Group policy – create a central store

I’m forever tweaking our group policy settings as I read more and more about it and how to manage Windows 7 machines along with Windows XP machines. Adding some admin templates to the group policy settings is what set me on this path again.  I read about creating a central store on the domain controller making it easier to manage the settings and reducing the amount of duplication on the servers. But I also found another post saying that it may cause some problems. So I guess I’ll find out. It’s super easy to create a central store so I can also go back and remove it if I need to.

I found this awesome video that was really helpful. For some reason, reading how to do it kept confusing me.

  1. Go to your domain controller, go to your run menu and type in \\{domain name}\SYSVOL\{domain name}\policies
  2. Go to run again and type in %systemroot%
  3. Find the PolicyDefinitions folder and copy it.
  4. Go back to your policies folder that we opened in the first step and paste the entire PolicyDefinitions into the folder.
  5. Your central store is now created

If you open your group policy management editor and click on the administrative templates folder under either computer or user configuration, you’ll now see that it is retrieving them from the central store. Now if you download new templates to manage various settings or programs, you’ll copy them into that new central store folder to add them to group policy.

If you are needing to use the old ADM template files to manage older settings you’ll need to copy those files into the central store and then go to group policy management editor, right-click on administrative templates, and them add/remove templates to manually import those. I need to be able to manage Office 2003 since our XP machines are still running that. They didn’t automatically load into group policy management after I copied them into the central store.



  1. #1 by mosquito on February 5, 2013 - 4:22 AM

    hi, i created a central store to fix the point and print windows 7 issue, the proble is we have some DC conected through a sloww vpn and now whenn i try to edit a gpo with administrative templates it takes too mucho to load, there is a way to fix this?, there is a way to remove safely the central store?

    • #2 by jen3ral on March 14, 2013 - 2:49 PM

      Sorry, I forgot to respond to this. I hope you ended up figuring it out or finding the solution. If you just delete (or rename) the PolicyDefinitions folder that was copied to the sysvol folder it should revert the changes. I would think so anyway. But I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t be sure.

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