Microsoft KB Archive/929841

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Article ID: 929841

Article Last Modified on 1/23/2007


  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Starter


This article describes how to use the new .admx and .adml files to create and to administer registry-based policy settings in Windows Vista. This article also explains how the Central Store is used to store and to replicate Windows Vista policy files in a domain environment.



Windows Vista uses a new format to display registry-based policy settings. These registry-based policy settings appear under Administrative Templates in the Group Policy Object Editor. In Windows Vista, these registry-based policy settings are defined by standards-based XML files that have an .admx file name extension. The .admx file format replaces the legacy .adm file format. The .adm file format uses a proprietary markup language.

In Windows Vista, Administrative Template files are divided into .admx files and language-specific .adml files that are available to Group Policy administrators. The changes that are implemented in Windows Vista let administrators configure the same set of policies by using two different languages. Administrators can configure policies by using the language-specific .adml files and the language-neutral .admx files.

Administrative Template file storage

In earlier operating systems, all the default Administrative Template files are added to the ADM folder of a Group Policy object (GPO) on a domain controller. The GPOs are stored in the SYSVOL folder. The SYSVOL folder is automatically replicated to other domain controllers in the same domain. A policy file uses approximately 2 megabytes (MB) of hard disk space. Because each domain controller stores a distinct version of a policy, replication traffic is increased.

Windows Vista uses a Central Store to store Administrative Template files. In Windows Vista, the ADM folder is not created in a GPO as in earlier versions of Windows. Therefore, domain controllers do not store or replicate redundant copies of .adm files.

Note If you use a client that is running an earlier version of Windows to modify a policy that is created or administered on a Windows Vista-based computer, the client creates the ADM folder and replicates the files. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

816662 Recommendations for managing Group Policy Administrative Template (.adm) files

The Central Store

To take advantage of the benefits of .admx files, you must create a Central Store in the SYSVOL folder on a domain controller. The Central Store is a file location that is checked by the Group Policy tools. The Group Policy tools 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.

To create a Central Store for .admx and .adml files, create a folder that is named PolicyDefinitions in the following location:


Note FQDN is a fully qualified domain name.

For example, to create a Central Store for the domain, create a PolicyDefinitions folder in the following location:


Copy all files from the PolicyDefinitions folder on a Windows Vista-based client computer to the PolicyDefinitions folder on the domain controller. The PolicyDefinitions folder on a Windows Vista-based computer resides in the same folder as Windows Vista. The PolicyDefinitions folder on the Windows Vista-based computer stores all .admx files and .adml files for all languages that are enabled on the client computer.

The .adml files on the Windows Vista-based computer are stored in a language-specific folder. For example, English (United States) .adml files are stored in a folder that is named "en-US." Korean .adml files are stored in a folder that is named "ko_KR." If .adml files for additional languages are required, you must copy the folder that contains the .adml files for that language to the Central Store. When you have copied all .admx and .adml files, the PolicyDefinitions folder on the domain controller should contain the .admx files and one or more folders that contain language-specific .adml files.

Note When you copy the .admx and .adml files from a Windows Vista-based computer, verify that the most recent updates to these files and to Windows Vista are installed. Also, make sure that the most recent Administrative Template files are replicated. This advice also applies to service packs if applicable.

Group Policy administration

Windows Vista does not include Administrative Templates that have an .adm extension. Additionally, earlier versions of Windows cannot use the new administrative format. Therefore, client computers that are running earlier versions of Windows cannot administer new policies that are included with Windows Vista. We recommend that you use computers that are running Windows Vista or later versions of Windows to perform Group Policy administration.

Keywords: kbpolicy kbexpertiseadvanced kbinfo kbhowto KB929841