Windows Server 2012 : Managing Group Policy using Windows PowerShell - Creating and linking GPOs

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Creating and linking GPOs

To show how you can create and link GPOs using Windows PowerShell, you will create a new GPO named “BO-1-Desktops” based on the Starter GPO named “Computers-Desktop” . You will then link the new GPO to the OU named “BO-1-SEA”, which represents the Branch Office #1 in Seattle in the domain.

You can start by using the Get-StarterGPO cmdlet to confirm that your Starter GPO exists:

PS C:\> Get-GPStarterGPO -Name "Computers-Desktop"

DisplayName : Computers-Desktop
Id : 260220b0-d73e-40f1-b293-9477dd697977
Owner : BUILTIN\Administrators
CreationTime : 8/30/2012 11:00:36 AM
ModificationTime : 8/30/2012 11:05:10 AM
UserVersion : 0
ComputerVersion : 1
StarterGpoVersion :
StarterGpoType : Custom
Author :
Description : This Starter GPO will be used to create GPOs for desktop computers
for all locations

Next, you can use the New-GPO cmdlet to create the new GPO from your Starter GPO as follows:

PS C:\> New-GPO -Name "BO-1-Desktops" -StarterGpoName "Computers-Desktop"

DisplayName : BO-1-Desktops
DomainName :
Owner : CORP\Domain Admins
Id : a2b711b4-ea20-4a42-9cd2-cba11b07b7ea
GpoStatus : AllSettingsEnabled
Description :
CreationTime : 8/30/2012 7:57:35 PM
ModificationTime : 8/30/2012 7:57:36 PM
UserVersion : AD Version: 1, SysVol Version: 1
ComputerVersion : AD Version: 1, SysVol Version: 1
WmiFilter :

Finally, you can link the new GPO to the targeted OU as follows:

PS C:\> New-GPLink -Name "BO-1-Desktops" `
-Target "ou=BO-1-SEA,dc=corp,dc=fabrikam,dc=com"

GpoId : a2b711b4-ea20-4a42-9cd2-cba11b07b7ea
DisplayName : BO-1-Desktops
Enabled : True
Enforced : False
Target : OU=BO-1-SEA,DC=corp,DC=fabrikam,DC=com
Order : 1

Alternatively, by using the Windows PowerShell pipeline feature, you can create and link the GPO using a single command like this:

Get-GPStarterGPO -Name "Computers-Desktop" | New-GPO -Name "BO-1-Desktops" | `
New-GPLink -Target "ou=BO-1-SEA,dc=corp,dc=fabrikam,dc=com"

Remotely refreshing Group Policy

You can use the Invoke-GPUpdate cmdlet to refresh Group Policy settings on remote computers. This cmdlet works by scheduling the running of the Gpupdate.exe command on the remote computers. Before you can do this, however, you need to open the necessary firewall ports on the computers you will be targeting. You can perform this preliminary step by using Windows PowerShell. For example, the following command creates and links a GPO that will open the necessary firewall ports for all computers in the domain:

New-GPO -Name "EnableRemoteRefresh" `
-StarterGPOName "Group Policy Remote Update Firewall Ports" | `
New-GPLink -Target "dc=corp,dc=fabrikam,dc=com"

Once this GPO has been processed, you can then perform a remote refresh of Group Policy for computers in a specific OU.

Get-ADComputer -Filter * `
-SearchBase "ou=Desktops,ou=Computers,ou=HQ-NYC,dc=corp,dc=fabrikam,dc=com" | `
foreach{Invoke-GPUpdate -Computer $_.Name -force -RandomDelayInMinutes 0}

The preceding command uses the Get-ADComputer cmdlet to obtain a list of names of computers in the targeted OU. The output from this command is then piped into a foreach statement that initiates an immediate refresh of Group Policy on each computer.

Backing up and restoring GPOs

You can use the Backup-GPO and Restore-GPO cmdlets to back up GPOs and restore them. For example, the following command backs up the GPO named “HQ-Desktops” to the local folder named C:\GPOBackups:

PS C:\> Get-GPO -Name "BO-1-Desktops" | Backup-GPO -Path "C:\GPOBackups" `
-Comment "Today's backup"

DisplayName : BO-1-Desktops
GpoId : aec4900f-f450-4ea6-8187-13cfb014ab2f
Id : 54937d03-5cb6-49c8-9069-dcdc9aece0d0
BackupDirectory : C:\GPOBackups
CreationTime : 8/30/2012 8:41:59 PM
DomainName :
Comment : Today's backup

You can then use the Get-ChildItem cmdlet to verify the result as follows:

PS C:\> Get-ChildItem "C:\GPOBackups" -Recurse

Directory: C:\GPOBackups

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
d---- 8/30/2012 8:41 PM {54937D03-5CB6-49C8-9069-DCDC9AECE0D0}

Directory: C:\GPOBackups\{54937D03-5CB6-49C8-9069-DCDC9AECE0D0}

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
d---- 8/30/2012 8:41 PM DomainSysvol
-a--- 8/30/2012 8:41 PM 3707 Backup.xml
-a--- 8/30/2012 8:42 PM 16700 gpreport.xml

Directory: C:\GPOBackups\{54937D03-5CB6-49C8-9069-DCDC9AECE0D0}\DomainSysvol

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
d---- 8/30/2012 8:41 PM GPO

Directory: C:\GPOBackups\{54937D03-5CB6-49C8-9069-DCDC9AECE0D0}\DomainSysvol\GPO

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
d---- 8/30/2012 8:41 PM Machine
d---- 8/30/2012 8:41 PM User

Directory: C:\GPOBackups\{54937D03-5CB6-49C8-9069-

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
-a--- 8/30/2012 11:05 AM 558 comment.cmtx
-a--- 8/30/2012 11:05 AM 196 registry.pol
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