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Fellow Group Policy MVP Alan Burchill brought this topic up on our GP MVP mailing list and I had to look into it. He pointed out that in the release candidate for Server 2012/Windows 8, the IE Maintenance Policy node can no longer be found within GP Editor, as shown below:

Missing IE Maintenance Policy in Windows 8

Now, if you’ve followed my blog postings and magazine articles in Windows IT Pro magazine over the years, you’ll know that there’s no love lost by me over this interesting development, but this IS the first time Microsoft has actually yanked an existing piece of functionality that has been around from the beginning, out of GP. I did some further testing by importing an existing GPO from my Server 2008-R2 test domain into my Server 2012 test domain. I half expected that the IE Maintenance node would magically appear when it detected those old settings in my imported GPO. However, to my great shock and amazement, it does not. Now that is swift and merciless! IE Maintenance is DEAD! Long live GP Preference Internet Settings!!!

I did notice that the IE Maintenance settings do appear within the GPMC settings report for that GPO, so it’s not like you can’t see those settings. But, once you move to Windows 8 and Server 2012 throughout your network, unless something changes by RTM, you won’t have a way of editing those settings. So, you’ll need to keep at least one Win7/Server 2008-R2 or earlier system around as your GP editing station for those special occasions when you need to keep editing those IE Maintenance policies!

Nevertheless, this is a BIG, BIG, BIG development in the world of GP. Finally, Microsoft has made a clear and bold statement–don’t use IE Maintenance Policy anymore. Of course, i’ve been saying that for about 7 years, but hey, things move at a difference pace in little old Redmond 🙂