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How to create a domain-wide slideshow screensaver GPO by using pictures on each local machine ?

Posted on 2007-07-29
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Last Modified: 2011-09-28
Windows 2003 domain with all WIN Xp clients.
How does one invoke a slideshow screensaver domain-wide GPO but with pictures located on each local machine ? On the DC,  i have given the executable as ssmypics.scr and that seems to kick off on the local workstations but can't get pointed at same picture location for each user of same local machine. It works fine for the Admin user who repointed picture location to docs & settings\all users\"picture folder" but the picture search reverts to user profile\"My Documents" for additional users.
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Question by:OPSDIR
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19590230
Hi opsdir.

The slide show screen saver stores it's setting in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Screen Saver.Slideshow
So a change to the ImageDirectory key would also need to be done on login or the such to make it point elsewhere.

Terry
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qz8dsw earned 2000 total points
ID: 19590238
Also as per the accepted answer here http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_21724490.html
details how you can push registry settings out with Group Policy from your Domain Controller.

Terry
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by:OPSDIR
ID: 19590767
Actually, would prefer not to push out registry settings. Since i don't have that many machines, would like to know how i can change the imagedirectory manually for all users. Right now it defaults to Docs & Settings\"user name"\My Documents\My pictures. Not sure where that comes from because when i log on as a privileged user, the imagedirectory is located somewhere else. i can place the slideshow pictures in the default location and it works but my concern is that the user will come along and place other pictures in same location.
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19591015
I've had a good look and that screen saver saves it's settings in one place and one place alone from what I can see.
"would like to know how i can change the imagedirectory manually for all users" would be a reg change on login for that screen saver if you want to do it via GPO pointing everyone's setting on HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Screen Saver.Slideshow\imagedirectory to %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\My Pictures MIGHT work, but it's still a registry change.

Not pushing out reg settings at all will NOT work unless you create your own screen saver and get it to save it's settings in an INI file from what I can see.

The simple answer to your concern is to either on a network drive or by push remove create/write privildges to the directory you store your images in, or create your own screen saver.
Perhaps someone else will step in an correct me on this, but it is a "dymanic" screen saver you want to control to pictures on.
Without changing the actual screen saver you are basing this on I think your options are limited to just reg changes or creating your own.

Terry
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19591048
But do try the %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\My Pictures
It does work.
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by:OPSDIR
ID: 19591163
Terry,

At the risk of sounding like a dummy (that i am) can i enter %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\My Pictures (exactly that way) in the data field for the ImageDirectory registry key while logged on as local machine admin and the effect will be that all domain users who log on that machine will all be pointed to that path for pictures to the slideshow screen saver ??

If i could/should be doing this from the DC, will need detailed instructions on location pls.

Thanks very much
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19594800
Hi ops,
Unfortunately you cannot.

You are thinking about the HKEY_LOCAL_Machine part of the registry. Machine wide settings which affect all users.
Unfortunately the screen saver stores it's settings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER. which is user specific settings.
So if you make the change it will take, but only for that currently logged on user (Hence the current user part). There are no machine wide settings for that screen saver to say all users who logon have this.
Thats the main problem with what you are trying.
BUT in saying that screen saver settings should indeed be able to be changed on a user by user basis.

If you click on start, then run on any workstation and enter %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Documents\My Pictures then hit enter it should take you to where you would expect. (Thats to test the %ALLUSERSPROFILE% works)

To effect that change you would have to logon as every user make the change and if the profiles are not roaming profiles you would also have to do it on every machine for every user.

It is by far easier to do this change by pushing a registry change by GPO.
The EE link I gave gives 2 links which details some options for how to push a registry change like this.

Terry
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19615284
hokies. I've had another look after brushing up on my custom GPO skills (Roughly).
Try this.

Here is a custom adm file which should make it pushable by GPO.
(Read it changed my value for the required key)
Copy and paste where I start typing all in caps, save it as a .adm file in with your other adm files.
(Generally somewhere like C:\windows\system32\GroupPolicy\Adm but you should know where they are)
Then when you run up gpedit goto My Pictures Screen Saver policy under
User Configuration/Administative templates
It won't show anything YET.
Right click in the white box right hand side, Select View Filtered. Take the check out of "Only show policy settings that can be fully managed", then go back to the same place and you have the options.

Now heres the bad part the screen saver does not support enviroment variables. (So scrap %ALLUSERSPROFILE%)
So replace it with C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\My Pictures
Obviously change the full path to suit your needs.
The reg key seems dymanic and I've just tested the adm file on my machine.
Heres the adm file.


CLASS USER
CATEGORY !!MYPICTURESSCREENSAVER
      POLICY !!LOCATION
            KEYNAME "Control Panel\Screen Saver.Slideshow"
            EXPLAIN !!MYPICS_EXPLAIN
            PART !!MYPICS_LOCATION      EDITTEXT
                  VALUENAME ImageDirectory
            END PART
      END POLICY
END CATEGORY

[strings]
MYPICTURESSCREENSAVER="My Pictures Screen Saver"
LOCATION="Default location for pictures"
MYPICS_EXPLAIN="Location for the My Pictures Slideshow screensaver pictures"
MYPICS_LOCATION="Location for the My Pictures Slideshow screensaver pictures"
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19615544
PLEASE NOTE what gpedit says about custom GPO's.
They are not removed if you remove them from your global policy.
(I.E if you decide to disable the policy GPO might have trouble doing it which means manual reg changes on login to fix it up and remove the entry, but this one can be defaulted back to anything as if it doesn't exist Windows shows a screensaver of Directory blah does not exist.)

Terry
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19615574
PLEASE NOTE what gpedit says about custom GPO's.
They are not removed if you remove them from your global policy.
(I.E if you decide to disable the policy GPO might have trouble doing it which means manual reg changes on login to fix it up and remove the entry, but this one can be defaulted back to anything as if it doesn't exist Windows shows a screensaver of Directory blah does not exist.)

Terry
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19615581
Sorry for the duplicated post.
I was doing too many things at once.

Terry
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 19770351
Hi Lee,

Mine was as far as I see it right on the mark, and saying you can't do it without reg changes (Which they didn't want to do) was in itself correct from what I know.
 
I gave them an easyish option for doing the push via GPO (After brushing up on my custom GPO skills) and still think the answer although not what they were after was correct. (Pick GPO push or it can't be done without reg changes)

Terry
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by:OPSDIR
ID: 19789247
Terry,

Haven't had a chance to test your solution but will do so yet.

Thank you
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by:Computer101
ID: 20295378
Forced accept.

Computer101
EE Admin
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by:maynardinc
ID: 23714926
Does the ImageDirectory part need to have quotes or anything? I copy/paste just as above and added the location of the img directory.

When I open it in Group Policy, the options are blank
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 23715105
Hi maynardinc,

Thats a common thing to happen. Whats happening is GPedit is only showing you policies that can be fully managed. (I.E not showing custom ones)
Right click on Administrative Templates, Select View, then filtering.
Take the tick out of "Only show policy settings that can be fully managed"
Then when you client on My Pictures Screen Saver you will see the option.

Cheers,
Tel
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 23715113
Then when you CLICK on My Pictures Screen Saver you will see the option.
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by:maynardinc
ID: 23715118
LOL...Do I feel stupid. Thanks.
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by:qz8dsw
ID: 23715172
No worries, if you don't know it's filtering them it is very confusing.
I fell into the same trap myself first time around with custom GP's
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by:maynardinc
ID: 23715205
Yea, because it worked just fine on my local, but at the remote site I was messing w/ it (cause it sometimes takes FOREVER for it all to sync up from home office to remote), and I couldn't understand why on my computer I could edit w/ no problem, but at remote site it would blow up...LOL....

Thanks all.
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