I am confused as to when I should add the /force tag to the gpupdate command when I want to manually refresh Group Policy.


The gpupdate command by itself simply downloads any changes made within Group Policy. It is all you need 90% of the time most likely. By typing gpupdate /force you are telling the computer to download ALL applicable GPOs regardless if any changes have been made or not. As this takes additional time, you should use gpupdate if all you want are the changes. Jeremy covers the /force switch on page 183 of his book. (Third edition, with the gear cover.)