User Group Policy – Network Connections

Windows 2003 Group Policy – Network Connections

This section gives you an opportunity to befriend laptop users and help them with their offline folders.  Otherwise, this folder only has specialist legacy policies to control administrator’s rights.

Administrative Templates

    Windows Components

         Network Connections

                Offline Connection

                Network Connections


* Guy’s Top Three Network Connection Group Policies

Network Connections

Here is a Windows 2003 Group Policy section neatly divided into two parts, Offline Folders and Network Connections.

Offline Folders

Offline folders enable laptop users to synchronise local files with copies stored on the server.  So, when they disconnect from the LAN, their laptop contains documents which would normally be stored on the server. 

Group Policy Network Settings for users Windows server 2003

However, offline folders are a liability where everyone is permanently connected to a fast network.  From a broader perspective, this maybe a reason for putting remote users in their own OU, or having a special offline policy for dial-in users.  My assumption is that you have remote users, otherwise, ignore these policies.

* ‘Action on Server Disconnect‘ take the trouble to anticipate what might happen if the laptop user unexpectedly loses contact with the server.  Then help them by specifying what the server should do if their laptop is suddenly disconnect from the network.

* ‘Synchronise all files before logging off’, a useful policy which holds the users hands and prevents data loss.  ‘Prohibit make available offline’, would be useful for folders that users should only access when at work.

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Network Connection

There is a crucial ‘Master Switch’ here.  For many of the other settings to be effective, you must first enable, the * ‘Enable Windows 2000 Network Connection Settings for Administrators’.  Bizarrely, this setting is at the bottom of the list, when it would be better at the top.

Taking a step backwards, in Windows 2000 you could disable network settings for administrators.  Presumably this setting is for companies that are so big that you had various grades of administrator.  Alternatively the company was so small that you made everyone and administrator, then you sneakily began to take away their rights.

My advice is to ignore the settings here.  However if you are thinking of applying them, then be sure that you understand the logic.  Another clue to avoid this section is that firstly, these are legacy settings, and secondly you would be curtailing the power of administrators! 

See also: Windows 8 Network Location

Summary of Windows 2003 Network Group Policy

The network Group Policy settings are ideal for laptop users, for example, Offline Folders, Synchronization, and action on Server Disconnect.

Next: Windows Settings,  System

See more User Group Policies for Windows

Group Policy Overview  • Group Policies   • Control Policies   • Desktop Policies

Logon Script Group Policies   • Administrative Template Policies   •Group Policy Results

Group Policy Management Console   • Folder Redirection Windows Server 2003

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