In earlier versions of Windows, all the default Administrative Template files are added to the ADM folder of a Group Policy object (GPO) on a domain controller. The GPOs are stored in the SYSVOL folder. You can see this part in your own domain by navigating to \FQDNSYSVOLFQDNPolicies. In that location, you’ll see a number of GUIDs, each that relates to a configured GPO. Drilling further into any particular GUID, you will find a series of files the contents of which instruct clients to process configured GPO settings.
The SYSVOL folder is automatically replicated to other domain controllers in the same domain. A policy file uses approximately 2 megabytes (MB) of hard disk space. Because each domain controller stores a distinct version of a policy, replication traffic is increased.
To overcome this problem a new feature called Group Policy Central Store was introduced with Windows Vista / Windows 2008. Rather than replicating template files into each GPO’s SYSVOL folder, a single folder is created to store them all. Group Policy Central Store are turned of by default, so to take advantage of the benefits of .admx files, you must create a Central Store in the SYSVOL folder on a domain controller. The Central Store is a file location that is checked by the Group Policy tools. The Group Policy tools use any .admx files that are in the Central Store. The files that are in the Central Store are later replicated to all domain controllers in the domain.
1. Log on as Domain Administrator on the Windows 2008 server you use for Group Policy Management
2. Copy the folder C:WindowsPolicyDefinitions to \FQDNSYSVOLFQDNPolicies
3. Open Group Policy Management Console
4. Edit a Group Policy Object and expand the Administrative Templates node
5. Verify that the Administrative Templates are loaded from Group Policy Central Store (see picture)
- Download the Administrative template files for Windows Server 2008
- How to create a Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates in Window Vista
- Recommendations for managing Group Policy administrative template (.adm) files