Microsoft’s official Group Policy blog
Wow! What a confusing title. So, why did I use this?
Your feedback tells us there is some confusion over our terminology for our new extension, Group Policy preferences. And I aim to clear up this confusion in this post.
In the beginning of Group Policy evolved out of what was called "System Policies." These were what we now call the Administrative Template extension or registry-based policy settings. These settings are considered to be "true" policy settings as opposed to what was then termed "preference" settings. What is the difference between GP policy settings and preferences?
GP policy settings will:
Preference settings will:
There was a desire to create a registry-based setting that was a melding of the GP policy settings with the preference settings which became the GP preferences. Unlike, preference settings, GP preference settings' behavior is configurable to act differently than a preference setting depending on the options you select.
GP preference settings will:
However, you can change the behavior of the GP preference setting by selecting the "Remove this item when it is no longer applied" option for a specific GP preference setting. After selecting this option, the GP preference setting will be removed when the GPO goes out of scope.
If the option to "Remove this item when it is no longer applied" has been selected, the GP preference setting will be removed. The application will use the default configuration value, not a previously set user configuration value.
Now the administrator can select the "Apply once and do not reapply" option. This will change the GP preference setting's behavior to only apply the GP preference setting value once and not apply again, even if the user has changed the application's configuration value.
When dealing with registry-based settings the differences between preference settings and GP preferences are subtle. The biggest difference I want to call out here is that while preference settings are always used in connection with registry-based settings, GP preferences can configure more than just registry-based settings. For more information check out the paper providing an overview of Group Policy preferences, http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=103735.
Judith Herman, Group Policy Programming Writer
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