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GPUPDATE Meaning (and What It Does)

GPUPDATE means Group Policy Update Command. It is a Windows command line tool that is used to get a client computer to receive the latest Group Policy update settings.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • GPUPDATE Syntax
  • Meaning of each Parameters in GPUPDATE Syntax
  • Examples and Applications of GPUPDATE

GPUPDATE Syntax

If you are familiar with Windows commands you know that most windows commands have one or more Syntax. A Syntax extends what a command can do. The easiest way to get the syntax of a command is to add a forward slash with a question mark to the command then press Enter.

To get the GPUPDATE Syntax, enter the following in cmd then press the Enter key:

GPUPDATE /?

The result is shown in the image below.

GPUPDATE get syntax

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You may also use the command below:

GPUPDATE help

From the result, you can see that the Syntax of GPUPDATE is:

Gpupdate [/Target:{Computer | User}] [/Force] [/Wait:] [/Logoff] [/Boot] [/Sync]

In the next section, I will explain what each of the parameters in the Syntax do. Before then, it is important to note from the syntax that with GPUPDATE, you update Computer or User Policy or both. More on this later in the guide.

GPUPDATE Parameters Explained

The information that followed GPUPDATE in the Syntax above are called parameters. The table below explains what each parameter mean.

ParameterDescriptionNotes
/Target:{Computer | User}Specifies that only User or only Computer policy should be updated. By default, both both settings are updated.By specifying /Taget:Computer, you are asking GPUPDATE to update Policies for Computers only. On the other hand, /Taget:User will just update User Policies.
/ForceBy default, only GPO settings that have changed are applied. When you use the /Force parameter, all GPO policies are reapplied.The /Force parameter is the most commonly used parameters.
/LogoffThe GPUPDATE /Logoff parameter forces the computer to logoff after the GPO settings have been updated.This is required for those GPO client-side extensions that do not process policy on a background update cycle but do process policy when a user logs on. Examples include user-targeted Software Installation and Folder Redirection. /Logoff option has no effect if there are no extensions called that require a logoff.
/Wait:{value}The /Wait option of GPUPDATE sets the number of seconds to wait for policy processing to finish.The default is 600 seconds. The value ‘0’ means not to wait. The value ‘-1’ means to wait indefinitely. When the time limit is exceeded, the command prompt returns, but policy processing continues.
/BootThis switch is similar to /Logoff but instead of logoff, the computer will restart after the Group Policy settings are applied.
/SyncCauses the next foreground policy application to be done synchronously. Foreground policy applications occur at computer start up and user logon. You can specify this for the user, computer or both using the /Target parameter.The /Force and /Wait parameters will be ignored if the /Sync parameter specified.

GPUPDATE Examples and Applications

This section will show some examples of GPUPDATE. The quickest way to run GPUPDATE is without any parameter. See the command below:

 GPUPDATE 

The command without any parameter will update both computer and user policy. See the image below for the result.

To update just Computer polices, enter the command below in a command prompt then press Enter.

GPUPDATE /Target:computer

Now, just the computer policy was updated. See the image below.

If you want to update just User policies, replace computer with user in the previous command.

 GPUPDATE /Target:user

See the result below:

GPUPDATE (Group policy update)

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Force GPUPDATE (How to Force GPUPDATE)

As I stated when I explained GPUPDATE parameters, running the command with the /Force parameter reapplies all GPO settings. If you wish to reapply all polices, execute the command below:

GPUPDATE /Force 

As you can see from the image above, the command with the /Force switch reapplies both Computer and User policies.

If you wish to reapply just the Computer or User policies, the /Force switch may be used with the /Target switch as shown below:

GPUPDATE  /Force /Target:computer 

The result of the command is shown below:

gpupdate (group policy update)

Conclusion

I hope this guide have improved your knowledge of GPUPDATE and how to use it. If you have any questions or comments, use the “Leave a Reply” form at the end of the guide.

You could also share your experience so other readers can benefit from it.

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