Managing Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows

When you are an admin, one of the important tasks you have to do is to create and administer registry-based policy settings in Windows OS. The Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows machines are created using .admx and .adml files. Admins can use the Central Store to store and replicate Windows-based policy files in a domain environment.

Group Policy Administrative Templates

Group Policy Administrative Templates

Setting Group Policy administrative templates in Windows is nothing but admins control the working environment of user accounts and computer accounts. This feature is seen in every PC from Windows NT OS family. From Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 onwards, Groups Policy got a new format and that was registry-based policy settings.

The Registry-based policy settings are located under the Administrative Templates category in the Group Policy Object Editor. Those are defined using a standards-based, XML file format, known as ADMX files. Thus, a Group Policy administrator need to create the Group Policy templates using the ADMX files. The new file format has replaced ADM files, which used their own markup language. However, in day-to-day Group Policy administration tasks of the admins, the presence of ADMX files is negligible.

Tools used to create Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows

To create the Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows 10/8/7, admins can use following tools:

  • Group Policy Object Editor
  • Group Policy Management Console

Both these tools have been around for quite a long time now and remain largely unchanged.

How to manage Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates

Windows uses a Central Store to store Administrative Templates files. If you wish to download the administrative templates based on your operating system, here’s the list of downloadable links:

Before you start using the Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows in the form of .admx files, you have to create a Central Store. The Central Store is created in the SYSVOL folder on a Windows domain controller. Central Store is nothing but a file location that is checked by the Group Policy tools. Further, the Group Policy tools also use any .admx files that are in the Central Store. The files that are in the Central Store are later replicated to all domain controllers in the domain.

How to create a Central Store

To create a Central Store for .admx and .adml files, create a folder with the name PolicyDefinitions in the following location (for example) on the domain controller:

  • \\\SYSVOL\\policies

Then, copy all files from the PolicyDefinitions folder on a source computer to the PolicyDefinitions folder on the domain controller. The source location can be either of the following:

  • The C:\Windows folder on a Windows 8.1-based or Windows 10-based client computer
  • The C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Group Policy\client folder if you have downloaded any of the Administrative Templates separately

The PolicyDefinitions folder on the Windows domain controller stores all .admx files and .adml files for all languages that are enabled on the client computer.

This way, you can create and manage the Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows.

Since creating and managing the Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows is an essential and critical task for the admins, it is necessary to know all the steps for it.

For more information, read the complete guide on how to manage the Central Store of the Group Policy Administrative Templates in Windows on Also, know how to manage the Group Policy ADMX on MSDN.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

One Comment

  1. Ancient Monk

    How the policy templates store should be populated if organisation have limited or full range of operating systems? F.e. organisation have Win7, 8.1 and Win 10 workstations among the 2008R2, 2012 and 2016 servers? And, there are several workstations flavours, f.e. Win 10 initial release, 2016 and 2017 updates?

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