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Group Policy/Group Preferences reporting tool, cloning Group Policies

Posted on 2010-09-04
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I am looking for a Group Policy/Group Preferences reporting tool that could either or both of the following:

1) Check a Group Policy/Group Preferences structure and compare it with the default for that system, in particular Windows 2008 R2. The situation would be that there have been Group Policies created/modified on a server and I would like to see all the settings that are not default.

2) Compare two servers for differences in Group Policy. In this situation I would compare the Group Policy/Preferences settings of two different servers to see what the differences are.

3) I would also like to know the best way to clone Group Policies/Preferences from one system to another e.g. I have a system where all the Group Policies/Preferences are to my liking and want to then apply them to another system.

Again the environment I am most interested in is Windows 2008 R2.
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Question by:lineonecorp
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by:amieldar
amieldar earned 200 total points
ID: 33605944
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by:lineonecorp
ID: 33613212
These are interesting products but from my reading they are 'monitoring' products, they track changes.  They do not answer the questions I asked from what I have read about them as I am not looking to track changes realtime but what has already transpired.. Perhaps if you have worked with them you can tell me whether they deal with the 3 questions that I have copied again below.

1) Check a Group Policy/Group Preferences structure and compare it with the default for that system, in particular Windows 2008 R2. The situation would be that there have been Group Policies created/modified on a server and I would like to see all the settings that are not default.

2) Compare two servers for differences in Group Policy. In this situation I would compare the Group Policy/Preferences settings of two different servers to see what the differences are.

3) I would also like to know the best way to clone Group Policies/Preferences from one system to another e.g. I have a system where all the Group Policies/Preferences are to my liking and want to then apply them to another system.


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pwindell earned 1000 total points
ID: 33617904
Don't know of any such tool.
The Default Domain Controler Policy should never  be touched and be left "original",...so doing a GPO Report with GPMC will give you a printable list of those Defaults to compare against.
The Default Domin Policy should also be untouched and left "original" except for Password Policies that must only be done from that policy.
If your GPOs have become so compex that you need such a tool then you have problaby "gone overboead" with your GPOs.   If you want to compare what is there as opposed to what the Defaults were use the GPMC to print/save Reports of the Default Domain Policy and the Default Domain Controller Policies and use these Reports as a record of the Default Settings.  If somebody has already messed around with them, then there is a way to first create copies of them with the GPMC, give the copies a useful name, and link them in,..then use DCGPOFIX to reset the originals back to "original", then add the Password Policies (if there were any) to the Default Domain Policy.
What I usually do on a system that is in a mess is to copy/save the two Default Policies as described,...but I don't relink them back in,...then print Reports of them.  Then I recreate the two default ones with dcgpofix.exe which overwrites them fresh,..then print a report of those.  Then I manually compare the two reports,...settings I want to keep I redo in new policies.  Some settings to don't naturally go back to original unless you force them with a GPO first before setting the GPO back to "not defined".
 http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/group-policy/how-can-i-restore-the-contents-of-the-default-domain-and-default-domain-controller-dc-group-policy-objects-gpos-.aspx
 All policies need to be done by creating new GPO and do the "work" in those,...a small handfull of separate policies should do fine, just don't get too carried aways with that either,..too many individual GPOs creates a performace issue.
You don't have to audit individual machines,..hence probably why there doesn't seem to be a tool.  You need to document the individual GPOs themselves and that can be done with the GPMC.  Then all you need to know after that is what GPOs are applied to a machine and what parts applied (User or Computer).  So if the policy applied then the machine has those settings,...it is just that simple.
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Author Comment

by:lineonecorp
ID: 33623279
Great info/answer. Super clear and good tricks.  Thanks a lot.
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Author Comment

by:lineonecorp
ID: 33623295
pwindell:

I am going to  post another question that I would like you to take a crack at if you have time. I just have to formulate the words.  
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by:pwindell
ID: 33626848
We don't see the "sender" until after going into the message.  If I don't know the subject and the exact forum it is in I may never see it.
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