Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

Group Policy is a power tool that allows you to configure your system, unlock features like Hibernation, and block others like Windows-generated notifications. Group Policy Management is only found in the Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows and may be one reason to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro How to Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional Edition How to Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Professional Edition Windows 10 Home users are missing several subtle features. Pro users, for example, can temporarily defer Windows updates. We show you how you can upgrade to the Pro edition to regain some control over Windows... Read More .

But if you don’t want to upgrade, you can still take advantage of this great tool if you know ow to access it. We will show you how to install a Group Policy Editor (GPE) on your Windows Home edition, how to access GPE on all other editions, and some useful Group Policies to customize your Windows setup.

Group Policy Basics

How to Open the Local Group Policy Editor

You can access the Local Group Policy Editor in several different ways. Here are the two most convenient ones:

  1. Press the Windows key to open the search bar or, if you’re using Windows 10, press Windows key + Q to summon Cortana, enter gpedit.msc, and open the respective result.
  2. Press Windows key + R to open the Run menu, enter gpedit.msc, and hit Enter to launch the Local Group Policy Editor.

If this doesn’t work, you either don’t have Administrator priviledges or you’re running Windows Home.

How to Install the GPE in Windows Home

Whether you’re on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 Home, you can use a third-party tool to get access to the GPE. The proper installation requires a couple of tweaks. You might also need to install the NET Framework 3.5.

First, head to C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and copy these items:

Ads by Google
  • GroupPolicy foler
  • GroupPolicyUsers folder
  • gpedit.msc file

Then open C:\Windows\System32 and paste the items you just copied.

Now download the Add GPEDIT.msc ZIP file from DeviantArt user Drudger and install it on your computer. Following installation, you will find the tool under C:\Windows\Temp\gpedit.

Add GPEDIT

If your Windows username contains more than one word, you might have to adjust your installation. Right-click x64.bat or x86.bat, depending on whether your system is 64-bit or 32-bit, and select Open with… > Notepad or Edit (Windows 10). Add quotes to the six instances of %username%, i.e. change %username% to “%username%”, save your changes, then right-click the bat file again, and select Run as administrator.

If you continue to get the “MMC could not create snap-in” error, try replacing “%username” with “%userdomain%\%username%”.

5 Powerful Group Policy Tweaks

1. Stop Windows From Asking How to Open a File

Applies to: Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Has Windows ever asked you how you want to open a file?

How to Open File

This notification comes up when you open a file that is supported by a newly installed application. It allows you to quickly switch the file type association and can be a helpful feature while you’re still setting up your computer. But once you have installed and configured all your favorite applications, the notification can turn into a nuisance. Here’s where you can find the group policy to disable it:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer > Do not show the ‘new application installed’ notification

Set the group policy setting to Enabled to never see this notification again.

2. Control the Lock Screen and Logon Image

Applies to: Windows 8.1, Windows 10

You can use Group Policies to adjust the look of your system across user accounts. This particular one controls the lock screen and logon image shown when no users is logged in. You can find it here:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization > Force a specific default lock screen and logon image

Enter the path to the desired lock screen image and click OK. You can also Turn off fun facts, tips, and more on lock screen.

Group Policy Lock Screen and Logon Image

This Group Policy can be used in combination with the “Prevent changing lock screen and login image” setting.

3. Enable Hibernate

Applies to: Windows 8.1, Windows 10

Hibernate is a power-efficient way to rest your computer Sleep Mode vs. Hibernate Mode: Which Power-Saving Mode Should You Use? Sleep Mode vs. Hibernate Mode: Which Power-Saving Mode Should You Use? What exactly does Sleep mode do? How is it different from Hibernate mode, which is an extra option on Windows computers? Which should you choose, and are there downsides to using them? Read More without losing the current user session. It cuts power to the CPU and RAM and transfers information stored in memory to your disk drive. Since Hibernation requires disk space the size of your RAM, it can be a challenge for smaller drives. It also increases write events to your drive, which isn’t favorable for solid state drives How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few decades, there has been a considerable amount of work in the field of computer hardware. While computer technology is constantly improving and evolving, rarely do we experience moments where we simply... Read More . Finally, the write process makes shutting down to and waking from Hibernation slower than Sleep or Standby. That’s why it’s hidden by default in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

That said, if you need to conserve power, but don’t want to shut your computer down, the Hibernate option is for you.

Power Hibernate

Use this Group Policy to bring up the Hibernate shutdown option in the Start Menu:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer Show hibernate in the power options menu

Enable this setting to get the view shown above.

4. Disable the Action Center

Applies to: Windows 10

The Action Center holds notifications from your system and various applications so that you won’t ever miss an important update or message. We have previously shown you how to customize and disable the Action Center How to Customize & Disable the Windows 10 Action Center How to Customize & Disable the Windows 10 Action Center The Windows 10 Action Center is a tool for power users. It collects all your important notifications and key system shortcuts in the Taskbar. We'll show you how to configure your Action Center to perfection. Read More using a registry tweak. You can do the same using a Group Policy and here’s where you can find it:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar > Remove Notifications and Action Center

Set the policy to Enabled to remove the Action Center from the notification area in your Taskbar. You have to reboot for the change to come into effect. Note that notifications will still be shown, but you won’t be able to review notifications you have missed.

5. Turn Off the Microsoft Consumer Experience

Applies to: Windows 10

The Microsoft Consumer Experience brings personalized recommendations and Microsoft account notifications to your desktop. This includes the installation of third-party applications, like Candy Crush, and live tiles in your Start Menu Tired of Bloatware? How to Purge Windows 10 Store Apps Tired of Bloatware? How to Purge Windows 10 Store Apps For Microsoft, Windows 10 is a cash machine. With future updates, more apps will be pre-installed and promoted on the Start Menu. Let us show you how to easily remove pre-installed Windows Store apps. Read More that link to third party apps in the Windows Store.

Windows 10 Start Menu Promoted Apps Anniversary Update

To turn off the Microsoft Consumer Experience, open the Local Group Policy Editor and follow this path:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Cloud Content > Turn off Microsoft consumer experiences

Turn Off Microsoft Consumer Experience

The feature is active when this setting is Not Configured or Disabled. Set it to Enabled to opt out of the Microsoft Consumer Experience.

3 Bonus Group Policy Tweaks

We have previously covered Windows customizations that depend on a Group Policy.

  1. You can block users from installing or running software How to Block Users from Installing Software on Your Windows Computer How to Block Users from Installing Software on Your Windows Computer "Resistance is futile...." is not something you'll want to hear from a PC. When too many people access your computer, it's best to restrict the Windows Installer. We show you how. Read More , either by disabling the Windows Installer or by blocking specific applications from running, including the Windows Installer.
  2. A Group Policy also lets you disable OneDrive, both in Windows 8.1 How to Disable Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 8.1 How to Disable Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 8.1 You should be free to choose where your data is being stored. While having an automatic cloud syncing solution is a great idea, maybe you don't like OneDrive. Here's how to disable it. Read More and Windows 10 How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10 How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10 OneDrive is deeply integrated in Windows 10 and Microsoft might tell you that removing it is not possible. Well, not unless you're willing to dig deep. We show you how to extract OneDrive from Windows... Read More .
  3. You can disable forced or scheduled restarts by Windows Update How to Disable Forced Restarts After a Windows Update How to Disable Forced Restarts After a Windows Update Are you tired of Windows hassling you to reboot your computer after updates were installed? Miss a pop-up and it reboots automatically. Stop this madness and reboot at your leisure. Read More using a Group Policy. If you’re running Windows 10, you should also look into the Group Policies to get notified before downloading updates and delaying updates 5 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 5 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe. In Windows 10 you're at the mercy of Microsoft's schedule, unless you know hidden settings and tweaks. We'll help you keep Windows Update under control. Read More , as well as to stop automatic driver updates Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10 Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10 A bad Windows driver can ruin your day. In Windows 10, Windows Update automatically updates hardware drivers. If you suffer the consequences, let us show you how to roll back your driver and block future... Read More .

Local Group Policy Editor

Level Up With Windows Group Policy

The Group Policy Editor is a treasure trove of powerful Windows settings Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows Can Do THIS? 15 Surprising Features You Had No Clue About Windows can do a lot more than you may think. Even if you're a veteran Windows user, I bet you'll discover a feature in our list that you never knew existed. Read More . Whatever you desire to change about your Windows setup, there’s probably a Group Policy. And now Home users have access to this playground too.

What is your favorite Group Policy setting? Is there something you’re still looking to find a setting for? Share and find answers in the comments!

  1. Matt McLeod
    October 22, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I still get the “MMC could not create snap-in” after following all steps :(
    I'm running Windows 10 Anniversary, if that makes any difference.

    • Tina Sieber
      October 23, 2016 at 10:48 am

      That sucks. I wrote this post before the Anniversary Update was released, but on the Insider Preview, so I was essentially already running the AU. Not sure what else you could try. Microsoft may have broken this method with updates in the meantime.

  2. bruce
    September 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    On some windows 10 installations, you have to browse to the correct path for gpedit.msc or it will not open. I think if Cortana is disabled, then the Run command defaults to your User Profile Folder. Gpedit.msc is usually found in C:\Windows\System 32\Group policy .. or in C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder .. You can also paste a copy of gpedit.msc into your User Folder so you do not need to navigate to it (or create a shortcut and put it on your Start Menu)

    • Tina Sieber
      September 18, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Thank you for the advice, Bruce! Pasting a copy of gpedit.msc in a more convenient location is a good idea.

  3. Robert
    June 30, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Tried to add Group Editor to Windows 10 Home but it appears the download link for gpedit.msc is no longer available at C:\Windows\Temp\gpedit. Is there another way? Thanks.

  4. Rachel Skiffington
    June 19, 2016 at 7:52 am

    That said, if you need to conserve power, but don’t want to shut your computer down, the Hibernate option is for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *