This utility provides read-only access into the registry.pol file (or any other .pol file). Registry.pol is the file that GP uses to store registry-based policy settings made by Administrative Template, Windows Firewall, Application Control Policies (AppLocker), Software Restriction Policy or Disk Quota policy.
For example, when you add an administrative template setting within a GPO, that setting is stored in the registry.pol file within the SYSVOL portion of the GPO. Registry.pol files are either per-machine or per-user, depending upon which side of the GPO you’re editing. For this reason, a given GPO might have two registry.pol files. The format of the registry.pol file is described on MSDN at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/policy/policy/registry_policy_file_format.asp. It is a Unicode-based file format where each registry entry is stored in well-defined and delimited fields. This utility simply reads each registry value that has been defined within the .pol file and displays the registry key, value, value type (e.g. REG_DWORD, REG_SZ) and data that is stored for that value. The utility can be useful if you’re trying to determine whether a given policy setting is “stuck” within a registry.pol for which the accompanying ADM template is no longer available. Note that this utility does not allow you to edit the file. The utility is easy to use. Simple start the polviewer.exe executable and enter a path (it can be a drive letter or UNC path) to the registry.pol file you wish to examine. Note that the tool will detect if you have selected a file to read that is not a valid registry.pol file. Once you’ve entered the path to the file, press the Submit button to retrieve the contents of the file, as shown in the screenshot.