Comparing Two Group Policy Objects

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 16 June 2005 / Last Updated on 16 June 2005]

How to compare two GPOs and see how their settings differ.

There’s no built-in functionality in Windows for comparing two GPOs to see how their settings differ, but you can try this: open the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) and select a GPO under the Group Policy Objects node. Then select the Settings tab in the right-hand pane to generate an XML report of the policy settings configured in the GPO and right-click on the report to save it as an XML file on in My Documents. Then do the same with the second GPO. Now you need to compare the two XML files. An easy way to do this is to go to http://apps.gotdotnet.com/xmltools/xmldiff/ and browse to select each file, then click Compare and scan the results to see the differences between the files. After doing this a few times it’s pretty easy to pick out the differences in policy settings between your GPOs.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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