Case of the Group Policy Multiple-Language Overload

I had a colleague ask me “What is with all these languages in Group Policy Results?”

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Unfortunately this was in Windows XP land and being in Windows 7 so long my memory obviously had a few holes and couldn’t remember exactly where XP got the group policy languages from. I knew in Windows 7 it was simply from %windir%\PolicyDefinitions folder. Multiple languages would be contained in subfolders i.e. en-US, etc.

So without direct access to the machine I asked the colleague to take a ProcMon log when running the Resultant set of Policy. I love to start investigations with ProcMon, even before a Google or Bing Search because I always end up learning something new about Windows or an Application when I use ProcMon. I did remember enough about XP to know that instead of .ADMX files .ADM files where used, so I immediately set my ProcMon (http://live.sysinternals.com/ProcMon.exe) to include items where Path Ends With .Adm. Because this still showed a lot of file operations on the same file I then right clicked a CreateFile in the operations and selected Include ‘CreateFile’

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This gave me a very clean list of items to look at. ProcMon is the most useful diagnostic tool for resolving Windows issues, but filtering is essential so you don’t get overwhelmed with irrelevant data. Looking at the log we see some ADMs that don’t quite match the pattern, they end in numbers.

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It is useful to know the LCIDs (Locale IDs) for any common languages you work with when in Windows XP. 1033 being the “locale ID” for US English. A full list is available here:

Locale IDs Assigned By Microsoft

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/goglobal/bb964664

Windows XP Languages

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/goglobal/ff678781

Removing all .ADM files that didn’t end in the required language (i.e everything except AER_1033.adm to leave US English) removed the multiple languages. It is important to note that these .adm files are not required on the local machine for domain group policies to take affect, it is only required when administering and viewing the group policy. If .adm files are stored centrally on SysVol folder then they will sync back to the local machine (unless this feature of Windows has been disabled through Group Policy)

As these ADM files can also be replicated to the client from the domain controllers refer to Recommendations for managing Group Policy administrative template (.adm) files http://support.microsoft.com/kb/816662 for more information

For those lucky enough to be out of XP land I’ll end with an article on how to ensure any custom .ADMX files you’ve created are available for editing across from any machine in the environment

How to create a Central Store for Group Policy Administrative Templates in Window Vista

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929841

About chentiangemalc

specializes in end-user computing technologies. disclaimer 1) use at your own risk. test any solution in your environment. if you do not understand the impact/consequences of what you're doing please stop, and ask advice from somebody who does. 2) views are my own at the time of posting and do not necessarily represent my current view or the view of my employer and family members/relatives. 3) over the years Microsoft/Citrix/VMWare have given me a few free shirts, pens, paper notebooks/etc. despite these gifts i will try to remain unbiased.
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