Group Policy Search is a free online tool from Microsoft that allows you to find Group Policy settings easily.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor in chief of 4sysops. He has more than 35 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

When I discovered the power of the System Policies in Windows NT 4, I wondered why Microsoft didn't offer a search tool that allows to me find all policies easily. I had to wait only 15 years until I stumbled across the Group Policy Search service. This Azure application has been available for a few months. I wonder how the release of this tool could have escaped my notice, considering that I read quite a few IT news items every day.

Group Policy Search

Thus far, the only ways I knew to search for Group Policies were through filters in the Group Policy editor, in the Group Policy Settings Reference, or in Google. None of the three options is really effective. Group Policy Search is certainly a more powerful tool if you try to find a policy to control a certain Windows function. The tool searches in all relevant fields: Policy, Category Path, Supported On, Registry Key, Value, and the Group Policy description. The main difference from searching in the Excel sheet of the Group Policy Reference is that you can combine several search terms, which makes it much easier to find the right policy.

Group Policy Search also highlights the hits. What I like most is that it jumps to the location in the Policy Tree in the navigation pane on the left hand side. This helps to find related policies. This Policy Tree is different from the one you know in the Group Policy Editor. If you know where to find the setting in Windows, you will easily find the corresponding Group Policy by navigating through the Policy Tree. You can also switch to the Registry View if you are a Registry hacker.

The Filter function allows you to limit your search to certain applications, say Internet Explorer settings. The Copy function copies the selected path, for example the Registry path, to the clipboard; this feature did not work in Chrome, but I had no problems in Internet Explorer.

Under Settings, you will find a Search Provider for Internet Explorer (search box in the upper right corner) and a Search Connector for Windows 7.

As useful as this Group Policy Search service is, I still would prefer if Microsoft integrated a comparable powerful search function right into gpedit.

I have added Group Policy Search to the 4sysops list of free online tools for Windows admins.

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4 Comments
  1. Chris128 9 years ago

    I'm with you on including it in gpedit. As nice as the online search thing is, its still a pain to be half way through setting up a GPO, realising you can't remember exactly where one setting is and then have to dig out the URL for the GPO search page and search for it on there, then come back to your GPO once you have found it online. Would be much quicker and simpler if I could just search from within the GPO editor itself.

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  2. Marc Stecker 8 years ago

    Why on God's green earth is Microsoft asking us to connect to their web site which means we are sending our GPO settings across the Internet? OUr settings are for the purpose of locking our networks down. Am I the only person who thinks it's risky to be sending our settings over the Internet for all the hackers to see?

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  3. Chris128 8 years ago

    Who said anything about sending your GPO settings across the internet... all you are doing is typing in a few words and then it shows you any related GPOs. It doesn't query YOUR GPOs, it just shows you any policy settings that can be configured via GPO that have the text you searched for in their name or description.

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  4. Poopface 5 months ago

    It would be nice if you could actually download this

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