As an IT administrator, I made many changes to Group Policy in Active Directory and had to manually update the policy on the client computer. Depending on which OS you are running, the Group Policy update command differs.
In addition, there is a difference between updating a policy and force updating a policy. When the policy is updated, only the changed settings will be loaded by default. When you force update, all settings will be reapplied.
Group Policy Update in Windows 2000
To update Group Policy in Windows 2000, you must use the secedit command. To update computer policies, use this command:
SECEDIT / REFRESHPOLICY MACHINE_POLICY / ENFORCE
To update custom policies in Windows 2000, use the following command:
SECEDIT / REFRESHPOLICY USER_POLICY / ENFORCE
Note that / enforce ensures that all policy settings are reapplied even if nothing has changed since the last time the policy was applied.
Group Policy Update in Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 10
For all other operating systems, including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, the secedit command has been replaced by the gpupdate command. To update only computer policies, use this command:
gpupdate / target: computer / force
To update custom policies in Windows XP and Server 2003, use the following command:
gpupdate / target: user / force
So everything is simple and good, but what if you want to update Group Policy remotely? Well, there are several ways to do this, but one of them is to use the Group Policy Management Console on your Windows Server 2012 or 2016 computer. You must also open several incoming ports on each computer for this to happen. Microsoft has a knowledge base article on how to configure GP remote updates, but it’s quite complicated.
An easier way would probably be to configure computers to restart at off-peak times, which will automatically update Group Policy settings. You can also configure the Group Policy refresh interval for computers to be longer or shorter than the default. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!