If you have been using Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 server platforms with Active Directory, you will already be aware of the power and flexibility that Group Policy can provide within the domain.
Until recently Group Policy management was only available by using the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC snapin’s at the server or workstations that had the support tools installed. This made the management of Group Policy kind of a black art as there was no easy way to see which policy was assigned to which Organisational Unit.
In order to increase the usability and management of Group Policy on an Active Directory domain, Microsoft has released a free feature pack called the Group Policy Management Console. This is an MMC snapin that has the ability to help a network administrator to see all of the policies in force and where in the Active Directory they are located.
The console also gives the ability to export and import group policies allowing a great and much needed backup facility giving administrators piece of mind. There is an execellent reporting function that you can use to document the policy and a much improved Resultant Set of Policies tool.
The console has been designed to work natively on a Windows Server 2003 domain, but will also work quite happily on a 2000 domain from an XP machine.
You can get the Group Policy Management Console feature pack and many more free Microsoft Tools from the Server download site.