Windows Tip Sheet

Take Command of GPO Processing

Apply policies throughout your network without requiring users to reboot or log off their systems.

One of the great features of Group Policy is that you can modify or create a policy and can be confident that, aside from a few exceptions, the policy will eventually be applied without any reboots or logoffs.

If you want to apply the policy immediately you need to run GPUPDATE on Windows XP/2003 or a confusing SECEDIT command on Windows 2000. To make life more difficult, the command has to be run locally on the system you want to update. You’re out of luck if you want to remotely force a computer to update its GPO settings -- that is, unless you use RGPRefresh.exe, a free command line tool developed by the GPO Guy, Darren Mar-Elia.



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With RGPRefresh, you can remotely refresh GPO settings regardless of the OS. The tool lets you specify alternate credentials, force a reboot or logoff or bypass them. Here’s the complete syntax:

RGPrefresh [/m:{ComputerName}] [/t:{Computer|User}] [/u:{username}] [/p:{password}] [/n] [/force] [/logoff] [/boot] [/sync]

I love a tool like this, because it can be run from the command line. This makes it a snap to wrap up in a batch file. Or, use the FOR command to run through a list of computers and quickly refresh multiple computers in seconds.

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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