How to restrict access to the control panel using Group Policy

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These steps restrict access to the control panel using Group Policy on an individual computer, but not through a domain controller. This is practical if you only have a few computers in the network.

  1. Open an MMC:
    • If using Windows 8 or above, right-click on the Windows Start icon, select run, type MMC, and press enter
    • If using Windows 7 or below, left-click on the Windows Start icon, select run, type MMC, and press enter
  2. Select File > Add/Remove snap-in
  3. In the list of Available snap-ins, select Group Policy Object Editor and select Add
  4. In the Welcome to the Group Policy Wizard pop-up box, select Browse
  5. Select the Users tab
  6. Highlight Administrator and select OK
  7. Select Finish
  8. Select OK
  9. Expand Local Computer\\Administrator Policy > User Configuration > Administrative Templates, and select Control Panel
  10. Double-click Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings
  11. In the Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings pop-up box, select Enabled
  12. Select OK

Now, Administrator accounts will be able to access the Control Panel, and non-Administrator accounts will not be allowed access to the Control Panel.

If you have a large number of computers in the network, this is impractical and would be better done on in Active Directory:

Create a new Group Policy Object (GPO):

  1. In Server Manager, select Tools > Group Policy Management
  2. In Group Policy Management, right-click on Group Policy Objects > New
  3. In the New GPO pop-up box, let's name the GPO ControlPanel and select OK

Configure the GPO to restrict access to the Control Panel:

  1. Right-click on the ControlPanel GPO and select Edit
  2. Expand User Configuration > Administrative Templates, and select Control Panel
  3. Right-click on Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings and select Edit
  4. In the Prohibit access to Control Panel and PC settings pop-up box, select Enabled and select OK

We can now apply this GPO to another object. For example, if we have a Sales OU, we could right-click on the Sales OU, select Link an Existing GPO, and select the ControlPanel GPO.



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