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Changing the default screen saver for all users...

Posted on 2002-06-12
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
We're trying to change the default screen saver for all users from the normal Windows Xp screen saver to a custom, company based one.

GPEDIT.msc has this option, but if you do it this way, it forces you to use our screen saver, and does not let the user change it at all.  This won't do.

I have a specialized company .theme I've saved, but gpedit doesn't seem to let you specify a .theme, only a .msstyle or whatever.  Can a .msstyle specify screen saver default and other such options?  If so, point me to help on how to make my own .msstyle file and we'll call it just as good.  :)  (Please note that if it works the same way as the screen saver, IE, locks you out from changing the theme to something else, it won't work.)  

This has to work for all user accounts, even those created *after* I change the screen saver.. IE, it has to be the hard coded default.  I hope I'm explaining this right...

Thanks.
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Question by:EDStech
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by:jmiller47
ID: 7074135
Copy the screensaver (ssave.exe) to the Windows Directory of all your computers of have a logon batch file copy it there for you.

In a Windows 2000 AD environment, have the following logon script (Written in VBScript) to be applied to everyone:

Copy the following into a text document and rename it ssaver.vbs.
' Set ScreenSaver to Logon Screen Saver
WScript.CreateObject ("WScript.Shell").RegWrite "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\SCRNSAVE.EXE", "%Windir%\ssave.exe" , "REG_SZ""

Remove the line from their logon script when you no longer want it applied.

If you have a different environment than an AD Domain and Windows 2000/XP workstations, let me know...
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by:EDStech
ID: 7074238
We're currently using an NT4 domain.  The new AD domain isn't implimented yet, although it is technically online.

However, I'm looking for a solution that will work for all users, not just those who log on to the domain.  

Thanks.
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by:jmiller47
ID: 7074308
Then no, you are talking about remote scripting all of your computers and possibly having to use local rather that Domain authentication to change the local screensaver.

This scenario woud not be possible without creating a like administrator account on all machines, creating a list of all the PCs into a file that can be read by a remote VB script that can parse the file, connect to each machine on the list, change the registry and copy the necessary screen saver to each machine, all while impersonating the local administrator account.
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by:gavrc
ID: 7074949
One solution (though not ideal) would be to rename your screensaver to logon.scr (default screensaver) and push it out to C:\Windows\system32 on all the machines overwiting the one already there. If you keep a backup of original you can push it back out again when you have policies working properly.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7075682
Just to clarify, I think I'm not being clear...

I don't want to change existing users and existing systems.

I only want to change one machine.. a deployment image I'm creating.

All I want to do is make it so that on this one PC, every time a new user account is created (be it from domain login or adding a new user) the default screen saver for that user is the specified one.

GPEDIT.msc can do this almost perfectly, but it's sole limitation is that it locks the user out from changing the default saver later.  Our users will cry and whine if this is implimented, if they can't use their webshots the world might as well end.

Gavrc: I tried that, XP simply removes my modified login.scr and puts the default one back... :)

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by:gavrc
ID: 7075709
Ahh. Try also deleting (or renaming) it from c:\windows\system32\dllcache. This is where it restores from. I didn't relise that screensavers were that important to windows!
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by:EDStech
ID: 7075722
I'll try that when I get to work in 1.5 hours... thanks.

Yeah, it was odd.. I put my custom one in and logged out, and wham, default one comes back.  I check, and my custom one is nowhere to be found.  I know windows can be anal about some things, but a screen saver?  Bah.
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jmiller47 earned 50 total points
ID: 7076168
All you need to do is put the Screen saver in the c:\WINNT directory if that is where Windows was installed.

Then, change the screen saver to that new screen saver and after you are done setting up the computer, copy your profile, (all set up...), to the defualt user profile.

Then, any new user will automatically get that screen saver by default, but be able to change it (And they will...)

I hope that helps
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by:EDStech
ID: 7076602
Jmiller: I'll try that too, but since I'm using Sysprep to assist in the deployment of the images, it may not work.  Sysprep wipes out a lot of the custom settings... it's annoying having to make a runonce command to copy back the icons that sysprep deletes, but that at least is all worked out and fixed.  :)

Haven't had the chance to test any of the tips above yet, I've been re-prioritized.. the world is ending, the world is ending, quick, save us, save us!!  Silly management..
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by:jmiller47
ID: 7076622
No, I use Sysprep all the time in creating images and that is no problem.

Go ahead and try it. Let me know how it works out. I do that all the time on my workstations. I set custom default screensavers and backgrounds. I also, lock them out from changing them, but that is done elsewhere in Group Policy.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7076627
I'll give it a try, thanks.

gpedit lets you lock changing of the saver out easily, but I can't get approval from The Powers That Be to do such a thing.  Our helpdesk would be flooded with calls from users asking why Webshots won't install... oh well, what can you do.
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 7135192
Have you been helped here or is more needed?  Since time has passed since your last comment, an update is appreciated (in case things have changed).
Asta
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by:jmiller47
ID: 7135357
"Our helpdesk would be flooded with calls from users asking why Webshots won't install... oh well, what can you do. "

You can put out a company policy that states that no unauthorized software may be installed on any computer and that any unauthorized software will be removed as the PC is audited. Who does the computer belong to? The user or the company? Who takes the blame if illegal softrware is found or software creates problems for the IT department?

These are questions that need to be answered in a position such as yours... There is a good possibility that you may be able to do nothing, but trying to do waht  you will can will ensure that your problems are taken care of as quickly as possible and operations run as efficiently as possible...
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by:EDStech
ID: 7135512
"You can put out a company policy that states that no unauthorized software may be installed on any computer and that any unauthorized software will be removed as the PC is audited."

That would be a policy decision, something that we have no authority to make.  The CIO and Director of ISS are the only ones who have that power, and they've made it clear that making "rules" are something they're not willing to do.  :(

If I had any say in the matter, I'd have this image locked down so tight your head would spin, but nobody ever asks me, so oh well.

Sorry for the delay in accepting an answer, forgetting about open questions is a bad habbit I seem to have.  I'll review the suggestions and try to recall which (if any) was the one that got me running.

Thank's all.
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by:EDStech
ID: 7135515
Thanks again.
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 7135801
Thank you for returning and finalizing this.
":0) Asta
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