In this series of six parts, I will show you how to prevent and solve Group Policy problems. In this first part, I will outline why communication with your users is important.

Group Policy is a great tool that can make your life a lot easier as a systems administrator. But, what do you do when computers or users aren’t getting the correct policies? In this series, we’ll take a look at things you can do to prevent problems, common problems people have with Group Policy, and steps you can take to troubleshoot misbehaving Group Policy.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” -- Benjamin Franklin. Those words definitely ring true for deploying new Group Policy settings. There are a number of things you can do before deploying changes that may cost you some time up front, but will definitely save you time and grief down the road.

Know your customer

How well do you know the business processes of the group that will be getting your Group Policy changes? If you’re planning on implementing Group Policy for the first time or making significant changes, these changes can potentially have ramifications on the business operations of the group that will be receiving the policy.

Take screensaver settings for example. Turning on the screensaver and locking the computer after 15 minutes may be perfectly reasonable in an office setting, but could cause major problems on a warehouse or factory floor where employees need to constantly see something on a screen, but don’t necessarily interact with the keyboard or mouse. On the other hand, 15 minutes could be way too high for a computer in a public location like a reception or customer service desk where someone could potentially walk in off the street and start using a computer that has been idle for a few minutes.

Engage your customer and find out how their department operates. Do they have software they use that no other department uses that could be affected by what you do? Are there things their employees are doing on their computers that they want stopped like setting personal wallpapers? Are the settings that you’re planning to implement going to cause problems for their business operations? Asking a few questions up front can potentially prevent things from breaking because of the unforeseen consequences of changes.

Communicating changes

If you’re making a change that is going to be noticed by your customers, you may need to prepare them for that. I helped someone roll out a company logo wallpaper and screensaver to around a hundred computers over a weekend. The change had been requested by the owner of the company to standardize their computers. Unfortunately, the change wasn’t communicated to the employees. On Monday morning, things were crazy for the lone IT person. Numerous employees logged support requests and several even complained to the company owner about the change. Ultimately, the policy change was left in place; but, a quick email from the owner about the change before it was made would have eliminated a lot of confusion from the employees and support requests to IT.

Even if the change isn’t necessarily going to be noticed by the typical user, you still need to let someone know that a change is taking place. Most Group Policy changes are fairly silent when they occur; the average user probably won’t know that something has been changed even if they are having problems. Having a few insiders in the office that are aware of the change can be very helpful once end users start encountering problems and may give you the opportunity to tweak the policy before the problem spreads to other users.

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In my next post I will give some tips of how to test Group Policy deployments.

1 Comment
  1. bsadi 6 years ago

    Need help

    Force specific screen saver from the DC windows server 2012 r2 it is not showing in the client computer (windows 7) I did gpupdate/force but still same problem.

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