Wednesday, 17 December 2008

SBS 2008 - Group Policy All Settings Filtering - The cat's meow!

One of the neatest new features we inherit from Windows Server 2008 Group Policy is the ability to set up filters for the settings:

Group Policy - All Settings Filtered on "Disconnect"

While the Excel spreadsheets we had of the various policy settings were searchable, they were still very painful to synchronize with the actual ongoing Group Policy editing.

That time, while not completely gone, has definitely taken a huge step forwards.

While filtering will not work for the Windows Settings node, it will work for any setting in the Administrative Templates node.

In this case, we were looking for the Remove "Disconnect" option from Shut Down dialog GP setting to enable in our default SBS 2008 Client Policy Object. We always enable this setting on our SBS networks so that users do not inadvertently disconnect from a workstation while working on it via the Remote Web Workplace. Inevitably, we would receive a support call to have that workstation freed up.

Right click on the All Settings node and click on Filter Options. From there, we can define any type of filter we may need to drill down to the GP setting we are looking for.

Check it out:

Group Policy - Filter Options

The options are almost limitless.

Now, after having a close look at the Filter Options screenshot, go back up to the Settings Filtered screenshot and click on it to bring it up full size.

Have a look at what happens when the + was clicked to the left of Administrative Templates. The little filter symbol appears on the folder and we can only click on folders that contain the GP settings we found via the filter as they are the only ones we can see.

How kewl is that!?! :D

This Group Policy feature was mentioned at Tech Days. This one learned feature alone more than paid for the two days of training and information. It will be such a huge time saver for us ... and for you! And, we also took the time to delve into the feature in Jeremy Moskowitz's book on Group Policy Fundamentals. Between the two, we are now better equiped to manage our SBS 2008, EBS 2008, and Windows Server 2008 Group Policy settings.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.

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