Computer Performance, Microsoft Windows 7

Windows 7 Group Policy - Gpedit.msc

Windows 7 Group Policy - Gpedit.msc Windows 7 Gpedit.msc  Group Policy Editor

Microsoft introduced the idea of group policies way back in NT 4.0, moreover, each successive generation has added more settings so that in Windows 7 we have over 2,500 policies.  As with previous operating systems you can inspect and control the settings with a snap-in called gpedit.msc.  Troubleshooting gpedit.msc in Windows 7 Home Premium.

Windows 7 Group Policy Review

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Windows 7 Group Policy Strategy

If you have Active Directory then you will probably control group policy strategy via GPMC on the domain controller.  However, if you are responsible for Windows 7 in a Workgroup or HomeGroup then you will choose the local group policy editor - gpedit.msc.

Types of Group Policy Settings
There are broadly three reasons for changing group policy settings, firstly, adding features present in Vista and XP, but absent in Window 7.  Secondly, using group policy to remove stuff that is inappropriate for that machine, for example, if you have no speakers: 'Remove volume control icon'.  Thirdly, employing the traditional group policy role of restricting users, for example, 'Prevent users from changing the taskbar'.

Launch the Local Group Policy Editor - Gpedit.mscLaunch Windows 7 Gpedit.msc

When you want change a setting this is how you launch the Local Group Policy Editor.

  1. Click on the Start orb, and in the search dialog box type: gpedit.msc
    Note:  Most people forget to type the .msc file extension, consequently nothing happens.
  2. When gpedit.msc appears in the search results, consider creating a shortcut by right-clicking and choosing either 'Pin to Taskbar', or 'Pin to Start Menu'.
  3. Navigating through the Local Computer Policy is as easy as finding files and folders with Windows Explorer.
  4. A good place to start your exploration is in the User Configuration, Administrative Templates.
  5. Alternatively, you could trawl the 'All Settings' folder.

Problem: Cannot Find the Windows 7 Gpedit.msc

A common problem is that even though you type precisely gpedit.msc, Windows 7 cannot find gpedit.msc.  The most likely cause is that you have the Home Premium edition.  It's most disappointing that you only get gpedit.msc in the Ultimate, Professional (old Business) and Enterprise editions, and not in the Windows 7 Home Premium or Basic editions.

Another common problem is that you forget to type the .msc file extension.  Windows 7 cannot find gpedit unless you append the .msc file extension.

Other your problem launching the group policy editor could be a plain typo, you type gdedit.mcs or some other anagram of gpedit.msc.

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Sample Group Policy SettingsWindows 7 -  How to launch GPEDT.msc

Here are ideas for changes that you could make to the Windows 7 desktop, as usual, some add features, while others restrict the user's actions.

Start Menu and Taskbar

  • Add Logoff to the Start Menu
  • Add the Run command to the Start Menu
  • Do not display any custom toolbars in the taskbar
  • Force classic Start Menu
  • Hide the notification area
  • Lock the Taskbar
  • Prevent users from adding or removing toolbars
  • Prevent users from rearranging toolbars
  • Prevent users from resizing the taskbar
  • Remove the battery meter
  • Remove the networking icon
  • Remove the volume control icon
  • Remove Search link from Start Menu
  • Remove the "Undock PC" button from the Start Menu
  • Remove user name from Start Menu
  • Remove user's folders from the Start Menu
  • Remove Games link from Start Menu
  • Remove Help menu from Start Menu
  • Remove links and access to Windows Update
  • Remove Logoff on the Start Menu
  • Remove Music icon from Start Menu
  • Remove Network Connections from Start Menu
  • Remove Network icon from Start Menu
  • Show QuickLaunch on Taskbar
  • Turn off all balloon notifications
  • Turn off taskbar thumbnails
  • Turn off notification area cleanup

Case Study

Activating the Hidden Administrator Account.

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Storing  The Windows 7 Group Policies

Windows 7 Group Policies, created by gpedit.msc are stored in a special hidden folder
%SystemRoot%\System32\GroupPolicy\

Actually there are two sub-folders where you will find the registry.pol files:
..\GroupPolicy\Machine and ...\GroupPolicy\User.  This name of these files remind us that virtually all group policy settings affect settings in the registry.

Incidentally, the environment variable %SystemRoot% usually translates to C:\Windows.

Summary of Windows 7 Gpedit.msc - Local Group Policy Editor

Microsoft has continued the good work of creating a Local Group Policy Editor so that you can change settings without using regedit.  As with previous operating systems you can inspect and control the settings with a snap-in called gpedit.msc, and see that in Windows 7 we have over 2,500 policies. 

If you are troubleshooting gpedit.msc in Windows 7 Home Premium, it does not exist; you need to upgrade to the Ultimate edition.

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