In this Ask the Admin, I’ll show you how to work with starter Group Policy Objects (GPOs) to expedite the creation of GPOs in your domain.
Starter GPOs were introduced in Windows Server 2008 to help administrators quickly create new Group Policy Objects. Functioning like a template, starter GPOs can only be used to configure settings held under Administrative Templates. The Software Settings and Windows Settings categories are excluded because they contain references to users, groups, computers, and UNC paths.
The Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is installed on domain controllers or as part of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) on member servers or client devices. For more information on installing RSAT, see Remote Server Administration T9ools (RSAT) for Windows 8: Download and Install on the Petri IT Knowledgebase.
Log on to a Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controller (DC) using a domain administrator account or a device where RSAT is installed.
In this domain I have never created a Starter GPO, so the Starter GPOs folder must be created before continuing.
Unlike a GPO, the only way you can see a report of settings configured in a starter GPO is to right click the starter GPO, and select Save Report… from the menu to save a report as an HTML file that can then be viewed in Internet Explorer.
Now that the system defined starter GPOs and one custom starter GPO have been defined, when creating a new GPO, you have the option to select from a list of starter GPOs in the New GPO dialog under the Source Starter GPO menu. The settings from the starter GPO will be copied to the new GPO. For more information on creating and linking Group Policy Objects (GPOs), see How to Create and Link a Group Policy Object in Active Directory on the Petri IT Knowledgebase.
Once you have a starter GPO configured in your domain, you can save it as a compressed cabinet file so that it can be easily loaded into another domain. As starter GPOs only contain Administrative Settings, no mapping of AD object or UNC path references is required.
To save a starter GPO as a cabinet file, follow the instructions below.
Similarly, to load a starter GPO from a cabinet file: