Convert ADM to ADMX Files and Use Group Policy in Vista

As Microsoft have released the new policy template, ADMX with with Vista – it’s about time I looked into converting our Centaur Systems policy template to the new ADMX format to see how the process goes.

Thanks to the ADMX Editor available from Microsoft, the process is quite straight-forward.

  1. Install and run the ADMX editor
  2. Click ‘Generate ADMX from ADM…
    ADMX Editor with an ADMX file loaded
  3. Click ‘Yes’ to load the new ADMX file into the editor.
    Load ADMX file dialog
  4. Finally, select your new ADMX file and click ‘Save As…’
    ADXM Editor

The editor will save two files. One will be your ADMX file, and another will be a language file (ADML). This contains the strings that you have used in the ADM file.


Now, if you want to use the ADMX files over a Windows 2000 / 2003 network, then that’s no problem either!

  1. Open the SYSVOL share on a domain controller (preferably the PDC-emulator role if you have multiple servers)
  2. Open the Policies folder and create a new folder called PolicyDefinitions
  3. Copy your ADMX files to the new folder (and the ones from %systemroot%\policydefinitions if you want to include the standard Vista ADMX files)
  4. Copy the relevant language files into a subfolder (in my case that’s en-US)

As soon as these policies are available over the network, Windows Vista will ignore the local ADMX files and get system values from the server copies instead. Woo!