Forcing Group Policy Updates Locally

by Chris Sanders [Published on 5 April 2006 / Last Updated on 5 April 2006]

When testing Group Policy settings, being able to force a policy update can be very convenient. This can be done with the gpupdate command.

Whenever I am working on a new Group Policy Obejct (GPO), I much prefer having it apply to a test computer instantly rather than waiting for it to pick it up on its own. This can be done easily with utilization of the gpupdate command. The syntax of this command is as follows:

gpupdate [/target:{computer|user}] [/force] [/wait:value] [/logoff] [/boot]

/target – Apply only computer or user related policies
/force - Reapplies all settings immediately
/wait – Interval in seconds the policy waits to finish
/logoff - Logs off of the computer after the refresh has completed
/boot - Reboots the computer after the refresh has completed

The times I have found this most useful are when applying machine startup or user login scripts. Pairing the gpupdate command with /force and /boot commands will refresh the appropriate policies and reboot the machine in order to allow the policy to take effect on the next login. Group Policy refreshes on a machine by default every 90 minutes so this command can also come in handy when a user at a remote location needs a policy applied immediately. By having them type this command you can remove the typical wait time and get things up and running much more quickly.


Chris Sanders is the network administrator for one of the largest public school systems in the state of Kentucky. Chris's specialties include general network administration, windows server 2003, wireless networking, and security. You can view Chris' personal website at

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The Author — Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders is a network security analyst for EWA Government Systems Inc. Chris is the author of the book Practical Packet Analysis as well as several technical articles. His personal website at contains a great deal of information, articles, and guides related to network administration, network security, packet analysis, and general information technology.

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