This is something I ran into a while back and has come in handy on several occasions.
For those who may be unaware (as I was before stumbling upon this trick), Windows maintains a local cache of all the group policy settings that are applied to that particular system. This cache can occasionally become corrupt or de-synchronized with the domain controller, which can cause a variety of issues including failure to apply new group policy settings or changes to existing policies. When this occurs, the quickest and easiest way that I’ve found to correct it is to clear and recreate this local cache.
To clear the local GPO cache, make sure you can view hidden files and folders and perform the following:
- Browse to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Group Policy\History (Windows 7 / Server 2008)
- Delete all of the contents under the History folder
- Open the command prompt and run GPUpdate /force
- Reboot the system
I initially came across this while troubleshooting a Windows 7 client that was flat out refusing to apply new Group Policy settings. After ruling out the new GPO itself by checking it for content errors, verifying that it was linked up to the proper OU in Active Directory, the link order was correct, and security filtering properly configured, I turned to the client for additional troubleshooting. A GPResult confirmed that the new GPO wasn’t being read and, other than some generic group policy errors, the Event Logs proved inconclusive. So I eventually turned to the web and come across this article on the Windows Server TechNet forums where someone mentioned attempting to clear the local GPO cache, which worked like a charm.