Group Policy Quick Tip – Group Policy Refresh Interval For Computers

If you’re using the default settings, Group Policy refreshes on computers and servers (but not Domain Controllers) every 90 minutes with a random offset of 0 to 30 minutes.  But, what if that schedule doesn’t work in your environment?  Then you change it Group Policy!

Why would you want to set this policy?

  • In most cases, the default Group Policy setting for refresh interval is something you probably won’t want to touch.  However, if you’re in an environment where the Group Policy is changed or tweaked a lot (like a test environment), it can be helpful to get the changes to the clients without having to constantly run gpupdate.
  • This setting can also be useful if you’re planning on implementing major changes to your Group Policy.  By setting the refresh interval to a lower number, you can more easily roll back changes if your end users run into problems with the new policies without having to instruct the end users to run gpupdate.

Where is the policy located?

  • Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Group Policy > Group Policy refresh interval for computers

Configurable Options

  • How often Group Policy is refreshed in minutes
  • Random time added the refresh interval in minutes (to prevent all clients from trying to refresh Group Policy at the same time)

Supported Operating Systems/Software

  • Windows 2000 and up

Gotchas and Other Considerations

  • The policy only applies to computer accounts in Active Directory and does not apply to Domain Controllers.
  • If you set this policy too low, I’ve seen situations where end users can see a noticeable screen flicker.  One caveat with the screen flicker is that I haven’t personally


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