Group Policy / Desktop Wallpaper / Active Desktop

Richard Quadling
Richard Quadling used Ask the Experts™

Several questions regarding Windows XP Pro SP2

1 - To have a BMP background, is it necessary to have Active Desktop enabled?
2 - Is it possible to set the background via a Group Policy?
3 - Is it possible to set the background via Group Policy WITHOUT having to activate Active Desktop?

Alternatively, how do I set a non Active Directory wallpaper?

Basically, I want to get rid of Active Desktop but have a background and, ideally, centrally administrered.


Richard Quadling.
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ok, a solution without GPOs. But you have to use the Login-Script.

Copy the wallpaper to a central location on which every user has at least the permission to read files or deploy the file via the Login-Script to the workstations to a fixed location.
Use regedit with the '-s' parameter to set the needed registry settings within the HKEY_CURRENT_USER-hive.
Copy the following text between the hyphens to a text-file, adjust the path to the file (don't know if a jpeg works without enabling Active Desktop), replace the .txt extension with .reg and store it somewhere in the NETLOGON-share on the server
Use 'regedit -s PATH\YOUR_FILENAME.reg' to deploy the setting via the login script.

That's it.

example for a reg-file:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]


Richard QuadlingSenior Software Developer


I'll try that.

A small addition to my post...

Because the settings will be written to the users registry hive as he is already in the logon process, I suppose that the background image will be not displayed until the user logs on the next time.
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In gpedit, the "Active Desktop Wallpaper" setting in User Configuration|Administrative Templates|Desktop|Active Desktop does set the background. Ignore the fact that it's in the Active Desktop section, as it still works with Active Desktop disabled. Active Desktop only needs to be enabled if using JPG or HTML for the background.
Richard QuadlingSenior Software Developer


Ah! I see.

That is what I wanted. Trying it now.


Kenneniah - thanks, this worked for me.

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