I have been teaching a lot of Windows 7 courses lately. One of the topics that always seems to generate a lot of questions is “How do I administer a Windows 7 client using group policy when we are currently in a Server 2003 or 2008 environment?”
In essence the answer is that you are going to use a Windows 7 client and the new Remote Server Administration Tool (RSAT) for Windows 7. The RSAT replaces the AdminToolPak that was available for Windows XP. There are two different versions: RSAT x86 and RSAT x64.
Once you have the update downloaded and installed, the features will need to be enabled. This can be done by going into Programs and Features control panel option and choosing Turn Windows features on or off which is found in the left navigation panel.
Once in the Windows features dialogue box, expand the Remote Server Administration Tools node and the Feature Administration Tools node to find Group Policy Management Tool specifically. If you are an administrator that needs access to DHCP, DNS, etc then add those tools as well.
Once the feature update has completed, the administrator has the ability to get at the console either from Administrative Tools option in the control panel or through creating a new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and adding the appropriate Snap-In’s.
Now I have the ability to administer Group Policies to not only Windows 7 clients but also Vista and XP. Now you can start working on understanding what all the Group Policy Objects are that are new in Windows 7. Which leads me to another great resource that is available for administrators. Microsoft has made available an Excel spreadsheet that contains all known Group Policies for everything from Windows XP/Server 2003 to Windows 7 / Server 2008 R2. Download from here.