Tuesday, November 2, 2010

bypassing group policy on windows

Group Policy is a feature of windows operating systems to give centralized control of all the computers on a domain to the system administrators. They can do various things like disabling various actions(such as blocking access to Task Manager, disabling access to IE advanced settings etc).

This post describes, how to bypass the group policy.

This is a two step process.

1. All the settings are stored in the registry, so first step is to find the location of the registry that controls the action you're looking for. A little googling can help you find that or use http://gps.cloudapp.net/

2. Start -> Run -> regedit, and set the registry value to whatever you want.

And you are done. But, remember it may go away after some time or when you restart the computer as group policy will update/reset itself periodically and on restarts. Until that time you are all set.

For example, let say access to "Empty temporary internet files folder when browser is closed" option in advanced settings of internet explorer options is disabled and you want to change its value.

1. Find the location of registry. Searching for "empty temporary internet files" in http://gps.cloudapp.net/ reveals following registry values associated with it.
HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\internet Settings\Cache
HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\internet Settings\Cache

2. Open regedit and set the value to above registries to 1(if you wanted to uncheck the option) or whatever you need.

Restart IE and you'll see the change.

Caution: Doing this might be a cause of concern to your sys admins or against your corporate policies, so do this only if you absolutely have to. And, corruption in windows registry might make your system unusable.

Disclaimer: I'm no windows administration expert, so some of above information may be partially incorrect or there might be better ways to handle it.

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