Although Windows 10 has been around since October 2014, and publicly available since July 29, 2015, it wasn’t until June 16, 2016, that this OS picked up support in Microsoft’s Advanced Group Policy Management facility, aka AGPM. New version AGPM 40SP3 supports Win10 all right, and brings the same features to Windows Admins that previous versions brought to Windows 8.1, 8, 7, and even Vista. But wait, there’s a catch: only customers with an active Software Assurance agreement with Microsoft can use this cool tool. That’s because AGPM is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (aka MDOP), and only customers who sign up for Software Assurance get access to MDOP and its warehouse of tools and consoles.
AGPM brings formal change control and workflow mechanisms to GPO creation and maintenance.
[Source: MS Step-by-Step Guide for AGPM 4.0]
If AGPM 40SP3 Supports Win10, What Else Can It Do?
Besides bringing Windows 10 under the AGPM umbrella, Service Pack 3 (SP3) for the tool also adds the following capabilities:
- Support for PowerShell cmdlets, as documented in the TechNet Library pages entitled Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack Automation with Windows PowerShell. These include tools to add, get, lock, publish, remove, and unlock controlled GPOs to/from an APGM archive.
- Hotfix and update rollup: the service pack includes a rollup of all fixes to APGM up to and including APGM 4.0 SP2, along with fixes for any issues provided since the release of that prior service pack.
- APGM Client and Server may now be upgraded without having to re-enter configuration parameters. This is called a Smart Upgrade and can save time and effort (re-entry is called a Classic Upgrade). However, only some versions can handle the Smart Upgrade (4.0, 4.0 SP1, 4.0 SP2, and 4.0 SP3 to be specific; see the Table labeled AGPM 4.0 SP3 Supported Upgrades for details).
APGM also comes with a pretty hefty set of components, including .NET Framework 4.5.1, PowerShell 3.0, and the Global Policy Management Console (GPMC). If any of these components is missing, you can’t install APGM on Windows 10 (GPMC and .NET 3.5.1 must also be enabled as well). There’s a lot of great functionality for managing and maintaining Group Policy Objects in the APGM, though, so enterprises or organizations moving toward or using Windows 10 will want to investigate further. Those unfamiliar with the APGM will also want to consult its Step-by-Step Guide at TechNet.