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Windows Server 2008 - Active Directory - Change Task Bar Color

Posted on 2014-09-09
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Last Modified: 2014-09-28
I have a large environment of servers in test and production environments. Due to the fact that sometimes i cannot differentiate which server is which i want to change from active directory their their task bar color. They are more than 300 servers in both environments so is easily to do a mistake. What are the steps to do that from Active Directory ?

Can i also do that with the Start Button? Can i change for all those servers in the test environment, lets say, the name of the start button to -> TESTING ENVIRONMENT.
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Question by:AndreasChristoforides
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Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40312999
i'm not aware of setting a group policy for configuring a specific color scheme; only preventing users from changing it

maybe bginfo is a better solution...it will put computer info on the desktop and can see the computer name there

BgInfo
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897557
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 40313784
Hello Seth
Thanks for the file, i have seen it before. Unfortunately when i will open a window all those information are not going to be visible to me. That's why i prefer the task bar because that way all service engineer will be able to differentiate what server are they working on anytime. If its a Production or Testing Environment.
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 40332302
So i guess i am not going to receive an answer on this question ... :(
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Accepted Solution

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AndreasChristoforides earned 0 total points
ID: 40338546
i found the solution myself !!  Here it is for those interested:

CHANGE DESKTOP APPEARANCE FOR ALL DOMAIN USERS
The following procedure can be applied to Windows 7 (and later versions) and Windows 2008 R2 (and later versions).

In order to change the desktop appearance for all domain users, you have to first create the theme and then force it using a GPO.
Here are the steps you must follow.

CREATE THE THEME
In a Windows 7 computer, create the theme with your preferred settings and colors and then save it giving a unique name.
The theme will be saved in the “%localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Themes” folder.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/create-a-theme 

SHARE THE THEME OVER THE DOMAIN
Create a folder named “themes” within the “netlogon” shared folder of the AD DC and put there the file.
This file will be accessed only from the AD authenticated users.

ENFORCE THE THEME OVER THE DOMAIN USERS
Create a GPO that enforces the specific theme and restricts any changes to it. The setting you need to edit is the following.
User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization\Force a specific visual style or force Windows Classic
The path to the visual style must be a full network path.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee617164(v=ws.10).aspx 
http://windows7themes.net/en-us/windows-7-theme-group-policy/ 

NOTES
The theme will not force the wallpaper as for it there is another GPO setting you can work with.
The GPO is domain user oriented. That means that if a local user will login to the computer, the GPO will not be applied.
Don’t forget to include the domain admins to this GPO.

For Windows Server 2003, follow the link below.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc782067(v=ws.10).aspx 

TROUBLESHOOTING
The "Load a specific theme" Group Policy setting is not applied correctly on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/980628/en
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Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 40339088
that will work on an OU basis
if you have multiple servers in the same OU then that will be applied to all meaning the color will be the same

if  you have 30 servers in the same OU then all 30 will be the same color
how does that help?
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Author Closing Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 40347402
After several days i have discovered myself the solution and it works perfectly. I found the solution from the Book Windows Server 2012 Unleashed.
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Author Comment

by:AndreasChristoforides
ID: 40349345
Seth that was my idea from the beginning. Because i have a large environment with servers i place them that OU. Then the servers will get that theme.
I have a large test and production environment and i want my engineers to differentiate when they log on a server to be able to understand IMMEDIATELY is that server is in a production or a test environment. Have in mind Seth that in a normal day i myself i might log into 200 servers minimum. So mistakes do happen. With the color on the task bar i realize my engineers so far they did not do a single mistake !
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