This chapter discusses migrating from Windows NT version 4.0 System Policy- based management to the more powerful and versatile Windows Server 2003 Group Policy-based management infrastructure. It then demonstrates a basic Group Policy configuration and deployment so you can begin using Group Policy to centrally manage users and computers on your Active Directory directory service-based network.
System Policy is the policy mechanism used in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95/Windows 98. Note that Windows Millennium Edition (Me) does not support system policy.
System Policy is a set of registry settings that define the configuration settings available to a group of users or an individual. Similarly, Group Policy lets you manage settings for computers running the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or Microsoft Windows 2000 families of operating systems, or the Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system. It can also manage secure configurations for users. Compared to System Policy, Group Policy greatly enhances your ability to provide the standardized functionality, security, and management control that your organization needs. When you use Group Policy in an Active Directory network, you take full advantage of all that Group Policy has to offer.
Group Policy is refreshed regularly and the settings you configure are easily removed or overwritten if you change your Group Policy design.