Thursday, April 19, 2007

XPe tip #29: How to prepare and add Group Policy at build time

We all know how Group Policies are helpful in XPe world. It is not a problem to edit the policies at run time with GPEdit (Group Policy Editor) or directly in registry. But who want to repeat the same procedure many times while deploying images during development time?! So, this needs to be somehow automated.
Also, not to mention that the GPEdit with all the dependencies it requires is quite heavy.

But how to set up the policies you want in TD at image design time?
A few way to accomplish that:

- Mess with the Group Policy INF files and get them into your image updated. This is typically more complicated way because it is often not clear how policies described in the INF. Also, you'd need to bring GP updater tool as well.

- Set up most of the policies you need as registry entries and add them in TD via your own component or TD Extra Registry section.
Here you will find a helpful page (Group Policy Settings Reference) where you can download Excel document with most of the Group Policy listed with corresponding registry entries mentioned.

- My favorite. I have provided this answer in newsgroup a while ago.
Set up policy settings on XP Pro machine or on your own working XPe image that includes GPEdit tool and then save the following folder with all its content:
%systemroot%\system32\GroupPolicy.
This folder contents MACHINE and User specific policies set up. Those are just .POL files. It also contains the shutdown/logon/logoff scripts (only if you didn't change the default location for those in GPEdit).

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