I frequently find that a lot of folks have not yet discovered all of the cool new Group Policy management features that Group Policy Preferences brings to Windows. As a result, I thought it would be worthwhile to do a couple of blog items about some of these features. Today, I’ll talk about Power Management.
When Vista shipped, Microsoft provided a way of controlling Vista Power options using Group Policy. Great! We’re all concerned about energy use these days and, as my friend Brandon might say, I’m as big a "tree-hugger" as there is, so I like seeing these built-in features that make it easy to conserve power. But unfortunately, you had to be running Vista to take advantage of this control. That left all those millions of XP PCs out in the cold (or hot, as the case may be), with the only option to buy a 3rd party product or install the very useful, but somewhat heavy, EZ-GPO client service, sponsored by the US Government (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_power_mgt_ez_gpo).
However, with the release of Group Policy Preferences, you can now control power options on both a per-computer and per-user basis, natively within Group Policy, for XP (and Server 2003) systems. These options are under Computer (or User) ConfigurationPreferencesControl Panel SettingsPower Options, within GP Editor. Within this section, you have the option to control both "Power Options" and "Power Schemes". Power Options include global settings like enabling hibernation, and setting the behavior of Windows when the user presses the shutdown or sleep button or closes a laptop lid.
The Power Schemes section is where you can define the active Power Scheme in effect on a machine, and configure the specific options for it, such as how long the display and hard drives will run during inactivity before powering down, depending upon whether they are plugged in or on batteries. You can also use this section to define new custom power schemes that are right for your organization!
And, since this is Group Policy Preferences, you also get the advantage of the item-level filtering feature, which means that you can target specific power schemes to just laptops or just desktops, within a single GPO. And of course, I can’t fail to mention that the upcoming release of SDM Software’s GPExpert(tm) Scripting Toolkit will support GP Preferences, so you can now automate power management policy changes using PowerShell or VBScript!
Very cool stuff for this tree hugger! I hope you take advantage of this new "in-the-box" feature!