This post demonstrates how to apply a Windows 2012 R2 Domain GPO to a standalone Windows 2012 R2 server that is not in the domain. For this example, I’ll use the Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) lock downs I applied using a domain GPO.

This process also worked when I applied the 2012 R2 IE policy to a standalone Windows 7 Enterprise workstation.

1) Launch Group Policy Management on the Domain Controller. Browse to the policy you want to apply to the standalone servers (in my case IE11), right-click it and select Backup. Save it to a location of your choice and give it a description, such as IE11 GPO.

2) Download and install Microsoft SCM 3.0 (not on your domain controller). I just built a VM since SCM is only needed temporarily. I was only able to get it fully installed without errors on Windows 2008 R2. It supposedly supports Vista through 2012. I opted to install the bundled SQL Express since all I want is the LocalGPO executable. No need to point to a SQL server. You can uninstall the whole thing when done. The only reason to install the full package is so you can get a copy of the LocalGPO folder. Download it from:

Security Compliance Manager (SCM) Info:

Download page:

a) When done downloading, double-click the Security_Compliance_Manager_Setup.exe > click Run > deselect Always check for SCM baseline updates (you don’t care about them right now) and click Next > accept the license and click Next > Next > Next > accept the SQL Express license and click Next > Install > Finish. The app will auto-load the baselines. Just let it finish.

b) When done installing, browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Security Compliance Manager. Copy the LocalGPO folder to a location of your choice. You will need to install the executable in this folder on each standalone server that will receive the Domain GPO.

5) Login as a local admin on the server to receive the GPO. Install LocalGPO on your standalone server. When done, browse to the C:\Program Files (x86)\LocalGPO folder, right-click LocalGPO.wsf, select Properties, select the Security tab and give your admin user full control of the file.

6) Create a folder on this server called c:\gpos. Copy your IE11 GPO backup folder into the c:\gpos folder.

7) Edit the LocalGPO.wsf file to recognize 2012 R2 (Windows 2012 R2 is version 6.3). Open C:\Program Files (x86)\LocalGPO\LocalGPO.wsf in notepad (right-click > Edit). Search for 6.2. On the first instance of 6.2, change it to 6.3.

From this: If(Left(strOpVer,3) = “6.2”) and (strProductType <> “1”) then

To this: If(Left(strOpVer,3) = 6.3) and (strProductType <> “1”) then

8) The Windows Firewall must be running temporarily before you run this tool. Even though you may have disabled the firewall and use a third-party product like McAfee Firewall, etc., turn on the native Windows firewall in the services.msc applet now.

9) Click start (lower left corner), and then Search icon in the upper right. Enter LocalGPO. Right-click LocalGPO Command line and select Run as Administrator. Before you run the next command, close all Windows except the cmd prompt.

Enter this command:

> cscript localgpo.wsf /path:”C:\gpos\{A81C84F4-F8F5-4E8A-B077-9EA1471B3886}”

– note: your IE11 GPO backup folder name inside c:\gpos will be different. Just add your folder name in the command above.

You should see Applied valid Machine POL and Applied valid User POL. No valid audit or INF is OK.

10) Clean up after yourself. Uninstall LocalGPO if you don’t plan to use it again. Delete the gpo backup in c:\gpos.

You can run > gpupdate /force or reboot the server to apply the policy completely.

11 Verify that it applied the policy. Launch IE11 and verify your settings are locked down. Note that on a fresh system, you  may have to launch IE and then immediately close it. Launch it again and the lock downs will be set. Sometimes it takes two startups for the settings to apply. Not sure why. If you had the Windows firewall turned off, open services.msc and disable it.