Using Group Policy vs. Registry Tweaks

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 18 Nov. 2008 / Last Updated on 29 Aug. 2008]

Why is it better to use Group Policy to modify the registry than to use Registry Editor itself?

Many useful registry entries on Windows computers can also be modified by configuring Group Policy settings. And on a standalone computer that is not domain-joined, you can do this using Local Group Policy Editor by typing Start, Run, gpedit.msc, OK.

But geeks who are die-hard oldtimers tend to think the best way to "tweak" Windows is to edit the registry directly using Rededit.exe. When you have a choice however, it's best to modify the registry by using Group Policy Editor instead of Regedit. Why? Because it's a supportable way of doing this. This is because the mechanism of Group Policy abstracts away the need to know the specific registry keys you are modifying, and this approach will continue to work even if the registry-based locations for the policies change. And with each new version of Windows, the location where certain registry settings are stored can (and often do) get changed from the previous version of Windows.

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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