Remediate Group Policy local audit policy enforcement and application issue

#networking #Windows #grouppolicy

Recently, I had been fighting with Group Policy to apply a change in the local audit policies on a Domain Controller running Windows Server 2012 R2.

I was changing the Default Domain Controller policy object of “Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Audit Policy”.

Specifically, I was changing the following two items to have our Meraki MX appliances filter content based on AD Security Groups: – Audit account logon events – Success – Audit logon events – Success

From the Cisco documentation page [A], I just needed to allow these two policies to begin filtering.

When I changed this and forced a gpupdate on the DC, it did not apply the policies correctly. They kept saying that the audit policies for both of these items were disabled. To make it worse, the option was greyed out when I tried to change it using secpol.msc or the local Group Policy editory,

I tried disabling the policy at “Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options” for “Audit: Force audit policy subcategory settings (Windows Vista or later) to override audit policy category settings”, but this did not solve the issue after rebooting.

What I found was that I needed to rename the file at C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\Machine\Microsoft\Windows NT\Audit\audit.csv to something like audit.csv.backup.

The contents of the file were essentially just a CSV header:

Machine Name,Policy Target,Subcategory,Subcategory GUID,Inclusion Setting,Exclusion Setting,Setting Value

Once this file was renamed, the Group Policies were applied correctly on the Domain Controller. It seems that this file was “blocking” the correct application of the GPO for the changes to the audit policy.

I don't know if this was a corrupt file or changed permissions, but I wanted to write this down in case I have to troubleshoot this again in the future.