ADM stands for “administrative” and thus ADM files are administrative template files used by the Windows Group Policies, describing where the registry policy settings are saved. Essentially, files with an ADM file extension defines the user interface that administrators can see when they open the Group Policy Object Editor Snap-in. Files used in the interface are saved in single settings files with the ADM file extension. A variant of the ADM file extension called ADMX also exists, this is an XML-based format introduced by the Microsoft Corporation in their Windows Vista version of operating systems.
ADM files therefore contain configuration and modification information of the Group Policy Settings that can only be seen and modified by the system’s administrator using the Group Policy Editor. These information include administrative templates, scripts, security settings, software installation data, folder protection settings, remote installation services settings and many more. The basic function of ADM files is to smooth-up the progress of managing the registry-based policies.
It is therefore not recommended to open ADM files in text editors and modify its content in the event that a user sees these files in his hard drive. These files may only be modified directly by an administrator using Windows’ Group Policy Editor.