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Installing ADMX Administrative Templates in Windows Server 2008 Group Policy

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When I went to try to install Office 2007 and Office 2010 ADMX Group Policy administrative templates on my new Windows Server 2008 R2, I couldn't find any straightforward guidance on how to do it.  I muddled my way through it, but I thought I'd share my experience in case it can save others some trouble.

If you're in a hurry, here is the most straightforward answer I could find through my web searches:
For some background, I discovered that ADMX templates are superior to the older ADM templates because they are not stored inside the Group Policy Object, and are therefore helpful in avoiding having your SYSVOL folder get too large.  However, the old ADM templates were certainly a lot easier to install!  Ond of course, ADMX templates are XML-based and therefore carry all the advantages of that technology.

First of all, you need to download the ADMX templates you want to install.  The ones I wanted were for Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010.  Googling "Office 2010 ADMX templates" should guide you to Microsoft's download page. Download and extract the files.  
After extracting the files, open the ADMX folder.  You should see the .admx files you need, and you should also see folders like "de-de," "en-us," "ja-jp," etc.  These folders hold the .adml language files that correspond to the .admx files.  You will need to install both.

Next, locate the "central store" folder for your ADMX policy templates.  On Windows Server 2008, it already existed at
    %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions
I've read that for Windows Server 2003, you may need to explicitly create this folder.

Now, copy the .admx files you extracted to the central store directory.

Finally, you must copy the corresponding .adml language files to the central store folder.  However, these files must be copied into language-specific directories inside the central store folder, i.e.
    %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions\en-us
for American English, \ja-jp for Japanese, etc., just like they are in the ADMX folder we looked at earlier.

You do not need the files for all languages, only the files for the languages you need in your organization.  But you do need the .adml files for at least one language, or the Group Policy editor will give you an error when you try to manage administrative templates there.

I am attaching two screenshots.  One shows the location of the central store folder and how it looks with the language specific subfolders.  The second screenshot shows what my group policy editor looks like after the ADMX templates have been installed correctly for Office 2007 and Office 2010.

I hope this is helpful to someone!
CentralStore.gif
GPO.gif
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Author:KTN-IT
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by:intrax-operations
very helpful, thank you
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by:whc4
As a clarification, "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" is not the Central Store.  "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" is the local store.  The Central Store must be created manually (even on Windows 2008 R1/R2) by creating a folder named "PolicyDefinitions" in the following location:  

" \\FQDN\SYSVOL\FQDN\policies", where FQDN is the fully qualified domain name of your domain.  

For example, if your Active Directory domain name is mydomain.local, then you would navigate to the following location:

\\mydomain.local\SYSVOL\mydomain.local\policies

After navigating to that location you would create a folder named "PolicyDefinitions".  

Next, you would copy the contents of "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" (otherwise known as the Local Store) to "\\FQDN\SYSVOL\FQDN\polices\PolicyDefinitions" (otherwise known as the Central Store).  

[Actually, you don't have to copy the entire contents of "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions"; you really just need to copy the files from "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" to the Central Store plus at least one folder.  The only folder(s) that you need to copy from "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" to the Central Store are the folders that represent the languages that you care about.  For example, if you only care about English (U.S.) then you only need to copy the "en-US" folder from "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" to the Central Store.  Of course, if you don't have a multi-language version of Windows then there will probably only be one language folder in "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" anyway.]  

See the following Microsoft KB article for reference:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929841

Thanks for the post KTN-IT; nice concise overview. If you update your article by replacing the two occurrences of "%systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions" with "\\FQDN\SYSVOL\FQDN\polices\PolicyDefinitions", then everything else (e.g. adding additional admx/adml template files, etc.) works great.  

Of course, if you want to use a Local Store rather than a Central Store, then your instructions are fine as-is.
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by:KTN-IT
@whc4
All I know is, using my instructions, I can install Office 2007/2010 ADMX templates and centrally manage the policies I need to for all users and computers in my AD domain.
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Expert Comment

by:whc4
Yes, there are scenarios were using the local store will appear to work exactly the same (from the GPMC user's perspective) as when using the central store.  Actually, there is no requirement to use the central store; you can use the local store forever if you want.  However, there are scenarios where it is advantageous to use the central store.  Following are a couple of the scenarios where using a central store might be beneficial:  

You have several domain controllers and you don't want to have to worry about manually updating each one of them every time a newer version of a template is introduced or every time you want to add new templates.  When using the central store, you would just copy the updated or additional templates to the central store location and then let Active Directory replicate them to all of your domain controllers for you.  When using local stores, (assuming that you won't always edit your GPOs from the same domain controller) you would need to add/update the templates to each domain controller's local store.
You want to be able to edit GPOs from several different Windows Vista/7 workstations rather than having to edit them directly on the domain controller, and you don't want to have to worry about manually keeping the template repositories of each workstation the same.  Because the workstation will check the central store first before it checks its own local store for template files, using the central store will result in all workstations using the same versions of any administrative templates.
If you only have one domain controller and you manage GPO directly on that domain controller, or if you have multiple domain controllers but you always manage GPOs from one particular domain controller, or if you have one or more domain controllers but you always manage GPO from one particular management workstation, then there won't be any perceived benefit to using the central store (at least not until your point of management crashes, anyway.)

To check to see which store the GPMC tool is using, select the Group Policy Object in the tree and then in the right-hand pane select the "Settings" tab and then expand the "Administrative Templates" section.  Just below the "Administrative Templates" header, you will see either "Policy definitions (ADMX files) retrieved from the local machine", or "Policy definitions (ADMX files) retrieved from the central store".  See the following screenshots for reference.


 Policy definitions (ADMX files) retreived from the local machine
 Policy definitions (ADMX files) retrieved from the central store
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by:KTN-IT
@whc4

Thanks for the clarification.  Now I understand the advantages of using the central store versus the local store.  As a matter of fact, I am here referencing this article to remember how to install Office administrative templates on another server in my organization.  If I can change the template installation location to the central store, maybe I can just reference them there, without having to recreate all my template settings again on another server.
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Expert Comment

by:Thomas N
Once this is done I get error when trying edit GPO:

Encountered an error while parsing
An appropriate resource file could not be found for file
\\domain.net\sysvol\domain.net\policie...\access14.admx
(error=2): The system could not find specified file

Any suggestions?
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