New ways to do familiar tasks

Windows NT 4.0 introduced the System Policy Editor, which you could use to create a system policy to control user actions and the work environment and to enforce system configuration settings for all computers that run Windows NT 4.0. Policy settings define the various components of the desktop environment, including the applications that are available to users, the applications that appear on users' desktops, and the options that are displayed on the Start menu.

If you upgrade from Windows NT 4.0 to Windows XP, you will find that Group Policy and its extensions provide a unified replacement for many of the tools that you are familiar with. The following table contrasts the differences between Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP with regard to the creation of system policy.

If you want toIn Windows NT 4.0 useIn Windows XP use

Set policies on users and computers in a site

Not applicable

Group Policy, accessed through Active Directory Sites and Services

Set policies on users and computers in a domain

System Policy Editor (Poledit.exe)

Group Policy, accessed through Active Directory Users and Computers

Set policies on users and computers in an organizational unit

Not applicable

Group Policy, accessed through Active Directory Users and Computers

Use security groups to filter the scope of policy

Not applicable

Edit the permission option for Apply Group Policy on the Security tab in the Group Policy object's properties dialog box.

Manage software

For an administrator, Systems Management Server. For a user, Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.

Systems Management Server and the three Software Installation and Maintenance tools:

Software Installation, an extension to the Group Policy snap-in

Windows Installer

Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel 

Create a safe user interface for editing the registry

Windows NT 4.0-style Administrative Templates for System Policy Editor

Windows XP-style Administrative Templates for Group Policy

See The role of Administrative Templates for an explanation of how the use of .adm files has changed in Windows XP.

Perform general administrative tasks

Administrative wizards, User Manager, and Server Manager

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, particularly
Active Directory Users and Computers,
Active Directory Sites and Services,
and Group Policy and its extensions

If you upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP, you will find that Folder Redirection has become easier to use, as described in the following table.

If you want toIn Windows 2000 useIn Windows XP use

Redirect a special folder to a share with a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path that is personalized to the user

A UNC path that incorporates %username%, for example, \\server\share\%username%\My Documents

The special folder's properties dialog box, as described in To redirect special folders to the root directory



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