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An Overview of Group Policy Management Console: What You Need to Know

An image of a manager, computer desktops, and a team for a blog about Group Policy Management Console

The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) offers several snap-in tools to help manage your Windows environment, including Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)

Group Policy Management Console overview

GPMC provides a single interface for managing Group Policy Objects (GPOs) in an Active Directory environment. With GPMC you can centrally manage and deploy group policies across your network, simplifying group policy administration and ensuring consistent configuration and security settings for all domain-joined computers. 

Features and capabilities of GPMC

GPMC offers several key features for managing GPOs, including:

1. Centralized management

Centrally manage GPOs across your network by creating, editing and linking from a single console, eliminating the need to connect to individual domain controllers. This saves time and effort, especially in large and complex network environments.

2. Easy-to-use interface

GPMC’s user-friendly interface organizes GPOs into a hierarchical structure, allowing you to quickly locate and modify specific policies. It also offers comprehensive search and filtering capabilities, making it easier to find specific settings or GPOs within your network.

3. Reporting and analysis

With GPMC you get powerful reporting and analysis features that provide insights into your group policy settings. You can generate reports on GPOs, settings and their impact on specific computers or users, allowing you to assess the effectiveness of your group policy configurations and identify any issues or conflicts.

4. Copy GPOs across domains

Import and copy GPOs across domains and forests by creating migration tables that map references to users, groups and computers from a source GPO to new values in a destination GPO.

5. Prototype your Group Policy

Use simulated Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) data to test your Group Policy before you implement it in the production environment. 

How do I open Group Policy Management Console?

To open GPMC in Windows, search for it on your device:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard to open the Start menu.
  2. Type “Group Policy Management Console” in the search bar.
  3. Click on the “Group Policy Management Console” app in the search results to open the console.

You can also open GPMC through the Run dialog box following these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “gpmc.msc” in the Run dialog box.
  3. Press Enter or click OK to open Group Policy Management Console.

Navigating the GPMC interface

The GPMC interface is divided into several sections and provides easy navigation to manage your group policies. 

Console tree

The left pane of the GPMC interface contains the console tree which displays a hierarchical view of your domains, sites and organizational units (OUs). You can expand or collapse these nodes to navigate and select the desired object.

Details pane

The details pane displays information about the selected object in the console tree, such as GPOs, WMI filters and security settings. 

Actions pane

The actions pane provides quick access to common tasks and actions related to the selected container, such as creating new GPOs, editing existing GPOs and linking GPOs to specific domains, sites or OUs.


At the top of the interface is a toolbar with various buttons for performing common tasks, such as creating, editing and managing GPOs, as well as generating reports and backups.

Managing Group Policy Objects with GPMC

GPOs are the building blocks of group policy management and GPMC provides a comprehensive set of tools to create, edit and manage GPOs. Here are some of GPMC’s key functions for managing GPOs and the steps to complete the action:

Create a new GPO

  1. In the GPMC interface, select the domain, site or OU where you want to create the GPO.
  2. Right-click on the selected container and choose “Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here” from the context menu.
  3. Enter a name for the GPO and click OK to create it.

Edit an existing GPO

  1. In the GPMC interface, navigate to the GPO you want to edit.
  2. Right-click on the GPO and choose “Edit” from the context menu.
  3. The Group Policy Management Editor will open, allowing you to modify the settings and configurations of the GPO.

Link a GPO to a specific domain, site or OU

  1. In the GPMC interface, select the GPO you want to link.
  2. Right-click on the selected GPO and choose “Link an Existing GPO” from the context menu.
  3. Select the domain, site or OU where you want to link the GPO and click OK.

Advanced GPMC functions

GPMC has additional features for managing GPOs:

1. Backup and restore

GPMC allows you to create backups of your GPOs and restore them if any issues arise. This ensures that you can preserve and recover GPO settings, preventing any potential loss of configurations.

2. Resultant Set of Policy

RSoP is a feature that helps you determine the effective group policy settings for a specific user or computer. It allows you to simulate the application of multiple GPOs and view the resulting policy settings.In the event of conflicts, troubleshoot by determining the precedence of applied policies.

3. Group Policy Modeling

Group Policy Modeling allows you to simulate the application of group policies without actually applying them to your network. This helps you assess the impact of potential policy changes before implementing them and troubleshoot issues that can arise after multiple Group Policy settings are applied.

Tips and guidelines for using GPMC

To make the most out of GPMC and ensure smooth group policy management, keep these tips and guidelines in mind:

Organize GPOs

Organize your GPOs using a logical naming convention and folder structure. This makes it easier to locate and manage specific policies within GPMC.

Document changes

Keep track of any changes made to GPOs by documenting the modifications, including the date and reason for the change. This helps in troubleshooting and maintaining an audit trail of policy modifications.

Test and verify

Before deploying GPOs to your entire network, test them in a controlled environment and verify their impact on a small group of test computers or users, to ensure that the policies work as intended.

Regularly review policies

Periodically review your group policies to ensure they align with your organization’s evolving needs and security requirements. Remove any outdated or unnecessary policies to simplify management and improve performance.

GPMC alternatives

While GPMC is a powerful tool for managing group policies in a Windows environment, there are alternative solutions available in the market. 

One is an add-on to GPMC developed by Microsoft. Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) provides advanced change management and version control capabilities for group policies, allowing you to track and manage policy changes, apply approvals and roll back to previous versions, if needed. AGMP is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) which is only available to Software Assurance customers.

Another solution is NinjaOne’s Windows endpoint management software which offers comprehensive group policy management capabilities along with additional features for endpoint management. NinjaOne lets you manage all your Windows endpoints — including servers, virtual machines, workstations and laptops — from a single console. 

Automate software and patch deployment, antivirus deployment, user management and remediate issues without interrupting the user. Learn more about how NinjaOne’s Windows endpoint management software manages all of your Windows endpoints.

Next Steps

Building an efficient and effective IT team requires a centralized solution that acts as your core service deliver tool. NinjaOne enables IT teams to monitor, manage, secure, and support all their devices, wherever they are, without the need for complex on-premises infrastructure.

Learn more about Ninja Endpoint Management, check out a live tour, or start your free trial of the NinjaOne platform.

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