Group Policy Preferences are a great feature to use for distributing mapped drives, shortcuts, registry keys, files, and a number of other Windows components. One of the nice things about Group Policy Preferences is that it has a framework built-in to allow logic to decide when a Preference is applied. You can create or edit your Group Policy Preference under the Group Policy Editor and the preference configuration has a ‘Common’ tab. This allows general control over how the Preference is applied to the computer or user.
One particular configuration is called Item-level targeting. This allows you granularity using a variety of conditions with AND, OR, and NOT logic. For example, you might want to automatically map a drive letter for users that are members of a specific AD security group. You can map the drive with Group Policy Preferences and then scope it down to those group members using Item-level targeting.
Here are the possible items that you can match on, including Security Group, IP Address Range, Computer Name, and many others:
Another example of using Group Policy Preferences could entail creating a shortcut to a file or a registry key and the path to either of those items could change depending on if the operating system is 32-bit or 64-bit (Program Files (x86) or Wow6432Node). In that case, you can choose to use the Environment Variable item in your item-level targeting.
For a 32-bit operating system, the name of the environment variable is Processor_Architecture and the value is x86, as pictured below.
For a 64-bit operating system, the name of the environment variable is Processor_Architecture and the value is AMD64, as pictured below.
Using these item-level targeting features can help make your job a lot easier and your environment cleaner.