NT System Policy Editor

The System Policy Editor is a tool that comes with NT 4.0 and allows you to make conditional changes to the registry. For example you can set up a policy so students can not make changes to the registry. Other policies could be to remove the control panel.

Policies come in three forms user, group or computer. There is a default user and also a default computer policy. These policies apply to all users and all computer respectively. You can modify these default policies using the policy editor. You can also create a new user policy that will over ride the default user policy. The user policy is associated with a user by setting the name of the user policy to the name of the user. This can also be done with computer policies. If you want to set up policies for a group of users, you can create group policies. Group policies can only be applied to Global Groups.

User and group policies have the same attributes, called policy items, but computer policies have different policy items. Each item can be in one of three states: checked, cleared, or gray. These states help resolve any problems when group, user and computer policy items overlap. The following list indicates the precedence of user environment options.

  1. A user policy item that is checked or cleared for a specific user
    A user policy item that is checked or cleared for a specific user will always over ride any other user environment options including default user policies, group policies and user profiles.

  2. A group policy item that is checked or cleared
    A group policy item that is checked or cleared will override any default user policies or profile options.

  3. The default user policy
    The default user policy item that is checked or cleared will override any environment options set in the user profile.

  4. The user profile
    The user profile has the lowest precedence of all user environment options.

User & Group Policy Catagories

The policy items are organized into several catagories. Here is a brief examination of the user and group policy catagories.

Control Panel
Allows you to control different areas of the display control panel.
Desktop
Used to configure Wallpaper and Color scheme.
Shell
A wide variety of settings including the ability to remove the find and/or run command.
System
Another group of settings that include many things such as access to the entire control panel and Registry editing tools.
Windows NT Shell
Determine if the current settings are saved when the user logs off.
Windows NT System
Controls the use of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file and logon scripts.

Computer Policy Catagories

Here is a brief examination of the computer policy catagories.

For more information about hiding items using policies see the Knowledge Base Article on What is your Hiding or Removing Items issue?