Administrative Template

Administrative Template

Administrative Templates are a feature of Group Policy, a Microsoft technology for centralised management of machines and users in an Active Directory environment.

Administrative Templates facilitate the management of registry-based policy. An ADM file is used to describe both the user interface presented to the Group Policy administrator and the registry keys that should be updated on the target machines.

ADM files are consumed by the Group Policy Object Editor (GPEdit). Windows XP Service Pack 2 shipped with five ADM files (system.adm, inetres.adm, wmplayer.adm, conf.adm and wuau.adm). These are merged into a unified "namespace" in GPEdit and presented to the administrator under the Administrative Templates node (for both machine and user policy).

ADM files across different platforms

It is important to note that ADM files shipped with Microsoft operating systems include descriptions of policy settings for not just that platform but for all other platforms on which Group Policy is supported. For example, the Windows XP Service Pack 2 ADM files described policy settings not just for this platform but also for Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. This approach allows management of machines that are running an operating system other than that on which GPEdit is used.

Managing ADM files

By default, ADM files are stored in each GPO, within Sysvol on domain controllers. This creates a simple and effective model for replicating ADM files across domain controllers (which is handled by the File Replication Service). However, in some instances this can cause operational issues. To this end, various policy settings are available to manage the manner in which ADM files are read and stored. These are described in Microsoft's KB article 816662.

External links

* [ Important information about Windows XP Service Pack 2 ADM Files (KB 842933)]
* [;en-us;816662 Recommendations for managing Group Policy Administrative Templates (.ADM) Files (KB 816662)]
* [ Writing custom ADM files]

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