Some of you that know me (through my www.gpoguy.com and www.sdmsoftware.com sites) know that I spend an inordinate amount of time exploring, developing against and helping customers with Group Policy. So I was anxious to see what changes Microsoft made in Server 2012 with respect to Group Policy. Of course, as a Group Policy MVP, I had a chance to see and even give input on these improvements months ago, but now that this stuff is live, let's explore some cool new features that Microsoft has added to Group Policy. It's important to note that while these are really evolutionary rather than revolutionary, they've added some key new capabilities to make Group Policy really your best friend for enterprise-class configuration management.
So here's a rundown of the new GP features in Server 2012:
In addition the Details tab of this report now also includes timings for each Client Side Extension, which is extremely useful for knowing where GP processing might be spending too much time and can help you get at logon or startup delays in Windows 8 systems.
In addition to this GPMC-based feature, the Group Policy PowerShell module (import-module grouppolicy) that comes with GPMC now provides a new invoke-gpupdate cmdlet that lets you perform command-line GP refreshes (note that I also provide this capability for free in my GP Refresh cmdlet at www.sdmsoftware.com/freeware and it can be run on pre-Win8 systems as well).
All in all, while you won't see any big new, groundbreaking features for Group Policy in this latest release of Windows, there have been some nice "fit and finish" changes that will make managing GP environments a little easier over time. And I can tell you that we're busy getting all of our GP products updated to work with this latest release of Windows, so hopefully we can all get the most from this awesome in-the-box configuration management technology.
Useful information Darren. Thanks
does the new Group Policy for Win8 include the ability to block Xbox streaming music?
Moz- There is no GP support for granular configuration of Windows 8-style apps. About all that GP can provide for you here is to use AppLocker to deny a user the ability to execute a particular Win8-style app. So you could deny execution of the Xbox Music app completely, but not control particular behavior within it using GP.
thanks for getting back on this - is there a URL set we could block as an alternative to stop music streaming in an office envioronment where bandwidth is limited?
Peter Bruzzese discusses ways that Windows Server 2012 improves Group Policy in this InfoWorld blog. Do you find Group Policy easier to use in Windows Server 2012? Let us know what improvements stand out most to you.