Group Policy Storage

A GPO is a virtual object that is identified by a GUID and stored at the domain level.

The policy-setting information for a GPO is stored in the following locations:

  • Group Policy container
  • Group Policy template

The Group Policy container (GPC) is an Active Directory container that contains GPO properties, such as version information, GPO status, and other component settings.

The Group Policy template (GPT) is a file system folder that includes policy data specified by .adm files, security settings, script files, and information about applications that are available for installation. The GPT is located in the system volume folder (SysVol) in the domain \Policies subfolder.

It is possible to store data related to policy information outside the GPO. This method is not recommended because it bypasses the mechanisms that Windows-based computers use to back up, restore, delete, and replicate GPC and GPT files.

A GPO can be replicated to other domain controllers in two ways. The GPC is replicated using Active Directory replication, and the GPT is replicated by the File Replication Service. Policy settings from a GPO are applied only when the GPC and GPT are synchronized. For more information about Active Directory replication, see Replication and Data Integrity.