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Microsoft Cloud: Blog Post

What's New in Group Policy for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012?

Updated Tool Available to Assist with Group Policy Planning for the latest Windows Operating Systems

Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 include support for over 350 new group policy settings ...This brings the total number of manageable system policies via Active Directory group policy to over 3,600 policy settings!  Below, I've summarized the new categories of group policy settings that I'm most excited about and I've also provided a link to a downloadable reference workbook ...

What's New in Active Directory Group Policies?

These new Group Policy settings provide improved management for new areas of these operating systems, such as:

  • Managing enterprise installation of Windows 8-style application packages (AppX)
  • Desktop personalization for Lock screen and Start screen background
  • Start Screen customization settings, such as Show "Run as Different User" on Start screen and clearing History on tile notifications
  • User Setting Sync configuration (ie., "Sync your Settings" to Skydrive)
  • New Folder Redirection settings that can configure redirection on a user's "primary computer" only
  • User Profile roaming settings that can configure roaming on a user's "primary computer" only
  • Windows Store - turn on / off
  • Internet Explorer customization settings ( over 150 of the new settings are specific to Internet Explorer )
  • Printing settings to handle the new v4 simplified print provider architecture
  • New Windows Explorer UI settings
  • Credential provider settings for Password sign-in, PIN sign-in and Picture Password sign-in
  • Device driver setup and compatibility settings
  • DNSClient settings, such as smart protocol reordering and response preferences
  • TCPIP settings, such as IPv6 Stateless Autoconfiguration
  • UI Customization, such as turn-off switching between recent apps
  • External boot options for Windows-to-Go
  • File History settings
  • File Server VSS Provider Shadow Copies
  • Wireless WAN Cost Policies for 3G/4G networks
  • Hotspot Authentication
  • BitLocker Volume Encryption
  • Internet Explorer customization
  • Kerberos armoring
  • Peer-to-peer caching for BranchCache
  • PowerShell Execution Policy
  • New Terminal Server Settings for RDP 8.0 and RemoteFX
  • TPM settings, such as backup TPM to Active Directory

For complete details on the new Group Policy features in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, read this article and download the reference workbook below.

Do I need to update my Active Directory schema to deploy these new Group Policies?
According to the reference document, only one (1) of these new Group Policy Settings ( "Turn on TPM backup to Active Directory Domain Services" ) requires that the AD Schema be updated to Windows Server 2012.

Where can I download an updated reference for all Group Policy settings?
An updated reference workbook for the new Group Policy Settings in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 is now available for download at:

Hope this helps!


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More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

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