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Even though PowerShell Desired State Configuration offers a powerful new mechanism to remotely configure computers, Group Policy will stay for years to come as the main tool to automate remote configuration of Windows machines.
If you are planning to deploy Windows 10 and want to configure Group Policy on a machine that runs a previous Windows version, such as Windows Server 2012 R2, you need the Windows 10 ADMX templates. These templates contain not only the new policies but all preceding policies.
Microsoft offers the ADMX templates as an MSI file, which does nothing more than copy the templates to a specified folder. The default installation folder is C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Group Policy\Windows 10\. From there, you can copy them to %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions or to your Group Policy Central Store.
Installing the Windows 10 ADMX templates
If you tell the installer to copy the templates directly to their final destination, you might run into the error message Namespace ‘Microsoft.Policies.WindowsLocationProvider’ is already defined as the target namespace for another file in the store.
It is better to first delete the old ADMX templates and then copy the new ones to the PolicyDefinitions folder. To verify that you now have the Windows 10 templates in the Group Policy Editor, you can search for a policy that is only supported on Windows 10 machines. For instance, you can go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update and check if the policy Defer Upgrades is available.
A Windows 10 policy in the Group Policy Editor on Windows Server 2012 R2
To find the new Windows 10 policies, you can download Microsoft’s Excel sheet, which also contains descriptions of all policies of previous Windows versions. If you search for “at least Windows 10,” you can skim through all the new policies. Interestingly, the term “Windows 10 Server” appears in the spreadsheet. I like the name much better than “Windows Server 2016.”