The Group Policy Central Store has two big benefits for every Windows Administrator. First, it allow you (plus anyone else with the GPMC) to have the latest Group Policy administrative templates available. Second, creating a central store will significantly reduce the amount of storage being used on your domain controllers! In this article, we are going to create/update our Group Policy Central Store. We will make the Windows 8.1/Server 2012R2, Office 2013, and a few other ADMX files available to our entire IT department.
To get an idea of how the Group Policy Central Store works, explore your Sysvol for a second. Open an explorer window and navigate to \\DOMAINNAME\sysvol\. Open up any subfolders until you are inside the policies folder. We are now looking the GUID of every Group Policy Object (GPO) in our domain. Open up any policy and you should see a few subfolders. The most common are: ADM, Machine, and User.
By default, your ADM folder will contain five ADM files. Each client will also have a copy of these files. Every policy that you create will automatically include this ADM folder. Our domain has four domain controllers and 767 group policy objects. Each policy would have a 3.46 MB ADM folder in it. That means that our domain uses 10.4 GB of space to store ADM files! Imagine how much space is being wasted in your sysvol.
The great thing about creating the Group Policy Central Store is this will have zero impact on your client machines! Each client already has a local copy of any Administrative Template and the GPMC will simply use the Central Store to pull its available Administrative Templates.