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Have users share a common background

Posted on 2003-11-04
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
How do I set up a Win2000 machine so all the users will have the same background wallpaper? I would like to avoid using pooicies to do this. Is there a way to just set the default profile to set this?

I had found a site that advised to modify the values in this key:

User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
System]


But I do not have the "System" key in my registry...?
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Question by:DavidNPD
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by:Rob Stone
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is it a single client or a network of pc's?

If its a network consider mandatory profiles.

If its a single PC, setup a profile and copy it to All Users and see if that works.  I don't think you can lock it though.
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by:DavidNPD
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It is on a network but I would consider it a standalone.

As stated, I would prefer to avoid using Policies to do this.

I have already attemped to set up a default profile with the background, but that does not work for new users.

I dont need to specifically lock it as I use security software on the machine also. Though locking it would be prefereable.
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by:rj-smith
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You could do it from the login script using something like kixtart (http://www.kixtart.org). That way you could update the wallpaper from time to time and have it automatically updated on all the PCs.

You'd have your script copy the latest wallpaper bitmap from somewhere on your network and then use the setwallpaper command.

Hope that helps.
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by:DavidNPD
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I want something very easy, I would think that just seting it in the default profile should work, let me keep exploring that option....
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by:JConchie
JConchie earned 25 total points
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Is there a reason not to use Group Policy here?  If not, it will do what you want very simply.  Go to the default domain policy, select User Configuration/Administrative Templates/Desktop/Active Desktop  and activate Active Desktop then enable "Active Desktop Wallpaper" and point it you your wallpaper file.......done.  Very Easy.
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by:bohiti
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The reason you don't have this key is because you're not using Group Policy.  Much of what Group Policy does is set registry keys, which you can emulate yourself if you like.  If you created the key that you mentioned in the question, it should work.

Could you explain what exactly you're doing to configure the default profile?
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by:superfir
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The values you are looking for are located in:  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.  Set the Wallpaper value to the path of the background in the Default User profile and any new users that logon to the system should have the correct background.  Make sure and unload the Default User hive if you are editing it directly as it will remain locked and will not copy if you login before doing so.
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by:DavidNPD
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JConchie, this does seem to be the way to go now that I look furtehr into it BUT, I have followed your instructions and the wallpaper seems to be in the background, but I have an active webpage as the wallpaper instead of my .jpg that I chose in the Active Desktop Wallpaper"

How do I get rid of the webpage?
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by:DavidNPD
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I think I need to clarify/modify my question somewhat In light of "JConchie" answer, is there a setting in the Group Policy editor to just poiint ALL users to a specific jpeg, gif or BMP that will be their wallpaper WITOHUT using Active Desktop?

 I realize this will probable limit me to just .bmp but thats alright.
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Expert Comment

by:bohiti
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Well, if you're against Active Desktop, you can't use the Active Desktop group policy settings.  May I question you again and ask why you're against Active Desktop?  Active Desktop does NOT mean "web page on the desktop".  You can have a .bmp as the wallpaper in Active Desktop.

Again, if you're hard-set against Active Desktop, you can, however, make your own Administrative Template and use it in Group Policy.  We've eliminated all "regedit /s" in our login scripts by making our own Admin Templates.  Admin Templates are merely text files of the .adm extension that you plug into a GPO.

Since I haven't done this specifically, I'll give you two possible text files, in order of preference.  Copy between the lines and save into a text file with .adm extension:
------------------------#1------------------------------------------------
CLASS USER
CATEGORY "My Custom Settings"
     POLICY "Wallpaper"
          KEYNAME "Control Panel\Desktop"
          PART "Path to wallpaper: " EDITTEXT
               VALUENAME "Wallpaper"
               REQUIRED
          END PART
     END POLICY  
END CATEGORY
------------------------end #1-------------------------------------------
------------------------#2------------------------------------------------
CLASS USER
CATEGORY "My Custom Settings"
     POLICY "Wallpaper"
          KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System"
          PART "Path to wallpaper: " EDITTEXT
               VALUENAME "Wallpaper"
               REQUIRED
          END PART
     END POLICY  
END CATEGORY
------------------------end #2-------------------------------------------

In Group Policy Editor, right click on either "Administrative Templates" folder and "Add/Remove Templates...".  Add yours in.  This copies your file to the domain controller(s).  Press OK, and you should now see "My Custom Settings" in the User Configuration Administrative Templates.

Note: If you use #2, that it doesn't use a reg path with "\Policies\" in it.  This is called tattooing the registry.  (Doesn't really hurt anything, it just means that if you disable this policy, the value in the clients' registries won't get changed back).  ***Group Policy editor by default doesn't show these tattooing policies.  Click View... Filtering... and uncheck "Only show policies that can be fully managed".
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by:bohiti
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Doh!  I wish I could edit my post.  The order of preference for those Admin Templates I gave is backwards.  Use the "Policies" one first.  If that doesn't work, use the "Control Panel\Desktop" one.
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by:DavidNPD
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Bohiti I am not totally agains active desktop, I am just looking for the simplest way to set ONE background for all users on this machine. I tried the active desktop route and it didnt seem to be working the way I wanted. I pointed the paper towards my filename but the new users were still getting the default homepage paper.

It just seems that there would be a very simple way to do this without having to create new templates or such.
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Accepted Solution

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bohiti earned 25 total points
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There is.  In the Active Desktop part of the GPO, here are our settings:

Active Desktop Wallpaper          Enabled
                                    Wallpaper Name= \\server\share\wallpaper.jpg
                                    Wallpaper Style= Center
Add/Delete items                  Disabled
Allow only bitmapped wallpaper       Disabled
Disable Active Desktop                  Disabled
Disable all items                    Enabled
Enable Active Desktop                  Enabled


As you see, you don't have to point to an html file.  Point to a jpg or bmp or whatever that the *user has permissions to*.  This is what we do.  Very simple.
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by:JConchie
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As I said in my first post..................
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by:DavidNPD
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JConchie, as I mentioned I have been trying to get that working as you posted and can not. The users home page is overwriting the wallpaper I wanted on it. I will try the more detailed version from bohiti and advise back on my results.
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by:bohiti
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Hmm, in re-reading your post, I may see the problem.

Please describe your environment more.  Are you an IT admin trying to control the wallpaper your users get?  Using a Win2000/2003 Active Directory?  Or are you just a home user trying to have the same wallpaper for you and your roommate?

If you are an admin, and you're only concerned about Domain users, make sure that all users are in an OU that is affected by this GPO, and that their permissions on the GPO allow "apply Group Policy".  This will NOT apply (obviously), to users who log into their computers with a local account. (like the local Administrator).

If you're a home user, I assume you've been messing with gpedit.msc and the Local Security Policy.  That should still work for all users (from what I've read) but you obviously point to something like c:\wallpaper.jpg instead, and make sure all users have access to that file.
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by:DavidNPD
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bohiti this worked perfectly, I wish I could split the points as others were leading me in the correct direction. I could not get it working though until bohitis detailed instructions. I beleive it was the "Disable all items Enabled" that finally did the trick.
Thanks to all
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by:JConchie
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Splitting the point is fair here and that is what you should have done.....you can go http://oldlook.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/ and post the url of this question there and ask the mods to reopen and show you how to split.......it's really quite simple.
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by:DavidNPD
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My mistake, I didnt realize that. I will be taking care of it.
Thanks
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