Of course, Group Policy relies on Active Directory. Part 5 in your Group Policy troubleshooting series covers typical Active Directory problems that prevent Group Policy from working properly.


If you’ve gotten to the point where it looks like Active Directory (AD) is the problem, you’re most likely looking at some kind of replication issue. By far, the most common cause of AD replication problems (short of failed DCs) is DNS. Are you using AD integrated DNS? Are your DCs pointing to each other for DNS? Are the firewalls between each DC open on the correct ports?

Event Log

So the obvious place to look first is the Event Log. If you’re having replication problems, you’ll have errors in the Event Log, most likely a lot of them. Take a look here first for anything actionable.


GPOTool.exe is a handy utility that Microsoft puts into the Microsoft Product Support Reports suite of utilities. It is buried a bit, but after extracting the executable before installing the tools, GPOTool.exe can be found in your computer’s temp.

Running GPOTool.exe from one of your DCs without any switches will run through all of your GPOs and verify that your Group Policy Templates and Containers are synced and consistent across all of the DCs. You can also use the /gpo option if you just want to check one specific GPO.



Sysvol Replication

Are you still using FRS for Sysvol replication? Move to DFSR.

If you’re stuck on FRS, Microsoft has a great tool for troubleshooting FRS replication issues called Ultrasound.

If you’ve moved on to DFSR, you can run diagnostics by running the DFS Management snap-in, go to Replication, Domain System Volume, right-click and choose Create Diagnostic Report. Choose Health Report and you can stick mostly to the defaults. On the Options tab, make sure to change your Reference Member to the PDC Emulator (or the machine you typically connect to for editing Group Policy).

DFS Diag

DFS Diag

As you can see, my one DC isn’t having replication problems (thank goodness!). If it was, you would get some nice errors or warning that you could use to track down the root cause of the problem.

DFS Diag Report

DFS Diag Report

In the last post of this series I will cover a few common problems.


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