Data Centers

Use Group Policy to have a local file resource

How would you copy a file to a large number of Windows systems? Rick Vanover shows how to perform this task in this Windows Server tip.

Group Policy is incredibly powerful, but sometimes you still need to use it to perform simple tasks. For instance, I recently needed to deploy a file to a number of computer accounts. This can be as simple as a graphic file to be used as a desktop background or as complicated as a license file to selected systems with software installed. Either way, Group Policy can help you tackle the task.

In Group Policy's Computer Configuration | Preferences | Windows Settings | Files section (Figure A), you can create a rule to deploy one or more files to the computer accounts which this Group Policy Object (GPO) applies. Figure A

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In the example, you can deploy a background image from a central source to the root of the c:\ drive on the computer accounts. Double-clicking the object in Group Policy Editor will allow you to set additional options on the destination file, including making it read-only and putting additional actions (create, update, delete, etc.) on the file operation (Figure B). Figure B

This can be a boon to get a lot of files out to a number of systems where you may or may not have the ability to get a Robocopy or PowerShell script in the mix to easily complete the task. If you need to complete the task quickly, Group Policy may not be the right tool because it may not take effect until the next boot.

Has the file copy action of Group Policy helped you administer a group of servers or workstations? If so, share your experiences with the TechRepublic community.

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Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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