Friday, August 31, 2007

Microsoft releases Group Policy Best Practices Analyzer tool

I happened to catch this news: and started to check out what this does and how useful it is. I assumed my buddy Darren Mar-Elia would be all over this and he was. In fact, you might want to check out his tool GPExpert™ Health Reporter 1.5.

Here's his post...

Microsoft has publicly released their Group Policy Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) tool. This tool is designed to collect GP-related data from remote nodes and provide you with some ideas of things to be concerned about as it relates to Group Policy. I encourage everyone to check out the tool. In some respects, it seeks to do some of the same things that SDM Software's GPExpert Health Reporter does. I looked at the GP BPA when it was still in beta, and I must confess that I am, not surprisingly, partial to the Health Reporter for doing this kind of analysis. The problem I had and still have with the BPA is that it presents the information, while useful, in an almost incomprehensible format. It also presents so much information so as to not be very actionable. Hopefully MS will improve the tool over time but I would have a hard time recommending its use to anyone, unless they are truly a GP guru and can understand exactly what they are seeing.

In addition, I did some initial tests in my test environment using the BPA and I have to say that it appears to lack some QA before its delivery. For example, in one test I did against an XP, SP2 workstation, I got a number of warnings with the following text:

"GP_LINK is for"

Clearly it was trying to tell me something about a gplink attribute on the domain level, but I couldn't figure out exactly what . It also warned me that GPrefresh was unsuccessful but returned with error code 0 (that usually means things worked ok) and then told me it took 60 seconds for the refresh. When I ran the same test from the Health Reporter tool against the same machine, it returned a red status and indicated that Folder Redirection had failed for the currently logged on user, something I did not get from the GP BPA. The GP BPA also presents some really confusing data--and I say that as someone who sorta gets what's going on under the covers in GP. For example, the screen shot below shows a report on that XP node, and frankly, I'm not sure what its trying to tell me, esp. when it says "Any = true".

In any case, I'm happy that MS is putting *something* out there to help folks, and its free!. Check it out.

Technorati Tags:

No comments: