Upgrading the ADMX Central Store files from Windows 7/2008R2 to Windows 8/2012

Upgrading the ADMX Central Store files from Windows 7/2008R2 to Windows 8/2012

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###   UPDATE (22 March 2013)   ###

The ADMX and ADML files for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are now available as a separate download. This includes 185 ADMX files, and is the complete set of all ADMX files for these OSes. Please use this download instead of the instructions in this post to create your super-set of updated ADMX/ADML files.






A while back I posted something similar regarding upgrading the PolicyDefinitions folder in SYSVOL from Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 set of ADMX/ADML files to their newer versions in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. That post is here.


Well, it’s now time to move that on as Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are now out.

First off, all ADMX/ADML files have had their dates updated. While I didn’t look to see if all the contents of the files have changed, it’s probably best to assume every file has changed and update all of them.

One of them "(“InputPersonalization.admx”) has been removed since Windows 7. It controlled 1 setting, and this setting has been moved into the larger ControlPanel.admx. Meaning this admx/adml can be deleted once the newer ControlPanel.admx file is copied to the PolicyDefinitions folder.

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 offer a range of new features (he says putting it mildly), and there are new admx/adml files for these. So make sure you include these in your update

ADMX/ADML files new in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012



As with the previous operating systems, there are some admx/adml files which exist on the server SKU which do not also exist on the client SKU, and vice versa:

ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows Server 2012 but do NOT exist on Windows 8



ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows 8 but do NOT exist on Windows Server 2012


And the easy way to get all the possible ADMX/ADML files for a particular OS without having to install all the roles/features is to simply copy them out of the winsxs directory (replace en-US in the commands below if your OS is installed in a language other than English). Here is a sample set of commands which can do this for you. You’d need to run this on both a Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 computers to capture all possible admx/adml files.

cd /d %windir%\winsxs
dir *.admx /s /b > %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\admx.txt
dir *.adml /s /b | find /i "en-us" > %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\adml_en-us.txt

mkdir %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\PolicyDefinitions
mkdir %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\PolicyDefinitions\en-US
FOR /F %i IN (%USERPROFILE%\Desktop\admx.txt) DO copy %i %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\PolicyDefinitions\
FOR /F %i IN (%USERPROFILE%\Desktop\adml_en-us.txt) DO copy %i %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\PolicyDefinitions\en-US\

I hope that helps you with your admx/adml upgrade.



  • That really helped, thx.

  • This great.  Now that I've run the cmds and got the two export txt files on the desktop, what do I do to import them onto the 2012 DCs/servers so that I can manage the group policy settings?

    Also, the Policy Definitions folder that it creates has only one subfolder that contains nothing.  Should it have something in it?

  • @john. The text files are created so you can see what files will be copied from the winsxs directory. It then copies the files from there to the PolicyDefinitions folder on the desktop. It sounds like the copy is failing. You'll have error messages with every file copy attempt which should guide you to your solution.

    The script is just an example for you to customise to make sure it works with your particular environment.

  • Good article and helpful info

    <a href=" www.engineerblogs.net/"> engineer blogs</a>

  • Useful post, however I have a question.....I can't seem to find the latest ADMX for Win8 and 2012 available for download from MS....any reason why these are not available through the normal channel ?

    Office 2013 are available, but nothing for 2012 and Windows 8 (or not that I can find anyway)

  • Made script enhancements. Original does not support roaming profiles properly.

    if NOT EXIST c:\tmp mkdir c:\tmp

    pushd %windir%\winsxs

    dir *.admx /s /b > c:\tmp\admx.txt

    dir *.adml /s /b | find /i "en-us" > c:\tmp\adml_en-us.txt

    mkdir c:\tmp\PolicyDefinitions

    mkdir c:\tmp\PolicyDefinitions\en-US

    FOR /F %%i IN (c:\tmp\admx.txt) DO copy %%i c:\tmp\PolicyDefinitions\

    FOR /F %%i IN (c:\tmp\adml_en-us.txt) DO copy %%i c:\tmp\PolicyDefinitions\en-US\


  • Can I copy all the files which are exported from winsxs to my CentralStore and overwrite everything in there? Are all admx and adml files backwards compatble with my Windows Windows Server 2008 R2 GPO's?

  • @Roel. Yes, you can overwrite your existing files in your central store. Note that down-level GPMC, gpedit.msc consoles may not understand the settings defined in these files. Therefore you should only edit the GPOs from Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 once you do this. I personally haven't tested if the new ADMX/ADML files cause these apps to throw errors. But I have seen errors when editing GPOs on Vista once the central store got upgraded to Windows 7 ADMX/ADML files.

  • Wouldn't it be simpler to copy the admx files from the PolicyDefinitions folder?

  • Sorry, meant to logon before I posted the previous comment.

  • @Scott - the point is that the PolicyDefinitions folder on the client OS has some ADMX files which are not in the PolicyDefinitions folder on the server OS, and vice versa. But the winsxs folder has them all. See the lists above titled "ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows Server 2012 but do NOT exist on Windows 8" and "ADMX/ADML files which exist on Windows 8 but do NOT exist on Windows Server 2012".

  • Dear Craig, thanks for that posting, can you explain why I got some file override warnings in the copy step? It seems that there are more than "one" version in my local winsxs folder and this making my quite nervous. :)

    Could you please also give me a hint about the difference of winsxs and the PolicyDefinitions folder? :)


  • @Sebastian - the version differences your're seeing are that WinSXS keeps past versions of every update from every hotfix or Windows Update or Service Pack. So you're seeing multiple versions of the same files in there. The script was meant as a hint to help you locate the most recent version. Please use your own logic to locate the most recent version of each of the files in WinSXS.

    PoliciyDefinitions folder only stores a link to the files in WinSXS, but not a link to ALL files in WinSXS, only for the roles and features on that particular instance of Windows. Which is why I recommend using the WinSXS directory, as that contains all possible admx/adml files.

    I hope that helps.

  • Hi Craig,

    Thank you for the writeup.

    I have a couple of questions for you.

    You said that got some errors when upgraded Central Store to W7 from Vista.

    Instead of getting the list of adm/admx files from winsxs folder, wouldn't be easier get the content of the PolicyDefinitios folder from a Windows 8 machine, then the content from a Windows 2012 server and copy all the files to the domain central store?

    We have a Windows 2003 forest functional level with only one domain. There are Windows XP and Windows 7 machines and some Windows 8 are coming in, so we need the admx files for that SO. Could I manage all the Policies from a central GPO-management machine?

    I've been managing the GPO for XP/Windows 7 from the same machine with no issues for a long time.

    Thank you.

  • @fedayn1 - See my answers to Scott, Sebastian and Roel above.