A note on Group Policy and gpudate

When I first started learning about Active Directory, Group Policy always seemed very fickle. Sometimes I could run GPUpdate, other times I had to append the /force option.

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As it turned out, Group Policy was always working –  I just didn’t understand it. So what’s the difference between GPUpdate and GPUpdate /force? Well –

GPUpdate: Applies any policies that is new or modified

GPUpdate /force: Reapplies every policy, new and old.

So which one should I use? 99% of the time, you should only run gpupdate. If you just edited a GPO and want to see results immediately, running gpupdate will do the trick. In fact, running GPUpdate /force on a large number of computers could adversely affect network resources. This is because these machines will hit a domain controller and reevaluate every GPO applicable to them.

Notice the Group Policy Update option for OUs:

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