How to Search Group Policy for a Specific Setting, Policy, or Object

Can’t find the policy, object, or setting in your Group Policy Editor? Here’s a simple way to search Group Policy to find the setting or policy your so desperately looking for.

Group Policy is one of the best things in Windows. It allows you to configure many advanced settings with just a couple of clicks. Just open the relevant policy, select appropriate options and you are done. The thing is, there are so many policies and settings to go through in Group Policy Editor. Unless you know the exact name of the policy you are looking for, it is hard to find a setting in Group Policy. This is especially true when you have no idea where to find the policy you are looking for.

That is where this post comes into play. Personally, I play with a lot of policy settings and registry edits on a daily basis. As such, I found some simple ways to search Group Policy so that I don’t have to dig around 100’s of folders just to get to the policy I want to modify.

Ways to Search Group Policy

There are two main methods to search for a specific setting in Group Policy. The first method uses the built-in Group Policy Filter options. The second method makes use of the official Group Policy web service which has a search function. Both methods work just fine, follow the one you are interested in.

1. Use Built-in Filter to Search Group Policy Setting

Though many don’t know, Group Policy Editor has a built-in Filter functionality that lets you search for any specific setting in Group Policy. The good thing about this method is that it gives you great control over how you search using filter parameters.

1. Open Group Policy Editor by searching for “Edit group policy” in the start menu.

2. You will see six folders on the left panel. Right-click on any folder and select “Filter options”.

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3. Now, select the “Enable keywords filters” checkbox, type a keyword or name of the policy and click the “Ok” button.

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4. As soon as you click the button, the filter function will search for that specific keyword and lists them on the right panel. If there are multiple settings with the same keyword, they are listed according to their sub-folders.

Search-group-policy-in-windows-filter-results

To narrow down the search, play with the filter parameters. For instance, you can make the filter look only at the policy names. If you are searching for a recently configured policy then you can select “Yes” from the drop-down menu under the “Configured” option, etc.

2. GPSearch Webservice

In addition to the built-in filter option, there is also a dedicated and official web service called GP Search.

1. First, head over to this website and type the keyword or policy name in the top search bar. In my case, I want to find a policy relating to Cortana. So, I entered the keyword in the search bar.

Search-group-policy-in-windows-gpsearch-keyboard

2. Depending on your query, it can take a couple of seconds to show the results. Your results will appear at the bottom of the left panel. Select the policy and you will see all policy details and options on the right panel.

Search-group-policy-in-windows-gpsearch-results

The best thing about GPSearch is that it even shows what registry keys are affected and how they are affected in the same right panel.

Keep in mind that using GPSearch you can only find policies related to production-ready Windows versions. i.e, you cannot find Windows Insider only policies because they are not yet production or consumer ready.

Wrapping Up

That is all. It is that simple to search Group Policy in Windows. Though I’ve shown this in Windows 10, the same steps can be followed in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

If you like this article, do check out how to backup Group Policy in Windows.

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