Group policy is a tool used for customizing, controlling, and securing Windows operating systems. It was introduced in Windows 2000 as part of the IntelliMirror technologies. Group policy can be applied at the local computer level or to OU’s, domains, or sites in an Active Directory environment. Group policy was supported by Windows XP Professional, but not XP Home Editions. Group Policy in Vista adds many settings which gives administrators more control over users and computers. In this essay I will discuss five of the newer features that was not in the older versions of windows. The first policy that I will discuss is the Control Removable Media policy. Devices like thumb drives, flash memory card readers, and external USB hard disks made it easy for users to transfer data between two computers.
Although convenient, the ease that removable media created brought about the rise in industry espionage. User could easily copy and share company secrets with competitors by copying the information on to a removable device and uploading it to another computer. Software was made available to block access to USB ports on sensitive terminals. The second policy that I will discuss is the Control power management settings. Power management on a single computer can save energy and money. Enforcing a power management strategy can save a company substantial money over a period of time. This policy is located in the administrative tools section of the MMC and contains several folders for apply policies to different aspects of power management.
The power management setting is applied through group policy will override settings made by users in the control panels power applet. The third policy that will be discussed in this essay is the button settings policy. The button settings folder contains several policy options. Those policies are listed as follows: The power button, the sleep button, the start menu power button, the lid switch, power button for battery power, the sleep button for battery power, the start menu button for battery power, and the lid switch for battery power. The actions you will take to assign each of the buttons is as follows: Take no actions, sleep, hibernate and shutdown. The fourth policy that will be discussed in this essay is the notification settings policy. This policy allows you to configure the following policies:
Critical battery notification action
Low battery notification action
Critical battery notification level
Turn off low battery user notification
Low battery notification level
With these policies you can set the levels at which notifications will be triggered. 5. The user account control settings is the last policy discussed in this essay. It was one of the most prominent security improvements in vista user account control. The settings must be changed under the computer configuration node in the left pane of the group policy object editor. Listed are some of the policies that are in the security options folder: The admin approval mode, the application detection policy, and the secure desktop policy.