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Using Windows XP or Vista, how do I force a group policy to be applied?

Important: As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP with security updates. To ensure the highest security standards, the UITS Support Center no longer registers Windows XP devices to the IU network. UITS strongly recommends that you look into the options for replacing or upgrading your Windows XP computers for full compatibility with IU systems. See About end of life for Windows XP.

When you make a change to a Group Policy Object (GPO), the change takes place on a Windows 2000 domain controller. The change is replicated to all other domain controllers in the Active Directory. All Windows XP and Vista computers in the Active Directory check for modifications to GPOs at regular intervals. If they find changes, they apply them during the next interval.

If you need to apply the change immediately, you can use the following command to trigger the updating process:

gpupdate /force

This command compares the currently applied GPO to the GPO that is located on the domain controllers. If nothing has changed since the last time the GPO was applied, then the GPO is skipped.

If Windows Vista accepts the request, it will display the following message:

Updating Policy... User Policy update has completed successfully. Computer Policy update has completed successfully.

Windows XP will display this message:

Refreshing Policy... User Policy Refresh has completed. Computer Policy Refresh has completed.

For more about this command, from the Start menu, select Help and Support, and then search on group policy management (Windows Vista) or gpupdate (Windows XP).

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Last modified on March 19, 2014.

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