GPO Backup and Restore
Added in Samba version: 4.10
<What does the feature do, Why might users care about it, What is the Microsoft-equivalent that a Windows admin might be familiar with, etc>
How to configure it
<Just reference the relevant samba-tool/smb.conf options (your man-page/help documentation should already be clear enough)>
Known issues and limitations
In Samba 4.10, there are these bugs currently open (no backports yet):
https://bugzilla.samba.org/show_bug.cgi?id=13825 (GPE.INI files causes backup to fail)
https://bugzilla.samba.org/show_bug.cgi?id=13806 (GPT.INI failing with GPO names with accents)
https://bugzilla.samba.org/show_bug.cgi?id=13627 (GPO import doesn't enable the GPO immediately)
This tool is largely independent to many Samba components. Building from source and running the latest Git master to backup and restore fixes these bugs correctly.
GPE.INI files causes backup to fail
Currently, if a GPE.INI file is created via RSAT, the backup no longer works. The only likely workaround would be to remove the GPE.INI file temporarily and copy it to its final location manually.
It would be recommended to use Samba master until this patch is backported.
GPT.INI failing with GPO names with accents
Currently, the only workaround for this bug appears to be avoiding setting a display name with non-ASCII characters. Removing the display name from the GPT.INI manually may also be an option (but note, this hasn't been tested).
In master, the name is interpreted as Latin-1 and eventually removed entirely in a restored GPO.
GPO import doesn't enable the GPO immediately
Currently, the gPCMachineExtensionNames and gPCUserExtensionNames values on a newly restored GPO are not being set. To workaround, querying over LDAP from the DC where the backup was made, copy these values to the new GPO.
In master, this is now automatically done by the tool (but a new backup must be generated).
Manually inspecting output files and the resulting GPO in RSAT is probably the best way to ensure that the GPO work as intended. The generalization function for migrating GPO across domains is still incomplete as there are only a subset of files that support this feature in the tool.
Report any errors to Samba bugzilla, there are probably a number of files (and associated file formats) which have yet to be attempted with this tool.
How to test it
make test TESTS=samba_tool.gpo
GPO import and export has a fallback mode to restore from binary files instead of from XML if any errors occur in the restore. Currently there isn't any way to turn this off, and so what should probably fail often doesn't.
Where the code is located
The core parsing logic for GPO is in the python gp_parse module.
The outer logic lives in netcmd/gpo.py (where the actual regex matching used to identify which parser is used) and the tests are all in the samba_tool gpo.py tests.
Note: The parser for PReg .pol files is auto-generated from IDL.
[MS-GPOD] and [MS-GPOD] describe an overview of how the overall Group Policy system works. Individual references to which file formats correspond to which parsers lives in the comments of each parser class in gp_parse.