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How to set a default background for all users logging on to a Windows Server

Posted on 2009-07-09
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I have a .bmp file that I would like to set as the default Background for all users logging onto my Windows 2003 Server. How can I go about doing this?
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Question by:Amirsys
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by:sfarazmand
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by:jmarti80
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you could set a local policy:

start-run-gpedit.msc

local computer policy - user configuration - administrative templates -desktop - active desktop - active desktop wallpaper

Go through the steps and this should give you want you want.
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by:sfarazmand
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by:Jacobh06
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You could also create a user logon script that would set it as the background image.
Let me know if that works.
~Jake
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by:nftcadmins
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Edit the registry key

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\

Set the Wallpaper REG_SZ to path of your wallpaper.

See  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327998 for wallpaper display styles and different options.
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by:sfarazmand
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Thanks for adding what I already stated at the top.
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by:nftcadmins
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Sorry I had the wrong link in my clipboard.  Use http://www.pctools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37358 for wallpaper display styles.  It has a good explaination.  Thank sfarazmand for the link.
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by:nftcadmins
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sfarazmand, yours showed for only the current user and not the default user, the question asked for all users.
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by:Amirsys
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I have looked at and tried all the options and they are not working. I need to have each server have it's on default background. The background is a .bmp of the servers name so that developers know what system they are on in hopes they don't mess something up. I thought the gpedit.msc would work but when I do this from the Admin profile it's not showing up when I logon under my profile on the same server.
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by:Amirsys
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When I look at this in regedit [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Policies\System] I don't see system under policies
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by:sfarazmand
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Oh ok, Try BGinfo then. You can add it as a startup item. Can also make a configuration file and run that so it shows the same information to all users.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897557.aspx
 
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by:nftcadmins
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BGInfo is a great little program, we run it on our workstations so users can easily identify answers to some basic questions from out support personel.  If you truly want to use the background image idea.  I do since it doesn't involve having another application running on the server, you can use the registry suggestions above.  Keep in mind though, if your profile already exists it won't get the update, you can just browse to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Control Panel / Desktop and manually enter it in or delete the profiles and have them re-created.

If you want the Login screen to be the same you need to change the following key HKEY_USERS / .DEFAULT / Control Panel / Colors / Background

I believe a reboot is required after this one.

There is a way to prevent the background from being changed but if your administrators are like most, the background is irrelavant.

Hope this helps
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by:nftcadmins
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I really have to proof read my comments before I post them.  I apologize for my last one, the middle section was to change the color, as stated above in my previous comments.  Changing the .DEFAULT user settings under HKEY_USERS should also change the background image at the login screen.  But a reboot is required I believe.

Each user will need their registry updated, I just did a test with deleting an existing profile.  The change didn't follow through.

Again I apolgize for the confusion above.
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by:Iain MacMillan
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BGInfo is handy, we use it on our servers, but we also use GPO to set the company wallpaper on all systems to the same BMP copied to all Windows folders.

I would have thought the devs would know the server they are on, if they use RDP, it gives you the name of the machine your on at the top of the window frame.  Also if you set the .DEFAULT user in the registry with the default wallpaper - YOU NEED TO DELETE ALL OTHER PROFILES.  This is due to the fact the the .DEFAULT user settings are only used when creating a profile, and it's the active profile when nobody is logged in (idle at the login screen).  If your profile already exists, your not going to receive the wallpaper settings without using GPO, but you can only specify one file through GPO, not a different one for each server.

I have done a trick before, if you use GPO and the BMP file is kept in the same location, nothing stopping you editing the BMP for each server and replacing their file on each of their wallpaper locations -- as far as GPO is concerned, its the same filename, but differnet image output.  Worth a shot.
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by:Amirsys
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Okay this is frustrating, I have tried all the registry items, the gpedit and BGinfo and found that none of the registry and gpedit work and the need to run BGinfo on every startup and close the screen is not going to work.

The profile I'm working with is new; I have looked in the registry for the username and deleted any ref of it. I have attached a screen shot of the first logon with the account and show what Display properties should be after setting it up in GPedit but as you can see the real display is not set.

I know this should be as dumb as rocks but it's just not working.
Untitled.jpg
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by:nftcadmins
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I have a few questions for you just to try and get a better understanding as all the previous posts should have at least done something.

1. Is the server you are working on a domain controller, the typically have a different group policy / local policy and this should be check to see if there is there set, even if the values are blank it may cause some heartache.

2. Are you positive a group policy isn't overwriting somewhere, check the order in the GP editor.  I have a special policy created for the domain admin which basically negates any default policies we may have applied to the domain.

3. Location and permission to files, double check to make sure the user has access to the files.  Sounds simply enough but its worth a check.

These are some of the gotchas that I can think of off the top of my head, maybe some others can come up with a list of things to check.  I have never seen my suggestions not work so I am interested in knowing why they don't work for you.

I am following along for the ride.
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by:sfarazmand
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Create a shortcut with the following. Put that shortcut in the startup. This should start it up without the window. Just make sure the locations are correct.
"C:\Program Files\BgInfo\Bginfo.exe" c:\Config.bgi /timer:0
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by:sfarazmand
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Almost forgot. I've attached a config file that lists machine, user, OS, Memory, Volumes and Free space.
just make sure you rename to .bgi

Config.txt
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by:Amirsys
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Yes the server I'm working on is a DC, do I need to do this on a non-DC and see if it works?
I don't see it getting overwritten anyplace.
The user is an admin on the box and has full access.
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by:nftcadmins
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Just check to see if the Default Domain Controller Policy or the Default Domain Policy have any of the following policies enabled or configured in some manner.

Enable Active Desktop
Active Desktop Wallpaper
Prevent changing Wallpaper

I have include a couple screen shots to highlight where these are.

Did you try on a normal member server?  How about just on a workstation?  Was either of those successful?
ADWallpaper.jpg
PreventWallpaperChange.jpg
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by:Amirsys
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None of the settings in question are set, all are not configured. When I change the Wallpaper setting in hkey_users/control panel/desktop/
It changes the logon sreen to the new background but not the desktop background.
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by:nftcadmins
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Ok, progress.  Excellent.  So you have check the .DEFAULT background.  Now you will have to log in as the user and do the exact same thing in the CURRENT USER hive.  If you log in with just one admin account on each server then the change is simple as it only affects the one user.  If not, you can proceed a couple different ways.  Create a small script file that will update the 'Current Users' deskop key upon log in.  This negates the need to re-create any profiles.  The second option is to setup the default profile on each server to have this change incorporated, then each profile will have to be re-created.  There is a simple procedure for this as well.

First try making sure that you can set just one user 'the current user' or your logged in profile. By changing the Desktop key under HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Control Panel / Desktop

Let us know.
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by:Amirsys
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okay I can change the Current_User and log off and back on to see the change..what do I need to build for a script to have this setup every time a NEW user logs on?

Thanks for all the help.
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by:nftcadmins
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You will need to create a .reg file somewhere on each server.  The contents being exactly like the following (everything in between the SNIPITs), I called it wallpaperUpdate.reg:

--- START SNIPIT ---
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
"Wallpaper"="X:\\Path\\Filename.bmp"
--  END SNIPIT ---

Change the X:\\Path\\Filename.bmp too where ever and whatever your file is.  Be sure to include the double (\\) slashes.

Open REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

Create a new STRING value called wallpaperUpdate and set the value to "C:\WINDOWS\REGEDIT.EXE /S X:\Path\wallpaperUpdate.reg" without the quotes.  Of course, X:\Path is the location of the attached registry file that you created above.

This will run every time a user logs in and will essential force the change.  It won't prevent the user from changing the background.  However, you can do that from the Group Policies as shown above.

Below is a simple registry code to install the RUN command in registry for you.  Just double click the file and import.  Be sure to update the path.

--- START SNIPIT ---
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
"wallpaperUpdate"="C:\\WINDOWS\\regedit.exe /S X:\\Path\\windowsUpdate.reg"
--- END SNIPIT ---

That should be it.  The changes will take effect after the user logs off and logs back in.
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by:Amirsys
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Okay I have put everything in place to this point but when a new user logs onto the system the background is not set...How did I mess up?..LOL
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by:nftcadmins
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I would bet a small typo, just check the registry under the two different locations, Desktop and then Run to make sure all the proper slashes are in place.  The double slashes are there due to the way Windows imports the reg files.  Just verify all your paths and spelling is corrent.

Before I posted I ran all this through a test server here.  The key is to make sure that the Desktop wallpaper in the registry has been updated to the path you supplied and that the user has access to this file.  You will have to check the registry as the user, which I guess also means the user will have to have access to modify the registry.  They should since its their profile registry they are modifying.

Just log in as the user you want to change the wallpaper for and check in regedit under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
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by:Amirsys
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its not set in the users regedit hkey_current_user\control panel\Desktop...wallpaper
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by:Amirsys
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Okay I'm still having problems with a new user logging on and the background being set. I have attached a screen shot showing the background file location, .reg file location, .reg file setup and registry setting to call this file. When I logon for the first time with a new user the default blue screen is set.
background.jpg
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by:Amirsys
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I'm still looking for help on this.

Thanks
DB
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by:nftcadmins
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Let me take what you have an run a test with it on my end.  I was away for a bit there sorry for the delay.
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by:nftcadmins
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Alright, I have one of my test servers setup with the above configuration.  Just as you have it in the attached picture.  I found that upon log in of the user the background didn't get set, however, after log off and log back in the background was set.  Obvisiously, because the script runs after you log in.

So in order to accomplish this we need to change this a bit.

Let's create a batch script as such;
--- START SNIPIT ---
@ECHO OFF

C:\WINDOWS\REGEDIT.EXE /S C:\Admin\wallpaperUpdate.reg
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\RUNDLL32.EXE user32.dll,UpdatePerUserSystemParameters
--- END SNIPIT ---

Save this file to your C:\Admin folder called wallpaperUpdate.bat.  Then, modify the wallpaperUpdate registry key value to read: cmd /c start /min c:\admin\wallpaperupdate.bat

Note:
The rundll32.exe will then refresh the user profile settings and the background will change.

Let me know how it goes.
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by:j210277
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Use tweakui, here is a link to the 32 bit file http://download.microsoft.com/download/f/c/a/fca6767b-9ed9-45a6-b352-839afb2a2679/TweakUiPowertoySetup.exe

This allows you to modify the registry through this utility.
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by:Amirsys
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I tried that nftcadmins and to test I removed my desktop bacground and was not updated after logon and off. I cmd window opens and then never closes.
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nftcadmins earned 250 total points
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Ok, for the command box to close, just put an EXIT at the end of the batch file.  I forgot that.

The only way I can reproduce the problem is by having a typo somewhere.  I redid all this on a 2003 server and haven't had any problems, except for a typo I made.

I know you probably have done this but just make sure all the paths and file names are correct.

What I did was create the windowsUpdate.reg file, create the windowsUpdate.bat file and then added the windowsUpdate registry run value.  My desktop was set to none and I logged off with it set to none.  I proceeded to log in with my Administrator account and the desktop changed for me.

So I thought I would check with a new user that has never logged onto the server, thinking that the new profile setup might overwrite these changes on the first install.  My new user logon worked perfectly as above.
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by:nftcadmins
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I am curious, after all this work.  Was there any particular reason that you did not use Group Policies?
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by:Amirsys
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I will try it all again in the morning, the reason I didn't work with GP is that I need a different background on each system and not one pushed from the domain.
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by:nftcadmins
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I figured that, for future reference the setting in group policies can be just a path and filename.  Then on each server you just put a different image but leave the file name called the same.  Essential what we are doing above.

I thought you were maybe after somethign else.  I guess it also may be depend on how you have your GPOs laid out for your domain.  In my case, I have a policy specifically for all my servers.  It basically blocks any other policy.  That way I don't get any of the default domain policies.

I have attached a screen shot of the group policy setting that you might want to try instead of this.
GroupPolicyWallpaper.jpg
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by:Amirsys
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I'm sure all the information I was given should work but I'm not able to and at this piont need to move on to other projects. Thanks for all the help and attempts to make it work. Should have been easy but still not working
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