Weekly quickTIP

Comments & Filters: Like PB&J

With Windows Server 2008, you can guess why GPO settings were set the way they were, or you can use the new comments and filtering.

When it comes to Group Policy, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. We’re talking about Windows Server 2008’s new abilities to add comments into Group Policy settings and then later to filter based on those comments.

If you’re in a large organization with dozens or hundreds of Group Policies, figuring out why each Group Policy setting was configured the way it was is probably one of the hardest parts of Active Directory administration. Interestingly enough, with the other AD consoles like Users & Computers and Sites & Services, most objects have a tab whereby you can add in a comment. But until now Group Policy settings had none.

With Windows Server 2008, you can add comments and use them as a sort of in-line documentation tool for notifying other administrators why you’ve made certain configurations. You can even go so far as to list the date and time of the change and the help desk ticket number that approved the change. With Server 2008 this commenting functionality is now added to Group Policy -- for each and every setting.

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But, how do you go about finding these comments once they’re made? If you open the Group Policy Object Editor in Server 2008 you’ll see a new button on the toolbar that enables a filter on the results pane. Among other capabilities of this filter, it is possible to filter out just those settings that have assigned comments. Now, you can just see those settings of interest. Brilliant!

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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