Become a Group Policy King

All your Group Policy information in one place


Searching for dedicated Group Policy resources will yield few results currently. That forces most people to dig through books on Windows 2000 Server or the Win2K Resource Kit to try to find the knowledge and tools needed to handle their GP implementations. Windows 2000: Group Policies, Profiles, and IntelliMirror simplifies the process by pulling all the information together into one collected resource. [Note: The author of this book is a contributing writer to MCPmag.com.—Editor]

The book is not geared toward the certification side of Group Policy under Windows 2000, although chapter one goes through most of the groundwork that you might see on the 70-217, Directory Services Exam. The real audience is administrators who are attempting to manage their environments through Group Policy settings and software deployment methods. To help admins further, a 10-case scenario section is provided in Appendix B. This section shows how policies apply under different client operating systems (9x, NT, 2000), which will help you to prepare for certain known limitations you may encounter.

Maybe you've gone through the trouble of moving your environment to Windows 2000 specifically because of the promises of easier management through policies and then you find that it's not as easy or friendly-looking as you hoped. The book takes you through the awkwardness of setting it up and then, in chapter three, an entire chapter is dedicated to the troubleshooting techniques necessary for when problems arise. This is an incredible time saver because the maze of potential problems with GP's are pulled into a logical step-by-step routine of investigation for you. In addition, Resource Kit materials and third-party utilities (like FAZAM 2000 from FullArmor Corp.) are also highlighted to help you thread the maze.

The fun really begins with a great two-part section on IntelliMirror. The book shows you how to handle the simple side of redirection of folders, using offline folders and disk quotas, but that isn't the real meat of it. An entire chapter is devoted to software deployment. This covers how to assign and publish software and how to use Group Policy to manipulate all the processes like upgrading software packages, packaging your own software into .msi files, or even working with applications that cannot be packaged, forcing you to use .zap files.

Those are the highlights. There are some portions you may never use in your environment, like Security Configuration and Analysis, or Remote Installation Services, but chapters exist for these to round out the subject, along with a standard review of Profiles with Win2K that experienced admins might skim (or skip).

One topic that has limited understandable materials these days is ADM Templates. These allow you to create almost any desired change by storing Registry settings that can be manipulated through GP. The book contains an entire chapter on the subject of using ADM templates, and also includes an Appendix on ADM template syntax coding, which is monumental.

Whether you're a first time player in the Group Policy world or an advanced Group Policy admin, Windows 2000 Group Policy, Profiles, and IntelliMirror will enhance your knowledge greatly on the subject. The material flows smoothly and is anything but dry for such an in-depth subject. It's worth adding to your resources.

About the Author

J. Peter Bruzzese (Triple-MCSE, MCT, MCITP: Messaging) is a longtime contributor to Redmond, an InfoWorld journalist and the Exchange 2010 instructor for Train Signal. You can reach him at peter@trainsignal.com.

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