Windows 8.1/8 Group Policy Settings

New Group Policy Settings in Windows 8.1/8

2013-05-17 20:21:17 / Posted by Michael Eric to Windows Tips
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What is Connected Account in Windows 8.1/8?

Windows 8.1/8 has a new concept called a connected account. It is a consumer-oriented feature of Windows 8.1/8 allows its users to sign in to Windows 8.1/8 with their Microsoft Account (formally known as Windows Live ID or Hotmail account.) It is an email address and password you use to sign in to services like SkyDive, your Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, or Outlook. A connected account in Windows 8.1/8 can be linked to either a local or domain account.

new Group Policy settings in Windows 8

Group Policy is a feature of the Microsoft Windows NT family of operating systems that control the working environment of user accounts and computer accounts. (From Wiki) Group Policy allows you to centrally configure settings for Windows clients and servers using Active Directory for deployment and application of these settings.

Microsoft adds new Group Policy capabilities to each edition of Windows, and Windows 8.1/8 is no exception. Microsoft has created a number of new group policy settings that are specifically designed for Windows 8.1/8 and Windows Server 2012. There are 169 new policy settings in all (plus some extra settings for Internet Explorer 10).

These new Group Policy settings may be important to network and system admins. In order to use these new policy settings you will need to either have a Windows Server 2012 domain controller or you can add the policy settings to Windows 8.1/8's local security policy. Following parts will go through some important new Group Policy Settings in Windows 8.1/8.

Windows Store Policy Settings

Microsoft provides group policy settings that can be used to control access to the store as for organizations that operate managed desktops, the thought of users going into the Windows store and downloading unapproved applications can be stomach churning.

Group Policy settings can be applied at either the user or the computer level and exist at \Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Store. The policy settings themselves are self-explanatory. They include turning off automatic downloads of updates, allowing the store to install apps on Windows to Go workspaces, turning off store applications.

Connected Accounts

Windows 8.1/8 enable its users to log into Windows 8.1/8 with Microsoft account. This account links Windows 8.1/8 to online services such as Hotmail, SkyDrive, or even Xbox Live. These are all consumer-grade services that don't allowed in most business environments. So as an administrator, you need to prevent users from being able to provide Windows 8.1/8 with a connected account.

Group Policy settings can be used to realize it. You can find them at Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options\Accounts: Block Microsoft Accounts.

Some Other Windows 8.1/8 Group Policy Settings

  • Turn off tile notifications
  • Turn off toast notifications
  • Location where all default Library definition files for users/machines reside
  • Prevent users from uninstalling applications from Start
  • Turn off app notifications on the lock screen

With these new Group Policy settings, Windows 8.1/8 must be more popular among its users. And in order to use these Group Policy settings, you must log into Windows 8.1/8 as administrator. If unfortunately forgot Windows 8.1/8 administrator password, turn to Windows Password Recovery tool which can reset your lost password instantly.

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