If your system does not reside in an Active Directory domain, however, you only need to worry about one Group Policy Object: the Local GPO. None of the other GPOs can be used if the computer is not part of a domain. We therefore focus here on configuration of a Local GPO.
With this Local GPO, you can change what displays on the Start Menu, including shortcuts like the Control Panel. You start by opening up the Group Policy MMC and making changes to the Start Menu settings. To do so, follow these steps:
Choose Start | Run and type MMC. This will open a blank MMC, waiting for snap-ins to be added to give it functionality.
Choose File | Add/Remove Snap-In and then click the Add button in the dialog box.
From the Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box, select Group Policy, click the Add button, and then make sure that the policy settings will be configured for the local computer, which will be the default. Click Finish when you are done, and then click Close from the Add Standalone Snap-In dialog box.
You should now see the Group Policy snap-in in the list of snap-ins from the Add/Remove Snap-In dialog box. Click OK to begin working with the group policy.
To make changes to the Start Menu, expand the Local Computer policy node, then expand the User Configuration node, and then expand Administrative Templates, as shown in Figure 5-14. You should then see a node titled Start Menu and Taskbar.
Figure 5-14. Changing Start Menu behavior with a GPO.
Select the Start Menu and Taskbar node; in the Details pane, you will see a list of the configuration changes possible (and there are many).
By selecting a setting, you will see a description on the left side of the Details pane. Most of the setting titles are fairly self-explanatory, though. For example, the setting called "Prevent changes to Taskbar and Start Menu settings" will do just that.
To make a configuration change, double-click a setting to open its Properties dialog box and then make the selection to enable or disable the setting.
There is little need to disable most Group Policy settings, just as there is little need for the Deny security setting. Use of the Disabled setting usually only complicates Windows settings administration, and it can also hurt system performance. (All those Disabled settings have to be processed, whereas a Not Configured setting does not.)