Windows

How to Search Group Policy for a Specific Setting in Windows 10 and Windows 11

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Group Policy Search

The Group Policy Editor is a tool that IT administrators can use on Windows 10 and 11 to modify advanced (system and app) settings to regulate and restrict the environment for users to adhere to organizational policies. Additionally, more experienced users frequently utilize the tool to modify the desktop environment by activating and removing specific features.

Although customizing advanced settings is made simple by the policy editor, Windows 10 and 11 have a huge number of policies that may be hard to locate if you don’t know where to look. But if you have to use the Group Policy Editor to change system settings and you’re unsure of the policy’s location or specific name, the console has a search function that lets you find almost any setting fast. To search for details about specific settings, you may also utilize the Microsoft Group Policy search website.

Other related guides on group policy: How to block upgrade to Windows 11 through Local Group Policy or Registry Editor from Windows 10, How to disable Lock Screen on Windows 10 via Local Group Policy Editor, How to prevent your computers from sending Diagnostics & feedback off via Windows Settings and Group Policy, Internet Explorer: How to disable IE via Group Policy or Windows Registry Settings and Unable to find File Explorer in the Group Policy Editor when resolving security tab missing under properties.

In this article, we’ll show you the various ways you can search for specific policies in the Group Policy Editor.

How to search Group Policy

A Group Policy Object can be accessed in several different ways. You can use any of the following methods:

  • Using Group Policy Filter on the computer
  • Using Group Policy Search Website
  • NIT-GPOSearch Tool
  • Offline Group Policy Sheet

How to search for a specific policy using Group Policy Filter

To find a specific or set of policies in Group Policy, use these steps:

  • Press Windows key + R key to open the Run dialog box and enter gpedit.msc to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
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Run dialog box
  • Under the “Computer Configuration” or “User Configuration” branch, right-click the topic you want to search (for example, Administrative Templates) and select Filter Options.
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Local Group Policy Editor
  • Select the type of policy settings to display, including ManagedConfigured, and Commented. Check the Enable Keyword Filters option.
  • In the “Filter for words field,” enter the search keyword(s) and the Any option selected. For example, “BitLocker” to all the available settings for BitLocker.
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Filter settings
  • If you want to narrow down the search, you can limit the search using the Within options, including Policy Setting TitleHelp Text, and Comment.
  • If you want, you can check the Enable Requirements Filters option.
  • Select the platform and application filters. For example, Windows 10 operating systems. And click the OK button.
  • Select the All Settings item from the left pane.
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All Settings Filter
  • Once you complete the steps, all the policies matching the search query will appear on the right side, which you can then open to edit as necessary. If you want to remove the filter, right-click the All Settings, and select the Filter On option, or close the Group Policy Editor.
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Remove All Settings Filter

However, you can keep choosing the Filter On option to repeatedly run the same find query as long as you don’t reset the filters on the “Filter Options” tab.

How to search for a specific policy using a group policy search website

Microsoft also hosts a website in the Azure cloud that includes an up-to-date database with all the available policies for various products, including Windows 10.

To search for a policy on the Microsoft website, use these steps:

Visit the Group Policy Search website. Type a keyword or phrase (for example, BitLocker) in the search box and press Enter. Scroll right, and under the “Search result” column, select the category containing the policy (if applicable).

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Group Policy Website

Select the policy from the middle to learn more about the policy, including its path in the Group Policy Editor.

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Although the website is useful, you have to have an idea of the policy you want, since the result may include settings for various products, including for Windows, Windows Server, and Office, among others.

How to search for a specific policy using NIT-GPOSearch Tool

It is a free tool with a significant benefit. Additionally, it can show the registry keys for a policy. Every Group Policy has a registry entry and knowing both the policy’s registry entry and the policy itself may be quite helpful.

Launch the program from the application menu after installation. There will be a search bar available for you to enter the policy’s description. It will search C:\Windows\Policy Definitions for the policy name. This folder contains all the policies in admx and adml format.

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NIT-GPOSearch tool

A preview will appear when you hover over each one and will provide additional information about the policy. Overall, it’s a great solution, but give some time for the search because it might be a bit slow.

How to search for a specific policy using the Group Policy Reference Sheet

Microsoft offers an official Excel sheet with all the policies for its supported Windows versions in addition to the online database. The Excel spreadsheet is available for free download from the Microsoft website and may even be carried about. When you don’t have access to the Internet or it is restricted, this strategy is really useful. The Excel file includes all the information, including policy explanation, target registry key, policy scope, etc., just like the online database does.

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GPO Reference Sheet

Use the regular keyboard shortcut CTRL + F keyword to find a specific policy. 

Conclusion

There you have it, all the methods to quickly sort through the group policy editor. I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

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