Sometimes, you may need to configure advanced system settings that are not in Control Panel or the Settings app. This is where the Local Group Policy Editor comes in.

The Group Policy Editor (or gpedit.msc) is a system tool that gives you administrative privileges to view and edit Group Policy settings.

This can be beneficial if you’re an administrator. This article will walk you through accessing and using the Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 10 and 11.

What Is the Group Policy on Windows?

The Group Policy is a Windows feature that contains different levels of advanced settings specifically designed for network administrators.

Administrators can use the Group Policy to configure settings in an Active Directory system on several computers.

In other words, you can configure various Windows settings for every computer on the network from this central location.

This Windows tool prevents people from changing predefined settings. For example, you can define a standard homepage for all network computers or restrict access to particular areas of Control Panel.

What Is the Group Policy Editor?

The Group Policy Editor helps you to work with Group Policy Objects to customize your PC’s functions and user experience. 

Unlike the Group Policy discussed above, which is mainly used for network-wide settings, the Group Policy Editor can modify settings on a single computer. 

You can change Windows settings you can’t access via the graphical interface, like customizing the login screen. 

For example, the Group Policy Editor allows you to lock down a computer in network scenarios, limit disk access, enforce password requirements, or limit program access.

There’s a difference between the Local Group Policy Editor (LGPE) and Group Policy Editor (GPE). The LGPE allows you to control settings and policies specific to a single computer that only apply to that device. 

On the other hand, the GPE is a more complete tool for managing policies throughout a whole network domain within an Active Directory environment. 

It enables centralized configuration and enforcement of policies for several computers and user accounts.

Components of the Group Policy Editor

The Group Policy Editor is made up of multiple parts that work together to control settings and policies within a network domain.

These components are the following:

  • Group Policy Template (GPT): The GPT stores policy settings on individual client computers.
  • Group Policy Client (GPC): It’s in charge of applying policies to client computers. 
  • Group Policy Objects (GPOs): They hold the actual policy settings. 
  • Group Policy Management Console (GPMC): The GPMC is a management tool for creating, editing, and linking GPOs. 
  • Group Policy Infrastructure: It consists of the Group Policy Service (GPSvc), which processes policy settings and applies them to client computers, and Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), which maintains GPOs.

Components of the Local Group Policy Editor

The Local Group Policy Editor consists of multiple components:

  • Group Policy Engine: It processes and applies policy settings to the local computer. 
  • Local Security Authority (LSA): The LSA imposes local security policies and settings.
  • Local Group Policy Objects (LGPOs): LGPOs hold the policy settings unique to the local computer. 
  • MMC-based interface: It offers a user-friendly environment for viewing and configuring local policies. 

These components allow you to use the Local Group Policy Editor to alter user preferences, security settings, and system behavior on specific machines.

What Can You Do with the Group Policy Editor

Group policies set password restrictions and regulate which versions of network protocols are available.

Establishing and upholding a strict Group Policy enhances IT security for corporations. Here are some things you can do with the Group Policy Editor in Windows 11 or 10:

  • Restrict the apps employees can download and use on their business devices under management.
  • Disable insecure network protocols such as TLS 1.0 to enforce more secure protocols.
  • Turn off removable devices, such as USB drives.
  • Limit the Control Panel’s settings that a user can change. For example, the GPE helps users adjust the screen resolution but doesn’t let them change the VPN settings.

How to Access the Group Policy Editor in Windows 10/11

There are several ways to open the Group Policy Editor. Let’s go through them:

Open the Local Group Policy Editor via Run

Here’s how to open the Local Group Policy Editor:

  • Type Windows + R to open the Run dialog box. 
  • Type gpedit.msc into the text field and press OK.” 

Open the Local Group Policy Editor via the Command Prompt

You can also open the Local Group Policy Editor using the Command Prompt. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Open the Command Prompt using the search bar. 
  • Type gpedit.msc, and press Enter.” 
  • Open the search toolbar.
  • Type gpedit in the search bar and select Edit group policy.”

Open the Local Group Policy Editor via Control Panel

  • Open Control Panel  from the Start menu. 
  • Type group policy or gpedit in the search field.
  • Click on Edit group policy.” 

Open the Local Group Policy Editor via PowerShell

  • Type PowerShell in the search bar to open.
  • Type gpeditand pressEnter.” 
What does it mean when I receive the error message “gpedit.msc not found” on my Windows 10/11?

The error message “gpedit.msc not found” on Windows 10 and 11 usually occurs when you try to access the Group Policy Editor, but it’s unavailable or can’t be located. 

The causes of the issue with gpedit.msc not found in Windows 11 and 10 could range from corrupt or missing files, third-party interruptions, and a lack of administrative privileges.

How to Use Group Policy Settings

Here’s how to apply Group Policy settings:

  • You can launch the Group Policy Management tool by typing gpedit.msc in the Windows search bar. 
gpedit msc
  • Search for your preferred organizational unit (OU). You can apply the Group Policy at the OU, domain, or site level. 
  • Go to the default domain policies. Right-click on your preferred GPO to edit.
Configure Redirection Guard

Every Group Policy Object has two fundamental configurations: computer and user configuration. Each of these configurations has policies and preferences. 

Choose the configuration you want to change and save them. 

How to configure a security policy

Let’s take an example. If you want to change a security policy in the Group Policy Management, follow the steps below:

  • Type gpedit.msc search bar and click to open 
  • Click Windows Settings > Security Settings > Password Policy
Windows Settings password policy
  • Double-click on Password must meet complexity requirements.”
  • ClickEnabled,” select Apply,” and then OK.”
Password must meet complexity requirements Enable

How to Use Group Policies with PowerShell

Here are examples of the PowerShell GroupPolicy cmdlets:

New-GPO: This cmdlet creates a new, unassigned GPO. The new GPO allows you to choose a name, owner, domain, and additional parameters.

Get-GPResultantSetOfPolicy: This cmdlet generates an XML file containing the results and returns the whole Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) for a user, computer, or both. It’s a useful method for researching GPO-related problems. The only method to determine whether another GPO has overridden a policy set to a particular value is to know the actual values applied to a particular user or computer.

Get-GPOReport: This cmdlet creates an XML or HTML file containing all or the specified GPOs in a domain.

  • Invoke-GPUpdate: This cmdlet helps you to update the GPOs on a PC.
When you use PowerShell to configure the Group Policy Editor, you gain advantages such as automation, flexibility, and remote management. 

You can remotely manage GPOs, automate processes, and change configurations with PowerShell. 

Many IT workers choose PowerShell because of its scripting capabilities and version control, which make configuration management and troubleshooting easier.

The Group Policy on Windows: All You Need to Know

Throughout this guide, we’ve discussed the Group Policy Editor, the differences between the Local Group Policy Editor and the Group Policy Editor, and how to access the GPE on Windows 10 and 11.

We hope this guide has given you a basic understanding of the GPE and how to use it effectively.

You can use the PowerShell commands to implement policies without using the Group Policy interface.

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The Local Group Policy is a collection of configurations and settings applied to a single user account or computer. It allows administrators to regulate several aspects of user preferences, security settings, and system behavior inside a particular Windows environment.  Usually, these rules are implemented locally on each device rather than controlled centrally over a network.Local Group Policy settings can support efficient resource management, user experience customization, and security measure enforcement.
To access gpedit.msc, Press the Windows key + R combo on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box. Then, type “gpedit.msc” into the text field and press “Enter.”This will open the Local Group Policy Editor window, where you can navigate various Group Policy settings and configurations.
The Windows edition you are using determines whether the Group Policy Editor is available. Windows professional and enterprise editions, such as Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Enterprise, and similar versions, typically include the Group Policy Editor. However, basic versions of Windows, like Windows 10 Home, don’t usually come with it.
Here’s how to open the Local Group Policy Editor as an administrator. Press Windows key + X and select “Computer Management.” Next, expand “Local Users and Groups” and click “Groups.” Double-click on the “Administrators group” and click “Add.” Then, type your username and select “OK.” After adding the username, close the “Computer Management” window. This will give the Group Policy Management administrative privileges.