In Server 2008 there are new Preference nodes in Group Policy that allow more elements to be controlled by a GPO rather than using a script to set them. The client-side extensions to make all this possible can be found here:
•Windows Vista, 64-bit edition
•Windows Vista, 32-bit edition
•Windows Server 2003, 64-bit edition
•Windows Server 2003, 32-bit edition
•Windows XP, 64-bit edition
•Windows XP, 32-bit edition
To control/configure these settings in the Group Policy Editor you must be running either Server 2008 or Vista SP1 with the RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tools) installed.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOLLOWS!
These Preference settings have a dotted Red line under each field that is configurable within the policy. In order to use these fields so that your changes stay as you set them you must use one of four function keys to change the Red dotted line to a Solid Green line (which activates the field). Making setting changes in any field without activating it results in the preference being reverted to the original setting.
Function Keys and their results:
F5 – all settings activated (solid green line) on the active tab.
F6 – a single setting change from dotted red to solid green (from disabled to active).
F7 – a single setting change from solid green to red dotted (from active to disabled).
F8 – all settings deactivated (red dotted line) on the active tab.
Once the field has been activated and changed to your requirement, you can Apply it or simply press OK to commit the change. As with any Group Policy change, the client will apply it upon next policy refresh interval, a gpupdate /force is run or after the next reboot – it’s important to remember that some settings don’t apply until a reboot is performed.
Many thanks to Mark Heitbrink for the Function Key information!
Have fun with your new Preferences!