So, the other day I was trading some email with a friend and mentioned that I was working on a nifty little utility to allow someone to import the contents of a .reg file into Group Policy Preferences registry extensions using the command-line. He commented that it sounded interesting but that the GP Preferences UI already supported something like this. So I thought I’d play around with it and see exactly how this works. He was right of course (mostly because he was the original architect of the predecessor of GP Preferences ).
Within the Registry portion of GP Preferences (Computer or User Configuration/Preferences/Windows Settings/Registry), you can, of course, deploy individual registry settings to your heart’s content. I find this to be a better alternative to writing custom ADM or ADMX files in most cases because its easier to do, and you can leverage the Item-level Targeting feature in GPP. But what I hadn’t tried was the Registry Wizard option that you get if you right click the Registry nodes and choose New, Registry Wizard. This is where it gets fun. From this wizard, you can browse the registry on either the local or a remote computer and choose the reg keys and values within the registry tree, that you’d like to deploy, as shown here:
Once you’ve chosen the keys and values you want, GP Preferences automatically creates the policy settings for those keys and lets you distribute them to all your target machines.
So, my friend was right, of course. I’m still going to build my command-line .reg import tool because, hey, its always better from the command-line, right? But this is a pretty cool capability within GP Preferences that lets you get going right away deploying registry modifications instead of having to write those pesky ADM files.