11 Group Policy Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Updated 2 March 2023

Group policy is an integral feature of Microsoft Windows. It enables administrators to define security policies for computers and users. If you are applying for a role that involves managing group policy, preparing for commonly asked interview questions for group policy can help you appear confident and increase your chances of receiving a job offer. In this article, we list 11 group policy interview questions with their sample answers to help you prepare for an interview.

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11 Group Policy Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Here are some group policy interview questions with sample answers to prepare:

1. What are Group Policy Objects (GPOs)? Name the different kinds

This is a commonly asked interview question for a Windows server and system administrator interview. Interviewers might ask this question to evaluate your knowledge of GPOs and how they control the work environment of computer accounts, and multiple users. When responding, briefly describe what GPO means and explain its three types.

Example: A GPO is a virtual collection of group policy settings that define a computer system's preferences and how it performs for a defined group of users. It is useful for operating system settings, applying security settings, installing software and running scripts. You can have as many GPOs as you want per domain, but you can link each to only one domain. Its three types are local, non-local and starter GPOs. A local GPO refers to the collection of group policies that apply explicitly to local computers.

Alternatively, you can apply non-local GPOs to one or more Windows users. You can use non-local GPOs on Windows computers after they link to Active Directory objects, such as domains, sites and organisational units. The starter GPO is a non-local GPO primarily used as a template when creating a new one. This helps an administrator use a pre-configured group of settings to develop future policies.

Related: 17 Active Directory Interview Questions And Example Answers

2. Can you disable a GPO? If yes, how?

Every GPO has two settings, user and computer configuration, affecting performance. Interviewers might ask this question to test whether you know about disabling and enabling GPOs. When responding, explain what disabling a GPO means and the steps for disabling it.

Example: Yes, you can disable a GPO. Disabling a GPO means turning it off such that it no longer affects the systems or computers on which you apply it. Disabling a GPO usually improves the performance of the login process. To disable a GPO completely, select ”Disable” from the “Manage” option above the GPO list.

Related: 8 Windows Server Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. How do the No Override and Block Inheritance in group policy work?

No Override and Block Inheritance are essential to group policy features. Interviewers ask this question to determine whether you can use the group policy settings in a specific GPO. When responding, explain these two features and provide tips for using them.

Example: You can apply group policies at various levels, such as domains, organisational units and sites. You might override policies set from one level to another. To prevent conflicts from occurring with each layer, you set the order for all defined policies but force some policies to never override with No Override. You might want containers to avoid inheriting settings from a parent container with Block Inheritance. In short, No Override prevents the child container from overriding policies set at a higher level. Alternatively, Block Inheritance prevents the container from inheriting settings from a parent container.

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4. Explain the security settings provided by the Microsoft group policies

Interviewers might ask this question to evaluate your understanding of security settings. This demonstrates your familiarity with using group policies. While answering, explain what you consider the advantages of the group policies offered by Microsoft.

Example: The security settings provided by Microsoft are comprehensive and offer protection for users, and businesses. In addition, they provide a variety of settings that allow customisation. Using this feature, you can customise the setting depending upon the organisation's needs.

5. Outline the key differences between domain and local group policies

In an Active Directory environment, knowledge of group policy helps you configure user settings on computers that are a part of the domain. Interviewers ask this question to test your knowledge of the domain and local group policies. When answering, clearly explain these terms and outline the differences between the two.

Example: Local group policies are like group policy settings, which are an integral part of the Active Directory. This local machine stores the local policy, while the server stores the domain policies. Typically, this applies to all machines in the domain. Generally, domain group policies are granular and more specific than local policies. Also, local group policies are a set of rules governing how Windows works on your computer or device.

Related: What Are Active Directory Management Tools? (With Benefits)

6. What are group policy templates (GPTs)?

As templates are essential for GPO, interviewers expect you to know about them. When asking this question, interviewers evaluate your knowledge about a file system folder that includes policy data specified by script files, security settings and information about various applications available for installation. When answering, briefly explain these templates and why they are essential.

Example: In group policies, the group policy template is essential. It is a file that stores the settings for the GPO. Creating a group policy container generates a template on the hard drive in the SYSVOL folder of the domain controller. GPTs comprise registry settings, applications, security files, scripts and installers, XML files, graphic files and shortcuts. The settings depend upon what settings you define in the corresponding GPO.

7. What are the various design considerations for group policy?

You might design group policies when working as a Windows server or system server administrator. Interviewers ask this question to evaluate whether you know essential design considerations. When answering, briefly explain considerations you might use when designing a group policy.

Example: When designing group policy, it is essential to minimise linking because there might be a chance of deleting the original one if too many people use the GPO. Minimising filtering also helps keep the environment simple. In addition, when creating a group policy, ensure you set it at the granular level rather than the domain level. The only group policy at the domain level is the default domain policy.

Related: What Is Desktop Virtualisation? (Benefits And Tips)

8. How does the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) work?

Interviewers might ask this question to understand whether you know about managing group policy. When answering, provide a brief definition of GPMC. In your job, you might use different tools for managing group policy.

Example: GPMC is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) built-in administrator tool that helps administrators manage group policies in an Active Directory and get the data for troubleshooting these policies. It provides a single administrative tool for handling group policy across the company and manages single, and multiple domains. From a central location, you can perform all group-policy related tasks.

9. What is the hierarchy of group policy?

Understanding group policy processing is essential for working with it effectively. Interviewers ask this question to test whether you know the group policy hierarchy. When answering, briefly explain what hierarchy is and why it is essential.

Example: As with most Microsoft technologies, group policy processing has a tree scheme where the application of setting moves down the tree branches. You hierarchically apply GPOs and often combine multiple group policies to form an effective policy. The group policy hierarchy includes local, site, domain, Organisations Unit (OU) and sub-OU policy.

10. Why is group policy management important?

This question helps an interviewer evaluate your knowledge of managing the group policy. It also helps them understand your technical expertise in GPO. When answering, explain the importance of group policy management.

Example: Group policy management is an essential component of GPO, as it helps you control the behaviour of many computers in any network. When you can create and manage group policies, you ensure all computers in your network have the same configuration and are up to date with the latest information technology, security and software patches. Apart from reducing your time, it helps manage your network and prevent problems from occurring.

11. What is the SYSVOL folder?

The SYSVOL folder is an important shared folder in GPOs. Interviewers ask this question to evaluate your storing group policies knowledge. Use your answer to explain what the SYSVOL folder is and elaborate on its purpose.

Example: The SYSVOL is a shared folder storing important group policy information and login scripts. It stores the domain controller's public files, and every domain user can access the SYSVOL folder and read its content using the read-only mode. One of the key features of this folder is providing policy and login scripts to all the domain members.

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