in the webcast.

You may create the Central Store at any time; it is a manual file copy process. The details are described in this paper: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/library/1494d791-72e1-484b-a67a-22f66fbf9d17.mspx


“Can I do this even if I don’t have any Vista or Longhorn machines yet?”

Yes, you can create the Central Store now, but why?  It is only useful to Windows Vista (and later OS) Group Policy settings templates.  Older ADM files are not currently hosted/saved to the Central Store.


“Is there a central website to get documentation/white papers/etc on administering group policy with Vista?”

YES – a “Book Of Group Policy” is in development, and targeted for release later this year; there is a series of papers available today on TechNet (see http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/library/02633470-396c-4e34-971a-0c5b090dc4fd.mspx); there is an excellent pre-Vista MS-PRESS Book titled “Microsoft Windows Group Policy Guide” for general GP Administration guidance.


“Will I have to create a central store for every domain that I might have in a forest or will this one store be replicated throughout the forest?”

The central store will be replicated throughout the domain only (as are policies).  So yes, you’ll add those files and all language-specific versions you need once on a domain controller for each domain in your forest.


“Where can you add adm files to new vista GPO?”

GPEDIT in Windows Vista allows adding any custom or 3rd-party ADM files using the Add/Remove Template Files function, similar to pre-Vista GPEDIT.


“Will I have to create a central store for every domain that I might have in a forest or will this one store be replicated throughout the forest?”

The Central Store is created on SYSVOL on a per-domain basis.


“RC1 of Vista will include more group policy features or is it safe to say that Beta2 has them all? Example: that new ActiveX installer service that can be administered through group policy?”

Beta 2 of Windows Vista contained most (approx 800+) new settings … a very few settings may be added or adjusted Vista RC1, and of course customer feedback is always valued and considered.  We do anticipate much increase in Explain (Help) text in pre-release versions along the way to RC1 and Release.


“Will Windows Longhorn have GPO Auditing and Work Flow Process features?”

I’ll answer this in two responses:

1.       The Windows Vista Group Policy functionality does not provide new GPO Auditing or Administrative Work Flow features, and both are very well understood customer requests.  

2.       In the Longhorn Server release timeframe, new Group Policy functionality will improve Group Policy identification and settings “collections” by scenario.  A comprehensive Group Policy Auditing and Workflow solution, similar to existing 3rd party solutions, has not been defined.


“Unrelated: Is there a product matrix that details the different features of the many flavors of Vista?”

There is a segmented listing available by product at this site: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/editions/default.mspx