How to use group policy to set a time zone

Written by stuart withers Google
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How to use group policy to set a time zone
You can use Group Policy to restrict access to your time zone settings. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Windows computers ask you to enter date and time settings, including your time zone, during the initial set-up of your laptop or PC. Correctly configuring the time zone settings allows your Windows computer and software programs to perform as they should, as well as the accurate updating of any regular time changes, such as Daylight Savings. If your time zone settings are changed then the performance of some of your programs may be compromised. Luckily, you can use the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) to control who has access to your time zone settings.

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The GPMC is part of the Microsoft Management Console and is directly integrated into all modern Windows operating systems. It is a scriptable console that is not only easy to access and use, it’s also a handy administrative tool that can solely be used to manage Group Policy. GPMC was designed to simplify Group Policy and unite the various Group Policy functionalities on the Active Directory into a single console. Administrators can easily use the GPMC console to manage a whole host of Group Policy settings.

Setting the time zone

To begin with, you want to ensure you have the correct time zone. With your desktop up and running, click on the clock in the lower right-hand corner. This will open the “date and time settings” window. Using the date and time settings window, click the blue “change date and time settings” link at the bottom. Under the “time zone” section, click the “change time zone” button. Now select the correct time zone from the drop down list. Click “OK” to save your settings and close the window. Click “OK” on the previous window to close the date and time settings.

Opening up GPMC

The GPMC can be easily accessed right from your desktop. To open GPMC, all you have to do is click on the Windows logo button in the lower left hand corner of your desktop. Using the “search programs and files” search bar that appears at the bottom, type in “gpedit.msc” and then press the “enter” button on your keyboard to open up the GPMC. From here you can edit many policies and user rights settings, including time zone settings.

Restricting access

The last thing you want is people unexpectedly changing your time zone. So, with GPMC open, use the left menu titled “computer configuration” and scroll down until you find the “Windows settings” folder. Double click this folder to open it. Look for the “security settings” folder and again double click to open. In the “security settings” folder you will see another folder titled “local policies.” Open this folder by double-clicking it and then double-click on the folder titled “user rights assignment.” In this folder you will see many different policies. Find the “change the time zone” policy and click on it. Now simply click on any users or user groups that you don’t want to have access to your time zone settings. Click the “remove” button underneath the box, click “OK,” and you’re done. It's as simple as that.

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