How to use Group Policy on Home edition of Windows

zebanovich

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Disclaimer: Note the following instructions are for experienced users only. Anyone else who is not familiar with the registry should should ask for personal guidance in the forums in order to avoid any undesirable consequences. - Cookiegal, Administrator

**********

Users which have "Home" edition of Windows do not have GPO (Local Group Policy), for them this often results
in searching internet on how to do it which in most cases leads to downloading unofficial or unsupported software,
which means a good chance of either breaking their system, letting malware in, breaking Windows license or it just doesn't work the way it should.

If you are that user then good news for you because there is a very elegant trick to manage GPO settings
without the use of any software or shady web sites!

All the settings available is GPO are actually just a user friendly way to modify registry, therefore all you need to do is figure out which registry keys to modify? :unsure:

Thankfully using registry is not illegal thing to do, so here is how to learn this information:
Visit following web site:
Group Policy Search (gpsearch.azurewebsites.net)

1. On this web site either expand nodes on the left side or use site search function to find GPO setting you desire.
2. In this example we will disable "One Drive" program, to continue, on the website expand node:
Windows Components\One Drive
3. On the middle right side (in front of you) click on "Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage"
4. At this point on the right side you will be presented with description that is equivalent to setting which you would see in GPO, take a look at Key value to see which registry key represents this setting, it says:
Key: HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\OneDrive

Here HKLM means HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

Next step is to open Registry Editor, to do so follow these steps:
1. Press Windows key and type regedit.exe
2. Right click regedit.exe and run as Administrator
3. Before we continue if you're not familiar with registry editor it is absolutely recommended to
back up your registry!
To make a backup, in registry editor click on top node called "Computer" so that it is selected, then click on
File -> Export and save registry to location of your choice.
4. In registry editor (for this example) expand node: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
5. Under that key expand the rest of keys until you get to either Windows or OneDrive key
6. You might notice there is no such thing as OneDrive key under Windows key, not an issue because that means this setting is not set!
7. If there is no OneDrive key create it with right click on Windows key and select New -> Key and name it OneDrive

Now go back to web site and see which value controls your GPO setting, you're looking for Value: entry
For our OneDrive example the value is Value: DisableFileSyncNGSC

7. Click on OneDrive key and on the right side there should be this value called DisableFileSyncNGSC
8. If there is no such value you will need to create it by clicking on OneDrive and New -> Value... but wait there are many options for new value!
The value can be "DWORD (32 bit) Value", it can be "String Value", it can be "Binary Value" and so on... trouble!
Here is how to know which value to create, go back to web site and look under Enabled Value, there beneath "Enabled Value" it will say either "Decimal", or "String" and so on... here for OneDrive it says "decimal" therefore we need DWORD (32 bit) Value

9. Create it by clicking or OneDrive key and New -> DWORD (32 bit) Value and name it DisableFileSyncNGSC
9. Double click this value and under value data box set it to: 1
10. Under "Base" set it to "Decimal"
11. Click OK and your setting is now set, feel free to close registry editor.

To make your setting effective you will need to restart computer.

NOTES:
The web site to search GPO registry keys may be slow to load, if that's the case give it some time or refresh page.

If you want to toggle your setting just look at "Disabled Value:" on the web site and set it to specified value.
If you created new value feel free to delete created value but not the key!
If you created new key feel free to delete created key as well.

Make sure you do NOT delete keys or values you did not create or those you don't understand!
If you do something wrong and can't figure out what you did, just restore registry by clicking on top node "Computer" and then select File -> Import locate your exported registry and import.
Btw. it is not recommended to import registry, instead you should be careful, but IF you need to re-import exported registry it is important to do so as soon as possible because Windows may modify registry at any time.
It is recommended NOT to export or import registry during Windows update, Windows backup, software installment and similar activities, if that's the case let it finish what ever it is doing and then do your export/import.

If your issue is whether to create "DWORD (32 bit) Value" or what value should you really create then keep in mind that huge amount of GPO settings are
either 0 or 1 or "Not Configured", which means "DWORD (32 bit) Value" decimal.
for "Not Configured" it means the value should not be present in registry.
For strings just use "String Value", and for strings that expand multiple lines use "Multi-String Value",

I'm sure you'll become registry expert soon enough? :)

For more information about registry, keys and values and what they mean please refer to following link:
Windows registry for advanced users - Windows Server | Microsoft Docs
 
Last edited by a moderator:

lochlomonder

Colin
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I deal with GPOs a lot on our company domain, and I really appreciate their utility. Obviously not having it in the Home version can be a drag, but I think your explanation on how to achieve similar results works well indeed :)
 

Cookiegal

Karen
Administrator
Malware Specialist Coordinator
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Messages
119,116
It's definitely a good resource Zeb! :)

I just want to stress that it's really geared towards users who have some experience with editing the registry to use either for themselves or when assisting others in the forums. Even when creating a backup (which I'm glad you included in the instructions) those who have never ventured into the registry before really should not make any changes without some guidance from someone more experienced. :)
 

zebanovich

Thread Starter
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
1,626
I understand and was already thinking about that but after I already wrote this guide.

Do you suggest adding some notice geared toward assisting other users in forums?
and if so what would that be?
 

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