Here is the story thus far. In Part 1 we discussed the issues with the RES Workspace Manager implementation of ADM/X templates and whether this is a good or a bad thing. The answer is, “it depends!” Part 2 detailed the locations of the existing Group Policy Objects (GPOs) and the REGISTRY.POL files. The last post (Part 3) we explored the REGISTRY.POL file format and the available options for extracting the resulting registry settings stored within.
Hail the release of the updated/new Virtual Engine Toolkit BETA 2 (registration required)! This update now incorporates the ability to create a .REG file from the GPO REGISTRY.POL file that we can import directly into RES Workspace Manager. We lose the ability to browse the ADM/ADMX structure hierarchy and view the explanations, but we do now have the ability to import existing GPOs without having to manually transition the settings!
Note: This is still a Beta product so please be careful and test, test and test again! If you have any issues please use the contact form on the website.
To migrate a GPO you will need to know where it is located and which REGISTRY.POL file to use and to add to the confusion all GPOs have a REGISTRY.POL file. To locate the correct REGISTRY.POL to import we first need to find the GUID of the existing GPO:
- Open the Group Policy Management Console.
- Locate and edit the GPO we wish to migrate.
- Right click the <GPO NAME> in the left hand pane and select Properties from the resulting context menu.
- The GPO’s GUID will be displayed next the Unique Name entry (highlighted below).
Now we have the GPO’s GUID we can locate the correct REGISTRY.POL by performing the following:
- Launch the Virtual Engine Toolkit and select the “Convert POLs” tab.
- Click the ‘…’ button to browse for the REGISTRY.POL file (next to the .POL File Location text box).
- Open the ‘\\<DOMAIN FQDN>\SYSVOL\<DOMAIN FQDN>\Policies’ folder.
- Select the folder that matches the GPO GUID found earlier.
- Open the ‘User’ folder (this contains the User Configuration settings of the GPO).
- Select the ‘REGISTRY.POL’ file.
- Select an output location to save the .REG file in the ‘REG File Output Location’ text box.
- Give the file a name in the ‘REG Output Filename’ text box (the .REG extension will be added automagically).
It might look a little like this:
Note: It is possible to import the Machine (Computer Configuration container) REGISTRY.POL file and there are no checks enforced to stop you doing this. Within the REGISTRY.POL file is nothing to define whether the registry settings are User or Machine based, i.e. no HKLM or HKCU differentiators. The Virtual Engine Toolkit assumes that they’re User based and adds the HKCU text to the resulting .REG file manually.
Click the green “Toolkit” icon to create the .REG file. If all is well you should see something like this:
Now we can create a new Registry configuration object and import our .REG file into the RES Workspace Manager Management Console. If you browse the registry settings you should see that the resulting GPO settings have been migrated, in place exactly as they where configured in the GPO!