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I have a question related to group policy preferences for file copying and their processing order w.r.t. parent/child OUs.

Background: I have an application that needs a “default” configuration file (binary) copied down for most of our domain. I also have a few departments that need their own versions of the same file with slightly modified custom settings per-department. Each department has their own child OU. Periodically I may need to change one or both the default or department-specific files in no specific sequence.

Question: Can I create a GPP that sits in the parent/root OU that copies this “default” config file for every department–except for those departments that need their own custom config file (they get their own)? Example:
    MyApp-copy-config-default (\\server\share\MyApp\config-default –> C:\MyApp\config.txt)
        MyApp-copy-config-department1 (\\server\share\MyApp\config-default-department1 –> C:\MyApp\config.txt)
        MyApp-copy-config-department2 (\\server\share\MyApp\config-default-department2 –> C:\MyApp\config.txt)

Concern: I don’t know the order of how these file-copies get processed. I’ve always understood that a deeper-linked GPO will overrule any parent GPO. But this is GPP and not really a GPO. I assume it’s a single client side extension (CSE) that processes all relevant GPP “file” objects of all relative GPOs at the same time. So my concern is the ORDER in which the “file” tasks are completed. Is the CSE smart enough to process parent OU file tasks first and the deepest OU file tasks last? My ultimate concern is that depending on when the GPOs are created/modified or the order they are delivered to the clients by the domain controller, the DEFAULT file copy might happen after the DEPARTMENT-specific ones leaving those few departments with the default config instead of the one they need.

I know I can lab this up and just test it. But that doesn’t really tell me if something out of my control will ultimately break this concept. Or if there’s a better way to accomplish my end goal, please let me know.

FYI: Most of my file copies use “replace” and use the “apply once and do not reapply” setting so as to not continuously copy/overwrite the file unnecessarily. Whenever I’ve had to make changes to the source file on the server, I’ve always unchecked “apply once and do not reapply”, saved the GPO, then re-checked it again, forcing that GPP to copy the file ‘one more time’ per client.



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Reply with quote  #2 

Hey Scott-
I answered this on the gpoguy forum but essentially, you are in good shape with this approach. The order of precedence does happen the way you suggest and so the correct version of the file should be laid down as you get closer to the target.


Darren Mar-Elia
MS-Group Policy MVP
Founder--SDM Software (
Need Group Policy Training? Check out my Group Policy Fundamentals course:

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Darren!  Sorry for the cross-posting; I wasn't sure which GP forums were still in use or abandoned.  [wink]
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