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What does 'Enforce Group Policy' mean?

I need a clear understanding of what 'enforce group policy' means.   it would seem obvious, I know.  However, in a Windows 2000 domain, the enforce policy is not checked.  There is only one default domain policy for the domain.  The problem is that Some computers get the policies and some do not, some computers get some of the polices and some get all of them.  Replmon shows that we have no replication errors.  DNS seems to be fine.

We have done gpupdate /force and answered yes to the reboot question, still the results are inconsistent as to the policies being enforced.

I know of other domains where policy is NOT enforecd (option is not checked) and the policies are working.  If I select 'enforce the policy', what EXACTYLY will happen??
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