There are several .adm files that are included with Windows. These files are text files, called Administrative Templates, that provide policy information for the items that are under the Administrative Templates folder in the console tree of the Group Policy snap-in.
An .adm file consists of a hierarchy of categories and subcategories that together define how the policy settings appear. It also contains the following information:
Registry locations that correspond to each setting.
Options or restrictions in values that are associated with each setting.
For many settings, a default value.
Explanations of what each setting does.
The versions of Windows that support each setting.
The Administrative Templates for Group Policy contain all registry-based policy information. User configurations are saved in HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU), and computer configurations are saved in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM). HKCU and HKLM each place registry information that is specific to Group Policy under \Software\Policies or under \Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies. Therefore, there are four areas of the registry that contain Group Policy registry settings.
Administrative Templates offer these new features:
A description of each policy setting in Administrative Templates appears in searchable online Help.
Installed in Group Policy by default; for Windows 2000 and Windows XP clients.
Installed in Group Policy by default; Internet Explorer policies for Windows 2000 and Windows XP clients.
Windows Media Player settings; for Windows 2000 and Windows XP clients.
NetMeeting settings; for Windows 2000 and Windows XP clients.
A supported keyword in the .adm files that tells you which versions of Windows are supported as clients for the setting. For information about the supported keyword, see Implementing Registry-Based Group Policy at the Microsoft Web site.
A Web view that shows both the Windows 2000style explanations of each setting and the new supported information.
The ability to filter settings from the view to reduce screen clutter when you are using Administrative Templates.
If you plan to create entries for Administrative Templates, populate the namespace by using the following naming convention, which is also used in the registry:
\CompanyName\product\version (or \CompanyName\product&version)
For example, the operating system settings for Windows are in \Microsoft\Windows.
The Administrative Templates extension of Group Policy saves information in Registry.pol files. These files contain the customized registry settings that you specify (by using Group Policy) that are to be applied to the computer or user portion of the registry:
One of the Registry.pol files contains registry settings that are specific to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key; it is stored in the GPT\Machine folder.
The other Registry.pol file contains registry settings that are specific to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key; it is stored in the GPT\User subdirectory.