Microsoft Suggests IT Pros Stop Using 25 Dead Windows ADMX Policy Settings

Microsoft on Wednesday listed 25 dead or ineffective administrative template (ADMX) policies for Windows 10 or Windows 11, urging IT pros to stop using them.

Aria Carley, a program manager on the Windows updates team at Microsoft, listed policies that IT pros may be using, but that are ineffective. Alternatively, these policies may have been replaced by newer ones that have improvements. Quite a lot of these defunct policies concern the timing of system restarts, or they may control the notifications that end users will see.

For instance, an "Update/PauseFeatureUpdates" Group Policy setting, which is used to pause updates for 60 days, was "replaced back in 1703" (Windows 10 version 1703, released in April 2017). It was replaced by the "Update/PauseFeatureUpdatesStartTime and/or Update/PauseQualityUpdatesStartTime policy," according to a table in Microsoft's announcement.

For uses of ADMX templates with Windows 11, Microsoft created a "Legacy Policies" folder where these dead settings pile up. Windows 10 users possibly don't get this clue, though. Here's how Carley described it:

To reduce that complexity, with Windows 11 we created a sub-folder under "Windows Update" to specify "Legacy Policies." While these sub-folders are only available in the Windows 11 ADMX templates, the same recommendations can be made for Windows 10, version 20H2 and above. Therefore, we recommend that you review your policy settings and leverage only the recommended policy set.

It turns out that organizations using ADMX templates to set policies for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 clients need to use a separate client for management purposes. In essence, the Windows 11 ADMX templates aren't backward compatible with other Windows versions, as Microsoft explained earlier this week.

Carley recommended that IT pros should use Microsoft's default policy setting configurations as a general best-practices approach.

"Not only do defaults provide the best experience, they are also the most effective at keeping devices up to date," Carley explained.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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