Group Policy Editor —
Start → Run
One of the few features found only in Windows XP Professional, the Group Policy Editor goes far beyond the Control Panel, affecting settings that most users have never even heard of. While it does offer a number of quick fixes, such as removing the Recycle Bin from the desktop, it’s not intended as a replacement for tools like TweakUI or third-party shareware applications. Instead, it gives a system administrator the ability to create security policies for both individual machines and users, quickly rolling them out across a network and relying on Windows XP for enforcement (see Figure 4-41).
Figure 4-41. The Group Policy Editor gives you complete administrator’s access to Windows XP’s deepest settings
Unlike the Registry, which presents its arcane settings in a mountain of folders and sub folders, the GPE’s options are shown in a handful of folders in (mostly) plain English, such as “Do not automatically start Windows Messenger initially” and “Rename Guest Account.” (And there are obscure ones as well, such as “Add Run in Separate Memory Space checkbox to Run dialog box.”) Although the presentation is different, most settings here are indeed implemented as changes to values and keys in your Registry.
Before applying any option that you don’t recognize, make sure you understand exactly what it will do ...