In this post, you will learn how to configure and manage the group policy central store.

What is the Group Policy Central Store?

The group policy central store is a central location to store all the group policy template files. This eliminates the need for admins to load and open group policy template files on systems used to manage group policy.

Group Policy Central Store Benefits

  • Ensures all admins are using the same group policy template files
  • Loads the same template files from any computer
  • Makes it easier to manage and update template files by having only one location to update
  • Reduces template files in the sysvol and reduces replication traffic between domain controllers.

Now that you understand what the group policy central store is let’s see how to configure it.

Configure Group Policy Central Store

Step 1: Download new Group Policy Templates

When Microsoft releases new versions of Windows it also releases new group policy templates.

Here is a link to the Windows 1809 templates

If you have other group policy templates such as Office, OneDrive, chrome and so on you will follow these same steps for the central store.

Download and extract the templates to your computer.

You can extract the files to any location on your local computer. I chose to extract to the default location.

Step 2: Create PolicyDefinitions Folder

The next step is to create a PolicyDefinitions folder in the SYSVOL directory.

The exact path is SYSVOL\Yourdomain\Policies

Right click, create a new folder and name it PolicyDefinitions

You can also find this path by logging into your domain controller and browsing to this path


Related: How to Update Group Policy on Remote Computers

Step 3: Copy extracted files

The last step is to copy the extracted files from step 1 into the PolicyDefinitions folder. In the extracted folder you will notice there are folders for different languages.

You can copy them all to the central store but choose to just copy the language I need. There is no need to copy templates for other languages but again it’s not a big deal if you do.

You can see below I have copied the extracted templates to the PolicyDefinitions folder created in step 2.

That was the final step in configuring the group policy central store.

Verify Group Policy Central Store

To verify the central store is working, edit a GPO and navigate to Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates. It should now say the definitions are retrieved from the central store like the screenshot below.

Now that the central store is configured you can open the group policy management console on any computer and it will load the templates from the central store. You will no longer need to mess around with keeping templates updated across multiple systems.

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  1. Zoe Gumbo on October 19, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Simplified and clear to understand ****

  2. Sean on October 28, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    This fails on server 2016

    • Robert Allen on October 29, 2019 at 11:51 pm

      This guide was created on server 2016. Where is it failing for you?

      • Robert H Hoffman on December 19, 2019 at 3:40 pm

        Fails for me too. The administrative template hive never shows up.

        • Robert Allen on January 3, 2020 at 4:34 pm

          The administrative templates folder doesn’t show up at all? Is the computer on the same domain?

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