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The things that are better left unspoken

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KnowledgeBase: ADM files are not present in SYSVOL in the GPMC Infrastructure Status option

knowledgebaseWindows Server 2012 introduces a new Group Policy feature: ‘Infrastructure Status’. This feature is present in the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) on Windows Server 2012 and in the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) package for Windows 8, and introduces a Status tab for the domain level.

This tab is shown in the screenshot below:

Status Tab on the Domain level in the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) in Windows Server 2012 (click for original screenshot)

The situation

When you use the Detect Now button, you might continually see an error on the Status tab, stating that Domain Controllers report ‘replication in progress’ as in the screenshot below:

Replication in Progress errors on the Status Tab on the Domain level in the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) in Windows Server 2012 (click for original screenshot)

Additionally, when you examine the system volume (SYSVOL) shares on the domain controllers in the environment, you notice that administrative template (ADM) files are not present in the system volume (SYSVOL) shares on the domain controllers, except on the Domain Controller holding the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) emulator Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) role.

The cause

Additional examination shows that SYSVOL was previously configured by an administrator to filter out ADM files in order to minimize the size of system volumes on Domain Controllers and/or reduce the number of files and amount of data that must be replicated between Domain Controllers, as described in Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 813338.

The GPMC Infrastructure Status option does not examine files in SYSVOL by type or capability and does not follow customized File Replication Service (FRS) or Distributed File Service Replication (DFSR) filtering rules. Any file count, hash, or security differences in the SYSVOL Policies folder contents between domain controllers are flagged as "replication in progress."

This behavior is by design.

The workaround

There are several ways to work around this behavior:

If your environment no longer contains Windows XP client, Windows Server 2003 Member servers, Windows Server 2003 Domain Controllers or domain-joined earlier versions of Windows and Windows Server, and you haven’t created or imported non-Microsoft custom ADM files, you can delete the existing ADM files from the System volume (SYSVOL) on the Domain Controller holding the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) emulator Flexible Single Master Operations (FSMO) role.

Depending on your needs you can create a centralized ADMX store together with filters or use local copies of ADMX files (This is the default behavior.) 

If the error on the Status tab bothers you in environments that still contain Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 member servers, you can switch to another tool to check for replication status (do not use gpotool.exe) or remove the previously applied filters, and let ADM files replicate to all Domain Controllers.

Related KnowledgeBase articles

How to minimize SYSVOL size by removing administrative templates (.adm files)  
ADM files are not present in SYSVOL in the GPMC Infrastructure Status option 

Further reading

Group Policy in Windows Server 2012: Infrastructure Status 
What’s new with Group Policy in Windows 8 
Group Policy in Windows Server 2012: Overview 
TechNet - What's New in Group Policy 
3 ways Windows Server 2012 makes Group Policy easier 
Windows 8 Group Policy changes – Part 1

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