Is it possible to use Group Policy to manage power settings in Windows XP? I'd like to be able to configure power profiles for my company's desktops.

Windows Vista and Longhorn Server both support power management via Group Policy, but XP and Windows Server 2003 don't. As with most XP environment configuration, the power settings are stored in the registry, which would normally mean that even if a Group Policy Object (GPO) isn't supplied by default, you could create a custom administrative template that sets the required registry keys. Unfortunately, this approach isn't possible natively because power options are set as binary registry values, and XP Group Policy doesn't support modifying binary registry values.

Vista changes the way power configuration is handled, but organizations running XP systems have several power management options. One is called EZ GPO, which you can download at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=power_mgt.pr_pm_ez_gpo.

Another power management option is the Powercfg.exe utility. (You can learn more about this command-line utility in the article " Powercfg," January 2006, InstantDoc ID 48399.)

Third-party power-management solutions include Quest Software's Group Policy Extensions for Desktops, which extends the functionality of Group Policy, including full power-management support. You can find more information about this solution at http://www.quest.com/group_policy_extensions_for_desktops/Features_Benefits.aspx.