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10: Integration with Group Policy (Basics: Installation, Backup, Restore and Reporting !)

See how PolicyPak installs into Group Policy, backs up and restores with Group Policy, works with GP Reporting and more !

Hi, this is Jeremy Moskowitz, 15-year group policy and Microsoft endpoint manager MVP, and in this video I'm going to show you how PolicyPak hooks right into the group policy infrastructure you already know and love. To set the stage, let's go ahead and create a new GPO here. I'll call this PP Demo 123, so I've got this new GPO here, and you know how to create them but look:  no PolicyPak node. You've got Microsoft's policies, Microsoft's preferences, but no PolicyPak stuff. How do get that?

In the download, we've got – here's the full download here. You can see the Admin Console MSI, and we're going to go ahead and install the admin console, and this is 50% of what you need to get PolicyPak up and working. Just get the admin console on your management station, and you're off to the races. It doesn't have to be a domain controller. It can just be a regular machine like a Windows 10 machine with a GPMC, and you're off to the races.

Ten seconds ago, this machine didn't have the ability to make PolicyPak edicts, and now we click Edit and boom, we're off to the races. We'll go over and let's go ahead and do a quick sample. This is just a lay-up demo, one that you might see in some other videos as well. We'll go over to Least Privilege Manager. Let's overcome a UAC prompt, a superpower that – nothing that Microsoft has in a box for group policy. I'll create a new executable rule for one of my favorite apps that needs a little TLC. We'll use a hash to keep it simple for this video, and I'm going to go ahead and pick my application, which is Procmon over here. I'm going to run it with elevated privileges

I've locked and loaded this group policy directive, this group policy setting, inside the GPO. I'm going to go ahead and close it for now. I've linked it over to my east sales users, and that's who this is. This is East Sales User 1, as you can see here, and if I were to run GP Update, it would normally work but it's not going to because I don't have the PolicyPak client side extension That's the second half of what you need to make this work.

If I were to go over to the fake CD-ROM here, that one I downloaded the entire tooling. Here if I go to Client Side Extension, this is the other half of what you need. If we run the client side extension here, this is the second half of what you need to get PolicyPak working, bing, bing, bing, Next, Next, Next. Give this a second to wrap up. You could use any kind of software deployment you want to make this work. You can build this into your image, although we don't really recommend that; anything you want, PDQ deploy, SECM, however you want to get this thing out there, you get it out there and you're off to the races.

That's it. It's a hundred percent of what you need to get PolicyPak out and installed and now you're ready to run, say – before I run GP Update, let's do the before picture and the after pictures, so here's the before picture, Procmon requires a UAC prompt, and now because PolicyPak is on the machine, we can just run GP Update and we will get the results we're after. Here we go, give GP Update a second, and now Procmon, it works perfectly. That's the first part is that we hook right into the group policy infrastructure you already know and love.

While we're here, why don't we go ahead and back up this GPO and show you how backup and restore works. We're going to find PP Demo 123 here. I'll go ahead and back this file up. I'm going to back it up to my desktop and I will give it a new location here. I'll call this Backup 123. There we go, and I'm going to go ahead and back up this GPO.

Let's go ahead and show how we hook into the backup and restore. This is backing up this GPO. Now let's go ahead and delete GPO 123. We're actually go ahead and smash it and really delete it. Now it's really gone. Because of that, if I were to run GP Update here, what's going to happen? Well, the policy's going to fall out of scope and Procmon is not going to get the juice it needs in order to get elevated. That will now revert back.

What are we going to do? Time to restore this. So now let's go ahead and restore. We'll go to Group Policy Objects. We'll click on Manage Backups. Here's the backup we made a minute again. Let's go ahead and restore here. We'll go ahead and restore that. Now when you do a GPO restore, it doesn't restore the links; you have to do that yourself. We're going to pick that and that's PP Demo 123. If we look here, one of my other favorite things that we hook into group policy land is that we hook into the group policy reporting. Here you can see what we did earlier is now restored. Now we can go back over here, run GP Update, and we're restored our settings the way we expect. Let's go ahead and run Procmon and boom, we've restored our settings. PolicyPak hooks into group policy making the backup and restore you already do with group policy work perfectly. We hook into all the other areas of group policy as well. If you do a gpresult/r, you're going to see us there. If you do gpresults/h, you're going to see us there as well. We are everywhere. We hook into absolutely everything because we are real group policy as if Microsoft themselves had shipped it from the factory.

You can watch our other videos as well if you want to learn about how we add item-level targeting to admin templates and everything else, also how we eliminate loopback and how we integrate into Microsoft ATPM. I hope this first demonstration just shows how deeply integrated we are with group policy as if Microsoft had shipped it from the factory. We also do a great job with Microsoft Endpoint Manager as well, and you can see that in our other integrations.

Thanks so very much, and we'll talk to you soon.

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  • 19-May-2021