Group Policy Improvements in Windows 7

With the looming end of support deadline for Windows XP just around the corner, migrations to Windows 7 in IT environments around the world are ramping up. Many organizations skipped the XP to Vista migration, which means they’ll be making the leap from XP to Win 7 as April 2014 approaches.

When mapping out this migration, you may be considering upgrading client desktop machines and your network hardware in order to take advantage of the performance and security improvements made over the last several years. Another major point of consideration should be how to proceed with regards to Group Policy and Active Directory, which have also made significant improvements over XP and Small Business Server 2003.

There are over 300 new policy settings available for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This includes heightened security by allowing read-only domain controllers and revamped auditing as well as power management settings for client desktops and devices.

Windows 7 also introduced a much-improved firewall when compared to XP’s, and it is completely manageable through group policies. Also controlled by Group Policy are BitLocker and AppLocker, which are beneficial to environments requiring heightened security.

To help you manage all those new policies, Microsoft updated the Group Policy Management Console. The new console adds filters to allow for easy sorting and viewing of your group policies. Microsoft also strengthened PowerShell’s capabilities to allow for a script to be either a logon/logoff script or a startup/shutdown script. Basically, you can define a script to be for either a computer/device or a user.

If you’re still running Windows XP, now is time to migrate. Minneapolis-based IT support company OAC Technology can help. We’ve been helping small businesses with their IT needs for over 10 years and can help keep your business’s technology running smoothly. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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