2 ways to reset Local Group Policy in Windows 10

There is no direct option to reset Group Policy in Windows 10 or even in earlier versions of Windows.

If you keep on applying group policies, it becomes difficult to keep track of what policies you have applied on your computer.

In this article, we will discuss how to identify which policies have been applied and how to reset them to set your system to a default state.

Please note that if you are using Windows 10 Home, you will need to install the Group Policy editor for Windows 10 Home.

What are Group Policies used for?

Group policies are used to change system settings according to the user’s needs. Different group policy objects can be applied to different users.

There are two types of group policies:

  • Local Group Policy
  • Domain Group Policy

Using local group policy, you can make changes to the local system settings. The scope of local group policy is the local users of that specific computer. You can either apply group policy objects using local computer policy or using local user policy.

Domain group policy is applied from the Windows Server Active Directory Domain Controller to computers connected to that domain. These are network wide policies which are normally handled by sysadmins.

How to check which Group Policies are applied?

There are two ways to know what policies have been applied to your computer, or your user.

Check applied Group Policies using Resultant Set of Policy

The most convenient way of checking what local policies are applied to your user or computer is through the Resultant Set of Policy (RSOP). This tool is very much similar to the Group Policy Editor, the only catch is that it does not allow you to edit the policies.

Moreover, the plus side is that it only lists the policies that have been applied or altered, while disappearing all the others, so the user does not need to go through each and every policy.

Head on to Run and type in rsop.msc.

Once the scan is complete, which usually takes about 10 seconds, the RSOP window shall open. From here, you can navigate between the different folders on the left to see which of the policies have been altered and what their configuration is in the right pane.

rsop

Double-clicking the policy will open its Properties window, but the settings will be grayed out and cannot be edited.

properties

Check applied Group Policies using the Command Prompt

Another way to check for the applied Group Policies on the local computer or your user is through the Command Prompt. the gpresult is a useful command to be used with the correct parameters to provide the relevant information. However, like the RSOP, it is only to display the information and cannot be used to change the settings.

  1. Open Command Prompt window with administrative privileges. Here is how you can always run the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Enter the following command to see which policies are applied:
    • For computer policies:
      gpresult /Scope Computer /v
    • For user policies:
      gpresult /Scope User /v
  3. Scroll down and you will find the applied policies under Resultant Set of Policies.
    cmd 1

How to Reset Local Group Policy in Windows 10

Now that you know what policies have been applied, you can reset them to their default configurations either one by one or all altogether. Note that this will only work if the policies are applied locally and not applied through a Domain Controller.

Reset local Group Policies through Group Policy Editor

The default setting of all policies is set to “Not configured.” This will be our identification approach; any policies that are set to “Enabled” or “Disabled” will need to be set to “Not Configured” one by one. This may be a long approach but can be used for selective resetting.

  1. Launch the Group Policy Editor by typing in gpedit.msc in Run.
  2. From the left pane, navigate to the following:
    • For computer policies:
      Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> All Settings
    • For user policies:
      User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> All Settings
  3. In the right pane, click on the State column to change the sorting order.
    gpedit state
  4. You can now change the configuration of each policy one by one by double-clicking them and selecting Not Configured. Then click on Apply and Ok.
    gpedit not conf
  5. Repeat the last step for each policy you wish to reset.
  6. To enforce the changes made, type in gpupdate /force in the Command Prompt and press Enter.

If you wish to reset all policies to their default state, follow on to the next step.

Reset local Group Policies using Command Prompt

This strategy resets all Group Policies applied to your computer as it involves deleting the folder which contains the set policies. Don’t worry, as the folder is regenerated with the default value automatically.

  1. Run the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Enter the following commands, one after the other:
    RD /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicy"
    RD /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers"
  3. Now enter gpupdate /force. This will enforce the change while generating a new folder for the policies.

You can now check that all Group Policies have reverted to their default state by any one of the means mentioned above.

How to clear or remove domain applied group policy settings

To reset domain applied group policies, you will need to detach the system from the domain first. To remove your system from the domain, go to Run –> systempropertiescomputername. This will open the computer properties window.

Click on the Change button and then select Workgroup instead of the domain.

Change domain properties
Change domain properties

Please make sure you have the local administrator username and password as you will need to login via local credentials once you are removed from the domain.

Restart the system once done.

On the next boot, the domain applied group policies will no longer be effective.

Closing words

The Group Policy Editor is a cool utility to manage your computer for yourself and others who use it, but only if you know what you are doing. Sometimes going too far requires a reset of the policies, such as the ones we have shown.

If you only wish to revert selective policies to their default state, you should adopt the Group Policy Editor method. However, to save time and effort, simply run the commands in the Command Prompt to reset all of the policies.

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