From the Community Hero Dept. One of the things I state over and over, is that we're our own worst critics here at RES Software. While this is good thing, yammering about stuff, is one way of getting things changed. Another approach is actually DOING something about it yourself. This is the reason why I want to highlight a really nice tool, called ImportGPO – which my good friend and colleague, Dennis Raemakers has developed on his own. Today I'm proud to be able share it with the RES community at large:
The ability to read the given configuration information stored in GPO's and import it into the RES Workspace Manager, has been a long sought after feature. This is exactly what this tool does and a bit more! While there are other tools out there, such as the previously covered VEToolkit, which does similar – the more tools of this kind enriches the RES community resource pool. Either way, the advantage of exporting the GPO's themselves is that they contain the whole picture, not just the resulting set o settings being applied via the .POL files. The ImportGPO utility works like this:
- First go to a Win7/2008 box and start your Group Policy Management Console, for example by running GPMC.MSC
- Now navigate to the policy which you want to convert. Go to the Settings tab
- Rightclick and chose "Save Report.."
- Chose to save the report as .XML format (not .TXT) This is important.
Just do it like shown above on the right, where I've used the Domain Default policy as an example.
Once you got the XML export of the given GPO, it's time to fire up the ImportGPO utility, which can be downloaded further down.
In the tool, you want to use the Import XML file button on the right and get the report you've just created into the tool. Once imported, there is a couple of things to know about what you're looking at. All settings in RED are disabled settings. With the checkboxes at the bottom of the screen you can chose to hide disabled settings. You can also decide not to export disabled settings. You might also see some settings appearing in BLUE. These are HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE based settings. The tool will export both HKCU and HKLM settings as seperate .reg files, which you now can import respectively into Workspace Manager and RES Automation Manager.
The tool also supports GPO's for Folder Redirection. This means if you have a policy which specifies that some shellfolders (such as Desktop or MyDocuments) should be living somewhere else, you can export this to a BuildingBlock that will import directly into the Folder Redirection node of Workspace Manager 2012 (yes, only this version and up). If you import a GPO file which contains any folder redirections, an asterix (*) will flash on each side of the Folder Redirection tab in the tool. All you need to do is go there and select which shellfolder redirections you want to include.
One important thing is the checkbox to enable the Folder Redirection node at the bottom of the tab. Enabeling this box, will instruct Workspace Manager to turn on the Folder Redirection feature under Composition | Actions by Type | File and Folders | Folder Redirection when you import the BuildingBlock. Only do this when you are absolutely sure the paths are valid and sound, otherwise first review the redirection paths in the Workspace Manager console. Also, if you uncheck a given redirection policy, it will still be exported to the BuildingBlock, but will be disabled per default. This concludes the walkthrough of the ImportGPO tool.
Download the ImportGPO v0.3 tool here – This package contains a couple of sample GPO xml exports as well, one for some generic HKCU based settings, and one that contains folder redirection settings.
This is a tool in development and provided as-is. There is good things to come – Stay tuned! If you have ideas or feedback to Dennis on the ImportGPO tool in the meantime, feel free to comment below.