Modify the Default Group Policy Refresh Interval


For W2K computers in a Windows 2000 domain, computer and group policies are
applied when one starts the computer and when one logs onto a Windows 2000
domain. Using the registry, an administrator can specify whether a group policy
should be refreshed in the background, and if so, at what intervals. If you have
a large number of workstations and/or member servers, group policy refresh
requests can put a significant load on domain controllers. By default, if the
administrator has not modified the default registry setting, Windows 2000
workstations and member servers have a 90-minute interval. Domain controllers
have a 5 minute interval to insure that they have current policies as
replication occurs.

To avoid the performance degradation that would occur if many workstations
and/or member server request a group policy refresh simultaneously, a random
offset interval is added to the refresh interval to determine the total amount
of time between group policy application cycles. The valid range for the offset
interval is 0 to 1440 minutes (24 hours). The default offset interval for W2K
workstations and member servers is 30 minutes, while the default for domain
controllers is 0 minutes.

There are computer and user group policies. There are computer and user group
policy intervals for background refresh. These registry values can be disabled
or modified locally but remember that local registry settings can be overridden
by a GPO in Active Directory.

To control the refresh interval for W2K workstations/member server computer
group policies:

Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

Key: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTime

Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0 –
64800
minutes

To control the offset interval for W2K workstations/member servers computer
group policies:

Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

Key: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeOffset

Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0 –
1440
minutes

To control the refresh interval for domain controllers:

Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

Key: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeDC

Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0 –
64800
minutes

To change the offset interval for domain controllers:

Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

Key: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeOffsetDC

Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0 –
1440
minutes

To change the refresh interval for user policies:

Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER

Key: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTime

Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0 –
64800
minutes

To change the offset interval for user policies:

Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER

Key: Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System

Name: GroupPolicyRefreshTimeOffset

Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0 –
1440
minutes

If you would rather not modify the registry directly, you can use the MMC
console. To control the Refresh and Offset Intervals:


  • Log on as an administrator
  • Click Start
  • Click Settings
  • Click Control Panel
  • Double-click Administrative Tools
  • Double-click Computer Management
  • Double-click System Tools
  • Double-click Group Policy
  • Double-click Computer Configuration
  • Double-click Administrative Templates
  • Double-click System
  • Double-click Group Policy to display the group
    policy behavior policies
  • Double-click Group Policy refresh interval for
    computers to make this change for workstations or member servers
    – or –

    Double-click Group Policy refresh interval for
    domain controllers
  • Click to select the Group Policy refresh interval for computers check box so
    that you are able to modify the refresh and offset intervals settings on the
    Policy tab. – or –
    Click to select the Disable background refresh of group
    policy check box in the Disable background refresh of group policy behavior
    policy.
  • Click OK
  • Click Quit the Computer Management snap-in.

Using a Group Policy Object (GPO) to Change the Behavior of Multiple
Computers :


  • Log on to the W2K computer as an administrator
  • Click Start
  • Click Settings
  • Click Control Panel
  • Double-click Administrative Tools
  • Double-click Directory Management to modify this at
    the domain or organizational unit levels
    – or –
    Double-click Active Directory Sites and Services Manager to modify this at
    a site level
  • Edit the GPO on the container where the GPO resides
  • Double-click Computer Configuration
  • Double-click Administrative Templates
  • Double-click System
  • Double-click Group Policy to display the group
    policy behavior policies
  • Double-click the appropriate policy
  • Click to select the Group Policy refresh interval for computers check box so
    that you are able to modify the refresh and offset intervals settings on the
    Policy tab.
    – or –
    Click to select the Disable background refresh of
    group policy check box in the Disable background refresh of group policy
    behavior policy.
  • Click OK
  • Quit the Group Policy Editor snap-in.

If you are an administrator or workstation support and want to insure that
the box you are working on has current group policies applied, you can
immediately enforce them using the secedit command:


  • computer policies:

    secedit /refreshpolicy machine_policy /enforce


  • user policies:

    secedit /refreshpolicy user_policy /enforce

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