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Group policy precedence

Posted on 2008-10-31
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I understand that Group Policy takes the following precedence:

Local Group Policy objectEach computer has exactly one Group Policy object that is stored locally. This processes for both computer and user Group Policy processing.

SiteAny GPOs that have been linked to the site that the computer belongs to are processed next. Processing is in the order that is specified by the administrator, on the Linked Group Policy Objects tab for the site in Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). The GPO with the lowest link order is processed last, and therefore has the highest precedence.

DomainProcessing of multiple domain-linked GPOs is in the order specified by the administrator, on the Linked Group Policy Objects tab for the domain in GPMC. The GPO with the lowest link order is processed last, and therefore has the highest precedence.

Organizational units


My question is:
Do site, domain and OU group policies, overwrite the local group policy on a computer? So that if the computer is taken off the domain, would it retain the settings it received from a domain group policy?

Thanks
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Question by:steven_maher
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Expert Comment

by:knightfox
ID: 22849913
Let's see if I can get this clearer for you:

Group Policy processing is divided in two things: the AD structure and permissions (on the GPlink,  SYSVOL, ...). Both those things need to be in a "good state" for a user  to apply a Group Policy.

From the Ad structure and its parent OUs, a user or computer knows what  policies to apply. It applies given policies in the following order:

Local - site - domain - OU - second level ou, third level ou, ...

The set of policies to apply is the sum of all those stations.  Contradicting settings are solved through the "last writer wins"  principle (if OU and 2nd level domain have a GP with the same setting  configured but with different states like enabled vs. disabled, 2nd  level OU wins as it gets applied later).

In order to apply the policies, target objects (again speaking of user  and computer objects) need appropriate permissions to the GPs (the link,  the SYSVOL...). They basically need "Read" and "Apply Group Policy"  permissions to apply a policy. Only if both conditions are true - the  object is target of policy X by a (child-) membership of the OU the  policy's linked to AND it has sufficient permission to apply the policy,  the object does apply it.

So -- coming to the GPO you linked to the domain - the domain is the "parent" of all OUs, so to speak. It therefore applies to all objects (even to those objects that reside in the "Users" and "Computers" default containers you cannot link GPs to!).

/Fox
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Accepted Solution

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sublifer earned 500 total points
ID: 22849987
Yes, domain policies will over-write the local policies but will not happen right away.  It can be set to refresh at certain times or intervals but defaults to midnight.  Computers that are not on the network or are powered off will update their policies during startup.  

If a computer is taken off of the domain, either removed from the domain in AD or just removed from the network they will no longer refresh the domain policies but if anything was overwritten already by the domain policies to the local policies they will stay until they are over-written again.

Hope that wasn't too confusing.
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Author Comment

by:steven_maher
ID: 22850032
That's great thanks. Does that mean that the last policy basically overwrites whatever's in the the local registry of the computer.

steve
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Author Closing Comment

by:steven_maher
ID: 31512025
Very clear answer. Thank you!
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:sublifer
ID: 22850406
Thanks for the grade.

Yes, the last policy (highest in the hierarchy) does the writing last and over-writes the local policies
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