11 ways to open the Local Group Policy Editor in Windows

Local Group Policy Editor enables a power user to control what the other users are allowed to do in Windows. You can control the sign-in and shutdown processes, the settings and the apps that users are allowed to change or use. The tool itself is rather hidden from view in Windows, and you need to know how to access it. We have put together in this tutorial a comprehensive list of methods for accessing it so that you can choose the one that is most convenient:

NOTE: This guide covers editions of Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1 that are not Home or Starter editions because Local Group Policy Editor does not work in them. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?.

Why is Local Group Policy Editor missing from my Windows?

Local Group Policy Editor is a tool aimed at power users of Windows. The local in its name refers to the computer you are working on because network administrators usually maintain the group policies. One implication is that the Home editions of Windows do not include this tool because Microsoft assumes that a power user gets a more powerful Windows edition. To be precise, you can find this tool only in:

  • Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 8.1 Professional and Windows 8.1 Enterprise

If you have other users on your Windows computer (for example other family members), you can control what kinds of changes they can make and what applications they can run. If you are comfortable being the local administrator for your Windows PC, then Local Group Policy Editor is the tool for you. For more details on using Local Group Policy Editor, read What is the Local Group Policy Editor & How to use it?. Let's find out all the ways you can open this tool in Windows.

1. Open Local Group Policy Editor using search (all Windows versions)

The Local Group Policy Editor tool is not available in Windows through a shortcut placed on the Start Menu, nor can you find it in the Settings or Control Panel. You have to search for it by name or access the executable file gpedit.msc. The search in Windows 10 for "group policy" brings up the appropriate search result. Click or tap on it, and the tool is opened.

Search for Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 10

In Windows 8.1 start typing "group policy" on the Start screen. The typing activates the search function and, in the results that appear, click or tap Edit group policy.

Search for Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 8.1

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and then type "group policy" in the search field. In the list of results, click "Edit group policy."

Search for Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 7

2. Open Local Group Policy Editor by asking Cortana to do it (Windows 10 only)

If Cortana is enabled on your Windows 10 PC, you can ask her to open Local Group Policy Editor for you. After you activate Cortana by saying "Hey Cortana" or by clicking or tapping the microphone button on the taskbar, say "Open Group Policy Editor." During the execution of the command, Cortana displays the message "Opening Edit group policy."

Ask Cortana to open Local Group Policy Editor

3. Opening the Local Group Policy Editor from Settings (Windows 10 only)

Since Local Group Policy Editor changes the settings of your Windows system, you can access it from the Settings app in Windows 10.

In the search box from the Settings app, type "group policy" and pick "Edit group policy" from the list of results.

Search for Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 10 Settings

4. Opening the Local Group Policy Editor from Control Panel (all Windows versions)

Local Group Policy Editor is also available through Control Panel. Type "group policy" and click or tap on Edit group policy under Administrative Tools.

Search for Local Group Policy Editor in Control Panel

NOTE: Although Windows lists the search result under Administrative tools, when you open the Administrative tools link, the Edit group policy shortcut is not there. The only way to reach it is to use the search feature.

5. Create a shortcut for Local Group Policy Editor and pin it to your desktop (all Windows versions)

If you prefer a desktop shortcut, then you can create one for Local Group Policy Editor. In the Create Shortcut wizard, type the location "gpedit.msc" (without the quotes).

Create a shortcut for Local Group Policy Editor

From now on, you can open Local Group Policy Editor by double-clicking or double tapping on the shortcut on your desktop.

6. Pin Local Group Policy Editor to the taskbar, Start Menu or the Start screen (all Windows versions)

Before applying this method, you have to create a shortcut for Local Group Policy Editor. Once the shortcut is created, right-click or tap and hold on the shortcut. In the context menu that opens up, choose Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar.

Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar Local Group Policy Editor

From now on, you can open Local Group Policy Editor from Start or the taskbar.

7. Open Local Group Policy Editor by using the Run window (all Windows versions)

Press Win + R on the keyboard to open the Run window. In the Open field type "gpedit.msc" and press Enter on the keyboard or click OK.

Run Local Group Policy Editor

8. Open Local Group Policy Editor by using Command Prompt or PowerShell (all Windows versions)

You can use Command Prompt or PowerShell too. In any of these apps, type gpedit.msc in the command line and press ENTER.

Open Local Group Policy Editor from the command line

9. Open Local Group Policy Editor by using Task Manager (all Windows versions)

You can open Local Group Policy Editor using the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager (a quick way is by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC). In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you can get the compact view of the Task Manager. In this case, first press More details in the bottom-left corner of the Task Manager window. In the File Menu, click or tap "Run new task" in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 or "New Task (Run…)" in Windows 7. In the "Create new task" window that appears, type "gpedit.msc" in the Open field and press ENTER or OK.

Open Local Group Policy Editor from Task Manager

10. Open Local Group Policy Editor by using Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (Windows 8.1 and Windows 10)

Windows Explorer from Windows 7 or the File Explorer from Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 are convenient ways to start Local Group Policy Editor. Type "gpedit.msc" in the address bar and press ENTER on the keyboard.

Open Local Group Policy Editor from File Explorer

11. Open Local Group Policy Editor by running its executable file (all Windows versions)

The Local Group Policy Editor executable file is found in the System32 subfolder of the Windows folder. Navigate to "C\Windows\System32" and identify the file gpedit.msc. Then, double-click or double-tap on it.

Open Local Group Policy Editor by running gpedit.msc

What do you plan to change in the Local Group Policy Editor?

Local Group Policy Editor is a powerful tool designed for power users and IT administrators. You get to control many aspects of how the other users access and use your Windows system. What do you plan to change in the Local Group Policy Editor? Let us know your preferences in a comment below.