If you utilize Group Policy in your environment and take advantage of its capabilities, it can create a bit of an administrative overhead in exchange for the gained efficiency and consistency. Some of this comes from the limited tools available to interact with Group Policy such as the Group Policy Management Console. GPMC certainly gets the job done but it can require a lot of extra clicks and flipping tabs back and forth. To control some of this overhead, you might look into utilizing some of the Group Policy cmdlets for PowerShell.
These Group Policy PowerShell cmdlets allow interaction with Group Policy in Windows 7 with RSAT installed, Windows Server 2008 R2, or newer operating systems.
You can use these Group Policy cmdlets to perform the following tasks for domain-based Group Policy objects (GPOs):
- Maintain GPOs: GPO creation, removal, backup, reporting, and import.
- Associate GPOs with Active Directory Directory Services (AD DS) containers: Group Policy link creation, update, and removal.
- Set inheritance and permissions on AD DS organizational units (OUs) and domains.
- Configure registry-based policy settings and Group Policy Preferences Registry settings.
Using these cmdlets you can easily backup your Group Policy Objects, copy them, create a new GPO, set permissions, link GPOs, or most of the tasks needed to manage Group Policies. These Group Policy cmdlets allow the management processes to be scripted and, from there, automated.
While Microsoft includes some change control in Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management through the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Windows Enterprise, it requires additional licensing. These GPO cmdlets don’t reach that level of advanced management but it can help reduce some of the tedium in managing Group Policy.
For example, you might script a scheduled process to regularly backup your group policy objects using the Backup-GPO cmdlet. You just have to make sure the script has access to all the GPOs you wish to backup. Other Group Policy cmdlets are explained further in the Microsoft TechNet article on Group Policy Cmdlets.