Choose a Session. Jeff Petters. The Group Policy Editor is a Windows administration tool that allows users to configure many important settings on their computers or networks. Administrators can configure password requirements, startup programs, and define what applications or settings other users can change on their own. This blog will deal mostly with the Windows 10 version of Group Policy Editor gpedit , but you can find it in Windows 7, 8, and Windows Server and later.
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You can customize Windows 7 by setting local group policies to control the way the OS looks and acts. Paul McFedries offers 10 handy tweaks. In Windows 7, you can perform some pretty amazing things by using a tool that's about as hidden as any Windows power tool can be: the Local Group Policy Editor. That Microsoft has buried this program in a mostly untraveled section of the Windows landscape isn't the least bit surprising, because in the wrong hands, the Local Group Policy Editor can wreak all kinds of havoc on a system.
It's a kind of electronic Pandora's box that, if opened by careless or inexperienced hands, can loose all kinds of evil upon the Windows world. Of course, none of this doom-and-gloom applies to you, dear reader, because you're a cautious and prudent wielder of all the Windows power tools. This means that you'll use the Local Group Policy Editor in a safe, prudent manner, and that you'll create a system restore point if you plan to make any major changes.
I knew I could count on you. Put simply, group policies are settings that control how Windows works. You can use them to customize the Windows 7 interface, restrict access to certain areas, specify security settings, and much more. I'll show you how to perform the same tweak using the Registry if you're using those versions. To start the Local Group Policy Editor, follow these steps:. When you delete a file or folder in Windows 7, the system asks you to confirm the deletion.
If this extra step bugs you, you can turn it off by right-clicking the desktop's Recycle Bin icon, clicking Properties, and then deactivating the Display Delete Confirmation Dialog check box. Now let's consider this from the opposite point of view. The reason Windows displays the delete confirmation dialog box by default is to prevent you from accidentally deleting a file. You and I are savvy, knowledgeable users, so we know when we want to delete something, but not everyone falls into this boat.
If you have young kids or old parents who use Windows, you know that the delete confirmation dialog box is an excellent safeguard for these and other inexperienced users. In that case, you might be wondering if there's a way to ensure that a novice user can't turn off the delete confirmation dialog box. Yes, there is. In fact, are two ways to prevent a user from turning off delete confirmations:.
If you have zero use for the taskbar's notification area, you can disable it entirely by following these steps:. If you prefer or need to implement this policy via the Registry, first open the Registry Editor click Start, type regedit , press Enter, and enter your UAC credentials. Then, navigate to the following key:. You can gain a bit more control over the Control Panel by configuring it not to display icons that you don't ever use or that aren't applicable to your system.
Also create a new key named DisallowCpl, and within that key create a new String value for each Control Panel icon you want to disable. Give the settings the names 1, 2, 3, and so on, and for each one set the value to the name of the Control Panel icon you want to disable. Disabling a few Control Panel icons is useful because it reduces a bit of the clutter in the All Control Panel Items window. However, what if you want to set up a computer for a novice user and you'd like that person to have access to just a few relatively harmless icons, such as Personalization and Getting Started?
In that case, it's way too much work to disable most of the icons one at a time. A much easier approach is to specify just those few Control Panel icons you want the user to see. Here's how:. Also create a new key named RestrictCpl, and within that key create a new String value for each Control Panel icon you want to show. Give the settings the names 1, 2, 3, and so on, and for each one set the value to the name of the Control Panel icon you want to show.
Do you share your computer with other people? How brave! In that case, there's a pretty good chance that you don't want them to have access to the Registry Editor. In Windows 7, User Account Control automatically blocks Standard users unless they know an administrator's password. For other administrators, you can prevent any user from using the Registry Editor by setting a group policy:. Once you set this policy, you won't be able to use the Registry Editor, either.
However, you can overcome that by temporarily disabling the policy prior to running the Registry Editor. Yes, you could perform this tweak in Windows 7 Home and Home Premium using the Registry Editor, but then you wouldn't be able to reverse it because the Registry Editor would be disabled! In my book Windows 7 Unleashed , I provide a script that toggles the corresponding Registry setting on and off; see that book for more info. If you want to prevent a novice user from mucking around in Security and Privacy tabs in the Internet Options dialog box, you can hide them:.
Note that the Security Page sub-branch also enables you to set policies for the settings in each zone. Of these five commands, all but Switch User are customizable using group policies. So if you find that you never use one or more of those commands, or more likely if you want to prevent a user from accessing one or more of the commands, you can use group policies to remove them from the Windows Security window.
Here are the steps to follow:. To perform the same tweak using the Registry , open the Registry Editor and open the following key:. The area that contains these icons is called the Places bar. If you have two or more folders that you use regularly for example, you might have several folders for various projects that you have on the go , switching between them can be a hassle. To make this chore easier, you can customize the Places bar to include icons for each of these folders.
That way, no matter which location you have displayed in the Save As or Open dialog box, you can switch to one of these regular folders with a single click of the mouse.
The easiest way to do this is via the Local Group Policy Editor, as shown in the following steps:. Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:. When you select Start Shut Down, Windows 7 proceeds to shut down without any more input from you unless any running programs have documents with unsaved changes. That's usually a good thing, but you might want to keep track of why you shut down or restart Windows 7, or why the system itself initiates a shutdown or restart. To do that, you can enable a feature called Shutdown Event Tracker.
With this feature, you can document the shutdown event by specifying whether it is planned or unplanned, selecting a reason for the shutdown, and adding a comment that describes the shutdown. Paul McFedries is a full-time technical writer who has worked with computers in one form or another since and has used Windows since version 1 was foisted upon an unsuspecting and underwhelmed world in the mids.
He is the author of more than 60 computer books, which have sold more than three million copies worldwide. Type gpedit. Press Enter. The word Local refers to the fact that you're editing group policies on your own computer, not on some remote computer. Note: This article is available as a PDF download. You can also download the sample chapter "Tweaking the Windows 7 Registry" from the author's recently published book Windows 7 Unleashed.
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10 Ways Windows Group Policy Can Make Your PC Better
Which one do you think is easier to handle? The former, of course! This is the exact role played by Group Policy in offices full of computers running Microsoft Windows — configuration and management. Group Policy represents a series of settings in the computer registry that looks after security and other operational behaviors. Group Policy enables you to prevent users from accessing parts of the system, run specific scripts when the system starts up or shuts down, and forces a particular home page to open for every user in the network. Keep in mind, however, that Group Policy is available only on those computers running Windows Professional, Education, or Enterprise Versions.
Get Rid of Windows 10 Ads, Office Offers and Other Annoyances
You can customize Windows 7 by setting local group policies to control the way the OS looks and acts. Paul McFedries offers 10 handy tweaks. In Windows 7, you can perform some pretty amazing things by using a tool that's about as hidden as any Windows power tool can be: the Local Group Policy Editor. That Microsoft has buried this program in a mostly untraveled section of the Windows landscape isn't the least bit surprising, because in the wrong hands, the Local Group Policy Editor can wreak all kinds of havoc on a system. It's a kind of electronic Pandora's box that, if opened by careless or inexperienced hands, can loose all kinds of evil upon the Windows world. Of course, none of this doom-and-gloom applies to you, dear reader, because you're a cautious and prudent wielder of all the Windows power tools.
Useful Windows Group Policy Tricks and Tricks Everyone Should Know
Do you wish you could change some of the ways Windows 10 behaves? A great way to get more control over your computer is using Group Policy. There are tons of useful Group Policy settings that home users can employ to tweak how Windows 10 works. Group Policy provides a centralized way to configure and enforce all kinds of settings across computers on an Active Directory network. What is a Windows domain and what are the advantages of a computer joining one?
10 ways to tweak Windows 7 using the Local Group Policy Editor
You may recall, millions of users received Windows 10 as a free upgrade at launch, making the promos more forgiving. From so-called suggested apps in the Start menu, to nagging taskbar notifications and lock screen ads, enough is enough. Thankfully it's easy to shut down most of these annoyances if you know where to look. We published this guide when Windows 10 was newly released, we've since revised all content so it's current with the latest OS updates. To get rid of lock screen ads you'll need to disable Windows Spotlight, which is the default option for the lock screen background and displays different images as you log into the operating system.