Windows Server 2003 contains several tools that can be useful when configuring group policy, these include Security Templates and the Resultant Set Of Policies (RSoP) utility. The RSoP utility allows you to analyze an object such as a computer or a domain to see what policies will be applied to it. The RSoP will simulate applying all of the GPO’s associated with the object as well as permissions.
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The RSoP utility allows for easier resolution of Group Policy conflicts where a desired policy effect is not seen as it has been superseded by a policy lower down the inheritance list. The RSoP utility can also can be used to determine the effect of moving objects between containers.
The RSoP utility has two modes: planning and logging.
Logging: Used to discover overwritten or failed policies. Assigned and Published Application status.
Planning: Used to test policies and the effects of actions on Group Policy settings.
Used to test effective settings when the user and the computer are in separate containers and security groups. Used to test effective settings for a projected object move Simulating the effect of a slow WAN link betweens sites on group policy.
The RSoP management console in logging mode can be quickly accessed by running “rsop.msc” from the Run Dialog box. The computer is then analyzed. And the console is launched showing all of the settings applied to the computer. The RSoP can be extremely useful for troubleshooting or for planning group policy implementations.
To launch the RSoP in planning mode locate the object in Active Directory Users and Computers and right-click on it. Select All Tasks -> Result Set Of Policy (Planning). The computer object has been selected. Click on Next to continue. The RSoP utility will allow you simulate Slow network connections or Loopback processing (Which states whether policies in different GPO’s are merged or overwritten). Click on Next to continue.
The next page will ask you if you want to simulate moving the object to another OU. Choose a location and click Next. You can also simulate changes to group memberships for users. Choose a group and click Next. The next page allows you to simulate changing the group membership of the computer. Select a group and click Next. The wizard will ask you if you want to simulate using WMI Filters (which allow you to filter out specific objects based on a set of criteria). Click on Next to continue. Check all the settings are correct and click Next. Once completed click on Finish to launch the RSoP management console. You can now browse through all of the group policy settings that would be applied based on the settings you chose during the wizard.