Where do I put my ADMX files?

6 06 2009

Note (4th May 2012): As this post proves to be ever popular, I have updated it to account for new developments and to provide a more general method of storing your ADMX files, especially on large networks. Please check out the new post: ADMX files, where to put them, and you – take 2.

ADMX files are the new form of ADM files, the format which defines what Group Policy settings set what registry changes when they are applied. With Microsoft’s move to XML-based file formats and alongside their release of the new Office 2007 file extensions (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX etc.) the ADM format was also upgraded to ADMX.

People familiar with ADM files would remember that in order to have Group Policy Editor read the ADM file and add the settings to the policy, they would need to Add the template. However, for ADMX files, you cannot add them via the Add/Remove Template wizard in Group Policy Editor, because they do not appear as an option to add.

Windows reads the ADMX files on the system from a pre-defined location, and that location is the only location on the system where you should place the ADMX files. It is %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions, where %systemroot% is normally C:\WINDOWS.

Any ADML files you receive with the ADMX files should be placed into a subfolder within PolicyDefinitions, named after their MUI ID. For example, a en-US ADML file would be placed into the directory %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions\en-US.

Once you have stored your ADMX files in their respective locations, it is simply a matter of restarting Group Policy Management Console for the files to appear in the Group Policy Editor.

It should be noted that any form of ADM/ADMX file only needs to be present on the machine where the policies are edited from. It does not need to be present on every machine on the network. The ADMX files simply link the GUI of the GPO Editor with the appropriate registry settings to make; the registry settings are simply stored and processed at each client where the GPO applies.




10 responses

11 06 2009
Mike Kline

Good article Matt, I remember being surprised seeing so many ADMX files the first time I went to the PolicyDefinitions folder.

Looks like you have also been very busy with that Exchange deployment. Hopefully you are getting some good overtime/$$$ from that job 🙂

Talk to you later


16 12 2010

I am fcaing the following error
” An appropriate resource file could not be found for file
C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\HP_MPP_4.3.6.admx (error = 2):
The system cannot find the file specified.”

Please help.

23 11 2011

Thank you so much for this article!

20 02 2012

thanks, worked a treat.

4 05 2012

If you are on a domain with multiple administrators, place ALL of your ADMX files and the language folders in the “\\\SYSVOL\\Policies\PolicyDefinitions” folder and they’ll be available on any machine that can run the GPMC. The policy files will synchronize onto all your Domain Controllers and can be centrally managed. GPMC will use the policy files in this location if it exists instead of the local machine.

4 05 2012

Hi Ron. Yes, indeed. Thanks for pointing that out. The CentralStore is certainly the way to go, and in fact, it’s the way I would now suggest (multiple DCs or not). Thank you for pointing this out. I will re-blog this post with some more info.


4 05 2012

Sorry, html parsing messed up the path the way I had it in my previous post:


4 05 2012
ADMX files, where to put them, and you – take 2 « Ramblings of an IT Consultant

[…] few years ago, I wrote a blog on the storage location of ADMX files. For Group Policy, these files are crucial, as they define the settings you see in […]

17 02 2013
ADMX File Location | cmckeeg

[…] After some quick searching, I found a blog post that answered my question – https://tigermatt.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/where-do-i-put-my-admx-files/ […]

13 05 2013

Sadly there doesn’t seem to be any way to replace or delete an admx file. The error is “You need permission to perform this action”. This is the case even for domain admins.

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