Now that the Windows 10 “Creators Update” is available, Microsoft has made the ADMX files for this new Windows 10 release available for download. As I mentioned in my last blog post, you can no longer guarantee that new ADMX files are backward compatible with the previous versions. So, how do you try out these new 1703 ADMX before rolling it to your Central Store? Easy–copy these new ADMX files to a Windows 10 system’s C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions folder and then enable the “Central Store Override” I talk about in my last blog post. You are then able to see how your GPOs react to these new ADMX files when you run a GPMC settings report against a GPO. If you see “Extra Registry Settings” show up in a GPO that didn’t have them with the previous ADMXs, you know you’ll have to do some work in those GPOs to either remove those settings or ensure that you continue to support them using the older ADMXs until such time as they’re not needed. And of course, you can also use the valuable ADMX version history spreadsheet that Microsoft is now maintaining to help you know which settings are being deprecated from release to release.
The bottom line is that if you live in a tightly controlled environment and don’t want to rush into updating your central store with these new Build 1703 ADMX files (or the next version that comes along), you have some options before you deploy in production. I highly recommend you establish this practice of testing ADMXs first, using the Central Store override feature, before throwing them up into your Central Store.