MDM & GP Tips Blog

Jun 2013

Deliver IE Favorites using Group Policy Preferences

I created a video this morning, because I got a request from fellow team member like you — Thomas P from Massachusetts.

He wanted to know the answer to a common question, which I demonstrate in my ONLINE and LIVE Group Policy classes (

Next one: Denver, CO – Aug 12 – 16th !

He wanted to learn how to deliver IE Favorites using Group Policy. Well, Thomas P (and all the Thomas P’s out there who wanted to know) .. Here’s the video (sends you to YouTube):

Next: To see some other amazing stuff you COULD be doing with IE, here’s a second video:

Final thoughts for the day: It’s not too late to sign up for Denver for August. We DONT have unlimited seats (duh).

And you’ll be able to FINALLY learn the RIGHT WAY to transition from XP to Win7 or 8 without blowing up the network or looking like a dufus (or is it doofus?)

Regardless: You don’t want to look like one.

So, get your act together, get the training you need, and see you in Devner. (For Pete’s sake, or, really, for your own sake.)

(Course outline and pricing and stuff is right there.)

Mar 2013

Exactly why the GPMC Backspace and arrow keys don't work (and how to fix them).


Here’s an email I got in my inbox yesterday *AND* it was asked in my live Chicago class (25 awesome administrators, pumping their brains full of GP goodness.)

When two people ask the same question in the same day .. here’s the question and the answer.

Hey Dr. M. – have a good one for you.
When I try to rename a Policy in GPM, the ‘t’ on my keyboard does not type, the arrow keys do not function, & the Backspace key does not function..
I have no special program running with regards to the keyboard. I run a MS keyboard/mouse hardware.
This ONLY happens when I’m in GPMC… it does not happen when in AD Users & Computers.
Any idea? Have you see this before?
Just asking.
[Name Redacted Because I forgot to ask permission]

First, thank you for referring to me as my proper name, “Dr. M.” ?

Next, yes, I do know the answer. I’ve got a Doctorate in Group Policy-ology now for 10 years.

Your pain is caused by a bug in the MMC code. There’s been a hotfix pill you can swallow.

It’s for Server 2008 R2 SP1 and also Windows 7 SP1.

I posted about it when it happened, but, I’m guessing maybe not everyone got the memo.

Take one of these and call me in the morning:

PS: It works like a champ for me and I instantly put it on every Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows 7 SP1 machine I build.

I hope it helps you out !

Your GP Doc..

-Jeremy Moskowitz, Enterprise Mobility MVP
Founder PolicyPak Software

Mar 2013

How to use Microsoft's latest Win 8 / Server 2012 ADMX Files

Microsoft has released its “Latest, Greatest” ADMX files which work on all GPMCs (from Windows 7 and later).

They’re downloadable here:

I’ve put together a video to help you check it out and understand it. It’s here: 

PS: PolicyPak also uses the Group Policy Central Store. So, if you’d like to see a video for how we do that, here ’tis:

Feb 2013

9 Group Policy Troubleshooting Strategies You Can Use Right now.

Troubleshooting Group Policy often makes you feel like you’re forced to “go at it alone.” You can feel a little helpless when customers are being nasty toward you, and you’re confused about where to start.

So it’s no surprise that when people come to my live Group Policy Master classes, one BIG THING they want is strategies on how to best troubleshoot Group Policy.

(Next live class: Chicago, Monday March 25 – March 29th) –

Answer: There is no silver bullet toward Group Policy troubleshooting. There is a “holistic approach” to Group Policy troubleshooting, but that takes more hands-on time (which you’d get with me if you come to class. ? ) But for now, here are some base-hit  things which you can do if you’re stuck and in a rut.

Check for disabled GPOs: If the GPO is disabled or half the GPO is disabled, you need to hunt it down. Maybe someone decided to disable a GPO link and didn’t tell you?

Understand Inheritance: Between local, site, domain, and multiple nested OUs, it can be a challenge to locate the GPO you need to fix.

WMI Filters getting in the way?: Introducing WMI filters can make troubleshooting even harder. Don’t know what WMI filters are? Maybe you have ’em and don’t even know it.

Permissions problems: Ensuring that users and computers are in the correct site, domain, and OU is one battle; however, ensuring that they have the correct permissions to access GPOs is quite another.

Different processing between different OS (XP / 7/ 8 / WS 08 / WS12): Need I say more?  You HAVE to learn the differences here, or you will be bit on the ass when you needed to have this knowledge at your fingertips (but didn’t have it.)

Replication problems: The health of the GPO itself on Domain Controllers is important when hunting down policy settings that aren’t applying.

Infrastructure problems: Group Policy processing requires that all pieces of your infrastructure are healthy, including such seemingly unrelated pieces as DNS, the services running on the client, and the ability to pass network protocols between clients and domain controllers. Good Active Directory design equals good (consistent) Group Policy processing. The first place to look when Active Directory (or replication) behaves strangely is DNS. As my good friend Mark Minasi likes to say, “The second place to look for replication problems is DNS, too.” That’s because problems with Active Directory almost always result from the DNS misconfiguration.

Loopback policy processing: Sometimes, by mistake, an administrator has enabled loopback policy processing for a computer (or multiple computers). When this happens, the user sees unexpected behavior because the GPOs that would normally apply to him are suddenly out of the ordinary. Getting a full grasp on how loopback policy processing works is very, very tricky. Not only do we have two different modes (Replace or Merge), on top of that you can have complex permission settings on the GPOs themselves, making it hard to calculate which settings a given user will take on.

Slow links: You’ve got a VPN for your Windows users or you’ve rolled out DirectAccess for a seamless VPN experience. Now how and when are your clients going to process GPOs? Well, it depends. If you’re seeing inconsistent behavior, this could be why.

Hopefully, this gives you a little shortcut if you’re stuck. So, again, the best way to get smarter in this stuff is to NOT go at it alone.

Take the class, for the love of Pete and get the secret weapons you need to solve the serious Group Policy problems you already have. With hands on labs, you’ll be pre-prepared before your next problem actually bubbles up.

Again: Next live class: Chicago, Monday March 25 – March 29th.

This will be my last one for some time – I guarantee it. If you miss this one, you literally won’t be able to take a class from me for a long, long time.

Sign up online or call 302-351-4903 and talk with Jackie and you can use a PO. Discounts for 4+ students in the same class.


See you there.


Jeremy Moskowitz (Group Policy Community)    (PolicyPak Software)

Jan 2013

Killing Java using Group Policy and other notes

Hello Team.. This last week was a biiiiig week. In no particular order

1. All the book orders have shipped, so if you don’t have yours yet, it should be very, very soon. (If you’re new and don’t know what I’m talking about, my latest 800 page book on Group Policy is available at, as a signed copy.) (More about the book at the end of today’s email.)

2. Speaking of NEW PEOPLE, we had a huge influx of people join us after reading the article "Hone your IT skills with these five web apps". is #3 in this article:

I’m not sure qualifies as an "app", but — hey, I’ll take it !
Thank you and welcome to all of our newest Team members !

3. So, the big news story of last week was.. Java.

Unless you were under a rock, you learned that the Department of Homeland security suggested that everyone (literally, not joking) DISABLE Java (at least for now.)

The rationale, is that even with the "fix" (Java 7 u11) , the fix isn’t really a "fix" at all. But rather, it simply updates the warning levels and messages to end users. (And users are so grrrrrrreat at knowing what to do when they see warning messages.) Um, no they’re not.

Okay. So, how, exactly would you stop Java capital N, NOW on all of your machines? (At least until the dust settles?)

I can tell you that there is no "in the box" way to perform this function, and ensure it’s going to work in all browsers, consistently. However, I’ve created a video (two videos really) at my "other" blog at to show you Exactly how to turn off Java NOW in your enterprise:

I did find some other "ideas" floating around on the internet. I tried those ideas and make it work, for about  two hours of banging my head against the wall, but had to give up. Sometimes you gotta just get the right tool for the right job.

Hope this helps you out and makes your company more secure..

PS: This article has some good, reasoned information about the problem and where it’s going.

4. I have some notes for folks still thinking about getting a copy of the book:

Note 1:

  I decided to "buy my own book".  That is, I wanted to see for myself how good or bad the Amazon version of my latest book was. I have to say, I found it to be a very pleasurable experience reading the book on the iPad Kindle app. (That’s all I tested it on, so your mileage may vary.)

First, on the iPad Kindle app, all the figures are in COLOR. Which is really great. I like that.

Second, what I had heard from readers about the PREVIOUS edition of the Kindle book was that figures were hard to see sometimes and tables were difficult to manage. Something must have improved in the process, because in my experience in the new book, figures will "Zoom" in and become full screen if you want. And tables have a special function to look at different cells with <- and ->  buttons. In short, I thought it was awesome and personally approve of how it works on an the iPad Kindle app.

Caveat 1: Again, I don’t own a Kindle DEVICE. I tried this out on the Kindle iPad app, so that’s all I tested.

Caveat 2: If you buy the Kindle edition of the book and hate the experience, please don’t blame me — take it up with Amazon. I only wrote the text and have zero to do with the Amazon or printed edition’s final results.

Note 2:

There are a handful of very small errata (errors) in the book. The most notable is Figure 1.1.. Yes, the first official figure in the book is misprinted. (Don’t shoot the messenger.. I went back to my writing notes, and something happened between my directive to change it, and the printing process.) In Figure 1.1, I show Vista as your management station and not Windows 8, as might be expected in a Win 8 book.
There are a handful of other little issues, and I’ll be posting the errata to the website at some not-so-far-in-the-future point. But for now, that’s the big "headsmacker".
Note that the same figure can be seen in the "Look inside" in Amazon and also when you buy the Kindle version.

5. Last call to get your own copies before I stop talking about it for a while (no guarantees).

Here’s exactly how to do it:

1.    Signed from me, "printed on dead trees" edition:

2.    Cheaper, not-signed, "printed on dead trees" edition from Amazon:

3.    Even cheaper Kindle edition:

REMEMBER: Get the version with the LEAF on the cover. All others are now.. older.
Bonus eChapters available for free at

Oct 2012

Deploying Office 2013 Using Group Policy


I found this document on Microsoft’s website I thought you might like. It’s only a mere 353 pages and describes how to deploy Office using various techniques. The one that gets the LEAST amount of talk? Group Policy.

Which is too bad. I mean, sure. If you have a killer software deployment tool already; then, yes, you should use it. I’m not saying "Don’t use it." I am, however, saying, that there are plenty of reasons you might want to use Group Policy to perform your next Office deployment.

First.. it’s free.
Second, it works.
Third, while there are multiple steps (12 steps to be exact) they are very straightforward. (If you know the steps, and do it in the right order.)

It’s straightforward in the same way where putting together a computer from scratch is straightforward. Its not hard; you just need to know how to do it and get a few tips along the way.

So of the 353 pages in the guide I just pointed you toward exactly FOUR pages focus on deploying Office using Group Policy. FOUR. F-O-U-R. Four. Four pages on deployment.

The bad news: I’m sorry. The doc just doesn’t spell it all out to ensure you’re not going to fail.
The good news: There are lots of tips on specific policy settings to use for, say, Outlook, Excel, and the like. Those are neat and helpful.
The best news: If you want to deploy Office 2010 or 2013 using Group Policy. I cover this topic in easy-to-follow detail in my "Jeremy’s 12 Step Office Deployment Program" in my LIVE and ONLINE Group Policy Training.

(Note: "Jeremy’s 12 Step Program" not to be confused with other helpful 12-step programs.)

Yep, in about an hour, I show you exactly how to deploy either Office 2010 or Office 2013, giving you the exact step-by-steps and tools and scripts you need to make this happen. Then, here’s what happens next: You try it out for yourself and see if you can do it in the lab, with me there ready to help you if you trip up.

Look, I know deploying Office 2010 or 2013 using Group Policy isn’t for everyone. Use the guide I pointed you toward for tips on Office 2013 deployment regardless on how you deploy. I think it’s a good guide with helpful stuff.

But if you want to learn how to really deploy Office 2010 or 2013 using Group Policy, I’ll see you in class.

For my USA peeps…

I’ll be teaching my 5-day FULL Group Policy Master Class (Dec 3- 7) in Tampa, FL
Click here: to check it out and/or secure your seat. We DO still have some seats left (down to seven), and we DO give discounts if you bring 3+ people or become a PolicyPak customer before your class. Call 215-391-0096 for POs or to check on discounts.

For my UK, Scandinavian, and European friends…

I’ll be teaching my 3-day ACCELERATED Group Policy Master Class. (Nov 13 – 15)
in Sweden. (Click here:
The super-general outline on the page is in Swedish.

To be clear: The Office 2010 / 2013 talk & lab is NOT included in this accelerated class. But I’ll make the lesson from my Online University available to anyone in the class who wants it as a free bonus for attending !

So, I don’t speak Swedish, so I’ll be teaching in English. This is an AMAZING opportunity to get the training you’ve always wanted, faster, from me, without a huge expense. If you only speak English like me, then CALL them at +46 08 10 20 00 and they will save you a seat. Also: if you want my full ACCELERATED class outline for this class, email me directly. Its not specifically on the site.

Jeremy Moskowitz (Group Policy Community)    (PolicyPak Software)

Sep 2012

7 Things I think you'’ll like this week

Team: This is a variety pack of interesting stuff. Here goes..

Item 1: My Group Policy Master Class in Florida is ON. That is, we have enough people signed up to run the class, and I’ll be there with bells on. (See the end of this email for signup details.)

Item 2: Are you following me on Twitter? Why the heck not? I have two accounts (one for each of my two lives): jeremymoskowitz and policypak. Don’t miss out on the direct line to my brain.

Item 3: Article on how the most common fingerprint reader software can be “worked around” by the bad guys.

I like what the security team found, but it misses the fact that if the machine was using Bitlocker (see my previous musings on Bitlocker) then this attack would not be possible. To perform this attack, the user would need to boot OUTSIDE of Windows (say, using Windows PE or Linux Boot disc) then get the information that way.

Item 4: New eBook by my pal Darwin Sanoy.

I’d say something like 40 – 70% of organizations are jumping from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7. In my estimation there’s very little reason not to.

But, there are some pitfalls associated with 64-bit Windows and the applications which run on them.

So, Darwin came out with this eBook called: Under the Microscope: Deploying and Supporting Applications on 64-bit Windows


When I reviewed the book, I told him to price it at $29.99, then another $20 for the lab manuals. But he must have messed up and priced the whole kit and caboodle instead, at $9.99.

Darwin: If you’re reading this man, personally, I don’t get it. $9.99 is waaaayy too little to charge for all the awesome stuff in this book.

The eBook is 95 pages, and jam packed of stuff, I, personally didn’t even know existed. So, I love that. Thanks Darwin.

That link again is . Get a copy.

Item 5: Windows Server 2012 is out.

You can download the evaluation ISO or VHD here:

Item 6: A neat free ebook on Windows Server 2012 is out.

Introducing Windows Server 2012 (RTM Edition).

Item 7: I like this article from Greg Shields:

“We’re not allowed to access GPPs [Group Policy Preferences] because they’re handled by the Active Directory team.” it what Greg Shields hears all the time.

If this is your problem: Read this article, print it out, hand it to the boss, then ask him nicely if you can get the Group Policy training you need.

Where you ask? (See next note!)

Final thoughts..

Okay Team… my next class is in Tampa, Florida. December 3 – 7.

Sign up here:

Again, the class in on, dittily on, neighborino. So, get on a plane or hop in a car, and get your butt trained in Group Policy awesomeness already.

Yes, you’ll learn all you need to know for XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Yes the class is fully guaranteed. Yes, it’s me teaching the course. Yes, the costs are right on the webpage. Yes, we can give you a discount if 3+ people from your company show up. No, you cannot have any drinks from my mini-bar in my hotel room.

Instead of thinking of all the reasons you CANNOT come to the class… turn it around.

Think of all the amazing skills and knowledge you’ll have when you return.

You’ve always wanted to take my class. If you have to move a mountain or two to get here, will it be worth it?

See you in class.

-Jeremy Moskowitz

PolicyPak Software

Aug 2012

Sometimes, you gotta ask the duck.

I was going to entitle this blog post What the duck?

But I thought better of it.

Here's the deal: People often ask me how to troubleshoot things. Very, very specific things.

Instead, let's take a step back and talk about two (similar) techniques to get YOUR troubleshooting skills better aligned.

Method one: What do you think?

In Galaxy Quest, this was a deleted scene. But I loooove it. At 1 minute and 10 seconds to 2 minutes 14 seconds in, Tech Sargent Chen is being asked how to fix something". It doesn't really matter what that SOMETHING is.

Watch how he handles it end to end

How to actually perform troubleshooting (1 minute 10 seconds to 2 minutes 14 seconds.)


Yes, laugh at it of course.. but there's some actual validity to what is going on here. By simply asking What does that mean? during  a crisis, you can quickly get to the bottom of many many issues and find the root causes of a world or problems.

This very recently helped me troubleshoot a problem on my web site, but can be used for just about anything.

Method two: Ask the duck?

I had never heard of this one before, but fan John Straffin pointed this out to me when he wrote in and said he had an Ask the duck moment.

I had NO idea what he was talking about, but he pointed me toward this Livejournal entry: 

and this Wikipedia entry:

Reading it says it all. In short, re-explaining your challenge to a fake friend can help reframe your brain and make discoveries in all kinds of unique ways.

Now, I Ask the duck all the time.

Aug 2012

Bitlocker .. it aint just for Laptops


I went to the doctor today. Nothing major. (Cough, cough.)

Anyway.. I’m walking down the hall, and I see this:

Look closely at the door name: Nope, nothing special in THERE.
Then, look toward the handle. Yep… KEY in the DOOR.

That’s okay. It’s only my personal medical records in there. No biggie, right? Sigh.

So, this got me thinking about, ya know.. being Evil.. which I am not.. and none of you are. (Little known fact: Everyone on and goes thru a strict pre-screening regiment to ensure only "Non Jerkfaces" are getting these tips, thoughts, and updates.)

Anyhoo.. seeing this totally unlocked and MARKED door made me think about what it would take to be Evil if I wanted to.

And the most evil thing I could think of, was taking a drive out of a server. (No, I didn’t go in the door, and don’t know if that’s possible without a screwdriver.)

Some servers use RAID of course, which stripes the data across multiple drives. Could stealing just one drive mean I get anything? Well, with enough elbow grease I suppose I could go "block level" on that drive and see what I could find. Not easy, but, hey, possible…at least PLAUSABLE.

So this is making me think about how to protect against "Un-Jeremy stealing a server disk.

The answer is simple: Bitlocker.

If I stole a drive in the 60 seconds it took me to make the photo, I would have $100 in metal, and not much else.

I know people think of Bitlocker as a great idea for LAPTOPS. No brainer, sure.

But desktop and servers are equally vulnerable, honestly.. they’re just LESS PORTABLE.

Yes, you may have some physical security.. but.. that’s possibly circumventable. (How many times have you seen the cleaning crew in a bank branch late at night? Here in Philly at least, it’s ALL THE TIME ! No joke.)

So you could have "theoretically high" security, but still "circumventable security."

Bitlocker in Windows 8 and Server 2012 have some new features, which make me pretty happy. For my own systems, I use Bitlocker, but the big pain in the neck is WAITING for a drive to FULLY Bitlocker itself. Windows 8 now can use "Used Disk Space Only" .. which is awesome when I throw a new 1TB drive up.

For desktop and servers, there’s "Network Unlock" which also auto-unlocks machines as they boot (when they see that they’re on the network.) If they’re OFF the network, those drives, once again, become $100 pieces of metal.

So, in short, if you’re hesitant to consider Bitlocker for DESKTOPS and SERVERS.. reconsider, then start thinking about it.

I did.. in the 60 seconds it took me to take that photo.

PS: Class is filling in nicely in Tampa, FL. Smart, good looking NON-Evil people like you are joining up to learn more about managing Windows 7, 8, Server 2008 and 2012. Tampa, Florida, December.. Be there:

Q&A: Yes we take POs. No we cannot "save" a seat for you without a CC or PO. Price is right on the website. Yes, we do group discounts. Call Laura at 215-391-0096 for help with a PO or group. Yes you will get smarter. No it’s not boring. Yes, it’s me teaching. Yes, you will be tired and loving every second of it. Yes, you could possibly get a raise after taking the class because you’re smarter (no guarantees.)

Jeremy Moskowitz (Group Policy Community)    (PolicyPak Software)

Jun 2012

Group Policy Powershell for Beginners and Experts

Folks.. People are asking me how to learn more about Group Policy + PowerShell.

Well, at TechEd 2012, I worked with Jeff Hicks (PowerShell MVP) to give a one-two combo talk on Group Policy + PowerShell.

First, here is a link to the whole darn talk… !

Next, here's a link to Jeff hicks page which has the Show Notes.

Lastly.. Here are some fun pictures Jeff played the part of Professor PowerShell and I played the part of The Pointy Haired Boss.

PS: This talk mentions my Group Policy Health Check service.. which can help orgs of all sizes reduce login times, increase security, and figure out precisely what you're doing right and wrong with GP. Make contact by clicking here.

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