Windows Tip Sheet

Fast GPO Backups

Back up those objects faster than a speeding bullet.

If you are using the Group Policy Management console, I’m sure you’ve seen the context menu option to back up all Group Policy objects. When you run this command, you are prompted for a folder where all your GPOs are backed up. The assumption is that you’ll use these backups for any restores to back up the folder to tape for disaster recovery. If you have many objects or they change frequently, backups are even more critical. Fortunately, the GPMC includes a number of scripts for managing Group Policy objects, including backing them up.

Take a look in %ProgramFiles%\GPMC\Scripts and you’ll see a number of .wsf files. These are Windows Script Files that are intended to be run from the command line using CSCRIPT. There is a script called BackupAllGPOs.wsf. I suggest you create a scheduled task to run as often as you feel is necessary to run the script.

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The script requires a folder name parameter for the backup location. Remember, you want the location to get backed up to tape. Optionally, you can specify a comment and domain name. Your scheduled task command will look something like this:

Cscript %ProgramFiles%\GPMC\Scripts\BackupAllGPOs.wsf D:\GPOBackups /Comment:”Weekly GPO Backup”

The scheduled task must run with credentials to read all the Group Policy objects and have write permission to the destination folder. The backups don’t require much space and require minimal effort to set up, so what are you waiting for?

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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