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Export a GPO to a text file – Document a GPO

This is tricky. Technically, it’s not doable, at least not in the way you would expect. You can save a GPO as an HTML or XML file, but that doesn’t always do what you want since that saves everything, down to the SID. I’ve also tried screenshots before within Group Policy Management, but that doesn’t work either. A complex GPO will be more than a single screen. But many times, you just want to document the purpose and definition of a GPO.


You will use a copy&paste technique that requires an extra clean-up step. It works well for simple documentation.

Now, let’s do a simple GPO for our sample. We have a GPO named “Software – IE8 Homepage” and all it does is preset the IE8 homepage, as seen in the screenshot below.

  1. Open Group Policy Management (GPMC).
  2. Select your GPO. You can choose a GPO link or the GPO itself.
  3. You’ll land on the Scope tab. Click on Settings.
  4. Click Expand All.
  5. Here’s the trick: Right-click the content, click Select All, and then Copy Selection.
  6. Now paste the content into an advanced text editor like Notepad++. You’ll want to do a regex later on in a search and replace, so Notepad++ works great.
  7. Delete everything in the document down to Computer Configuration. You COULD leave the stuff at the top, but it’s very site specific and not generally what you need as the GPO definition itself starts at Computer Configuration. (Unless you want to document delegation, etc.)
  8. Now let’s do our search and replace:
    1. Replace your company name with “ExampleCompany” for security in Normal replace mode and click Replace All.
    2. Replace hide$ with nothing in Regular Expression mode and click Replace All.
  9. Now you have a much simplified document as shown below! Copy&paste this into your blog, internal documentation wiki, etc.


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