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Windows 7: Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change



Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change

How to Specify a Desktop Background for Users in Windows
Published by Brink
08 Feb 2010
Published by

How to Specify a Desktop Background for Users in Windows

information   Information
This tutorial will show you how to specify a BMP or JPG image of your choice as the default desktop background wallpaper for all or specific users in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

You will also be able to specify that the wallpaper image position to have the center, fill, fit, tile, or stretch style on the desktop. The options to change the desktop background in personalization will not be grayed out, but users will not be able to change anything after you have specified a desktop background in this tutorial.

You must be logged in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.

Note   Note
When you specify a desktop background, it will disable the Set as desktop background (image on PC) and Set as Background (image in web browser) context menu items. They will still be there and not grayed out, but they will not work.

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warning   Warning
This does not apply to guest accounts.

While guest accounts will still be able to change their desktop background wallpaper.





OPTION ONE
To Specify Default Desktop Background using Group Policy
1. Open the all users, specific users or groups, or all users except administrators Local Group Policy Editor for how you want this policy applied.

2. In the left pane, click on to expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Desktop, and Desktop. (See screenshot below)
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-group_policy.jpg
3. In the right pane, double click/tap on Desktop Wallpaper. (See screenshot above)

4. To Not Specify a Desktop Background
NOTE: This is the default setting to allow users to change their own desktop backgrounds instead.
A) Select (dot) Disabled or Not Configured, click/tap on OK, and go to step 6 below. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: Not Configured is the default setting.
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5. To Specify a Desktop Background and Prevent Changing it
A) Select (dot) Enabled. (See screenshot above)

B) In the Wallpaper Name: box, type in the full path of a BMP or JPG image not in quotes that you want displayed as a wallpaper for all users. (See screenshot below step 3A)
NOTE: If you just want a blank wallpaper, you can enter a invalid path (EX: C:\ ), or place the path within quotes.
warning   Warning
Be sure to have the wallpaper that you want to be displayed for all users saved in either one of the C:\Users\Public folders, or in the C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper system folder.

If you save the wallpaper in one of your user account's C:\Users\(user-name) folders, then the other users will not have access permission to see it and will only see a blank wallpaper instead.

C) In the Wallpaper Style: drop down menu box, select if you want the wallpaper to be the Center, Fill, Fit, Stretch, or Tile style on the desktop. (See screenshot below step 2)

D) Click/tap on OK, and go to step 6 below. (See screenshot below step 2)
6. Close the Local Group Policy Editor window.

7. Restart the computer to fully apply.



OPTION TWO
To Specify Default Desktop Background in Registry Editor
1. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog, type regedit.exe, and press Enter.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click/tap on Yes (Windows 7/8) or Continue (Vista).

3. In Regedit, go to the location below: (See screenshot below)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-reg1.jpg
4. To Specify a Desktop Background and Prevent Changing it for All Users
A) In the right pane of System, right click on an empty area and click on New and String Value. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: If you do not have System, then right click on Policies, click on New and Key, type System, and press Enter.
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-reg2.jpg
B) Type Wallpaper and press enter, then double click/tap on Wallpaper to modify it. (See screenshot below)
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-reg3.jpg
C) Type in the full path of a BMP or JPG image not in quotes that you want displayed as a wallpaper for all users. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: If you just want a blank wallpaper, you can enter a invalid path. (EX: C:\ )
warning   Warning
Be sure to have the wallpaper that you want to be displayed for all users saved in either one of the C:\Users\Public folders, or in the C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper system folder.

If you save the wallpaper in one of your user account's C:\Users\(user-name) folders, then the other users will not have access permission to see it and will only see a blank wallpaper instead.

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D) In the right pane of System, right click on an empty area, and click on New and String Value. (See screenshot below)
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-reg5b.jpg
E) Type WallpaperSyle and press enter, then double click/tap on WallpaperStyle to modify it. (See screenshot below)
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-reg5.jpg
F) Type in a number below for the wallpaper to be the Center, Fill, Fit, Stretch, or Tile style on the desktop, and click/tap on OK. (See screenshot below)
  • Type 0 to Center the wallpaper on the desktop.
  • Type 1 to Tile the wallpaper on the desktop.
  • Type 2 to Stretch the wallpaper to fit the desktop.
  • Type 3 to Fit the wallpaper to the desktop.
  • Type 4 to Fill the wallpaper on the desktop.
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G) Go to step 6 below.
5. To Not Specify a Desktop Background for All Users
NOTE: This is the default setting to allow users to change their own desktop backgrounds instead.
A) In the right pane of System, right click on Wallpaper, and click on Delete. (See screenshot below)
Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change-reg7.jpg
B) Click/tap on Yes to confirm deletion. (See screenshot below)
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C) In the right pane of System, right click on WallpaperStyle, and click on Delete. (See screenshot below step 5A)

D) Click/tap on Yes to confirm deletion. (See screenshot below step 5B)
6. Close regedit.

7. Restart the computer to fully apply.
That's it,
Shawn




Related Tutorials

07 Mar 2010   #1
VailVeix

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

I don't have a system folder in my policies folder. What do I do?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2010   #2
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello VailVeix,

I have added a note under step 4A (Option Two) to help with this for you.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2010   #3
Bobbyraw

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

i am using windows 7 professional and i followed the steps above. i tried the GP edit first: that produce a black screen when i go to personalized the wall paper shows black but with the correct file name. i did the registry edit and got the same result. am i missing some thing. can this be done on a domain PC can the gpedit and registry edit be used at the ame time
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


09 Sep 2010   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Bobby, and welcome to Seven Forums.

I've never tried this on a domain PC, so I'm not sure how it will work or not on it. I would imagine that it would have to be done on the domain administrator's system though if it will work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #5
CarkMox

Windows 7 Enterprise, 32 bit
 
 
Desktop background COLOR change

I'm playing around with the Group Policy way to do this, but I can't figure out how to change the background color to black through the Group Policy. Is there a way to do this, so it can change background color on multiple machines on my network?

Thanks in advance!

Mark
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #6
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Mark, and welcome to Seven Forums.

The easiest way would be to create a solid 1600x1200 (or size you want) black image in Paint (mspaint.exe) and use it.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #7
CarkMox

Windows 7 Enterprise, 32 bit
 
 

Thank you!

This will work for now, but I guess I didn't explain my full situation. I want to put the company logo as the desktop picture (which was the easy part) of people's machines here, but the picture's size is only so big. I can personally change my desktop background to match the existing background color of the picture, but I don't want to do that for all the domain computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Sep 2010   #8
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Oh, ok. That's not a problem. You could copy the company logo in the center of the black background in Paint and save it. While doing the tutorial, you can use the Fill option at step 4C in Option One, or one of the other options if looks better, to have it fill the screen no matter the resolution the computer is set to.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #9
Aphine83

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Hi Brink, I tried modify the registry as you mentioned (as administrator and guest) but I cannot force any picture as wallpaper. The only thing I can change is the color of the background.
Thanks for your help
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Desktop Background - Specify and Prevent Change




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