How to Reset Group Policy Settings in Windows

How To Reset Group Policy Settings In Windows

The Group Policy Editor is a very handy tool built into Windows 10 or 11 Professional, Enterprise, and Education, to control many advanced aspects of access and function for other users. This may include the kinds of programs people can access, the icons available on their desktops, or even basic things like enabling or disabling Aero Shake as a means of minimizing windows. As useful as it is, maybe you’ve previously created a Group Policy and want to reset it and start fresh. If so, read on.

Good to know: learn how to back up your registry in Windows.

1. Reset Individual Group Policy Settings

If you’ve only made a couple of changes, then you can reset the Group Policy settings individually. This can be done via the Local Group Policy Editor.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and open a “Run” dialog.
Clicking on "Run" from the WinX menu.
  1. Type gpedit.msc and click “OK” to access the Local Group Policy Editor.
Typing "gpedit.msc" in Run window.
  1. From the “Local Computer Policy” section on the left, expand “Computer Configuration,” open “Administrative Templates,” and select “All Settings.”
Opening "All Settings" folder from "Local Computer Policy."
  1. Double-click the Group Policy that you wish to reset.
Clicking the group policy that needs to be reset.
  1. Tick the “Not Configured” option, then hit “Apply -> OK” to save the changes.
Selecting "Not configured" option for targeted group policy.
  1. Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.
Clicking on "Restart" to reboot computer.
  1. You can repeat the same steps for another Group Policy and reset everything one by one.

Tip: need to access BIOS on your PC? Learn several ways to do it.

2. Bulk Reset Group Policy Settings

If you are not sure which policies you’ve changed or when there are too many changes and it is not feasible to find and change them one at a time, you can just delete the folders where the policy settings are stored. This will bulk reset the group policy settings to their default values. You can use Windows Terminal to do this. By the way, if Windows Terminal is not opening for you, you can take these steps to fix it.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and open “Windows Terminal (Admin).”
Clicking on "Windows Terminal (Admin) from WinX menu.
  1. Paste the following command line into PowerShell and press Enter:
RD /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicyUsers"
Executing command in PowerShell.
  1. Execute one more command in PowerShell:
RD /S /Q "%WinDir%\System32\GroupPolicy"
Executing secondary command in PowerShell.
  1. End with this and press Enter:
gpupdate.exe /force
Executing final command in PowerShell.
  1. Reboot your computer to apply the changes.
Clicking "Restart"' button on Windows.

3. Reset Local Security Policy Settings with Windows Terminal

Resetting the Local Security Policy settings can be a good idea to ensure no misconfigurations remain in this part of the system.

These settings are in a separate console, and you can reset them using Windows Terminal with administrative rights.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and open “Windows Terminal (Admin).”
Clicking on "Windows Terminal (Admin) from WinX menu.
  1. Type the following command line into PowerShell and press Enter:
secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose
Executing command in Windows PowerShell.
  1. Reboot your computer so that the changes will take effect.
Clicking "Restart"' button on Windows.

Tip: getting a “This installation is forbidden by system policy” error on your Windows PC? Learn what to do about it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I manually refresh Group Policies?

You must refresh Group Policies after you’ve edited a Group Policy Object (GPO) to save the new configurations. To do so, enter gpupdate.exe /force into a Command Prompt and press Enter, then reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

Why do I get "gpedit.msc not found" in a Windows error message?

If you or someone else reconfigured the Local Group Policy incorrectly, there’s a good chance it’s the main reason you are seeing this error message when trying to open the Group Policy Editor in Windows. Try using the methods described in this guide to reset your policy.

Malicious software is another possible reason behind the “gpedit.msc not found” error. Make sure that you have an antivirus active on your PC, even if it’s just Windows’s built-in Defender.

Note that third-party programs are not always safe to use. Sometimes they can cause conflicts with the Local Group Policy and result in data corruption. Therefore, if you’ve installed a program recently, uninstall it.

If you’ve recently installed your Windows operating system and are getting this error, you may have had an incorrect Windows installation.

How do I force Windows to update Group Policy?

Once inside the Group Policy Editor, enter “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components.” You can now access “Windows Updates -> Configure Automatic Updates” and activate “Install updates for other Microsoft products.”

Image credit: Pexels. All screenshots by Farhad Pashaei.

Farhad Pashaei
Farhad Pashaei

As a technophile, Farhad has spent the last decade getting hands-on experience with a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, accessories, wearables, printers, and so on. When he isn’t writing, you can bet he’s devouring information on products making their market foray, demonstrating his unquenchable thirst for technology.

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