Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

So I am in a situation where my wallpaper is locked to a specific image on my work computer via group policy. I can't change it via the Personalization settings since it is grayed out and says it has been set by the system administrator.

Anyone know some local GPO and/or registry hackery I can do to override the domain's policy? I could probably get away with logging in under a local account for this, but I want that to be a last resort.

Thanks in advance.

share|improve this question
6  
They call it "policy" for a reason. Even if you knew what registry value to change, the policy would be reapplied the next time your computer processed policy. –  William Jackson May 23 '11 at 13:18
2  
Any changes you make to your local GPO will be over riden by the domain GPO. –  Joe Taylor May 23 '11 at 13:18
    
That said, do you know the location of the file that is used for the desktop background? Can you take the wallpaper you want and save it in that location? –  William Jackson May 23 '11 at 13:19
    
As @William said, its there for a reason. Even if you do mange to get into the reg and change the key, policies tend to update every half hour or so, so this will just revert it back –  beakersoft May 23 '11 at 13:24
add comment

4 Answers 4

Even if there were a hack, GPO is rechecked and reset regularly and each time you log in.

I assume this policy was probably created as an over-reaction to potentially offensive desktop background images.

Petitioning your IT org to change this setting and simply rely on people making the right choice or getting talked to by their managers may be a more effective solution.

share|improve this answer
    
Great points but this is more or less an issue because system admins like to play jokes (like setting people's wallpaper to hello kitty). I'll simply just use a local account :) –  Robert Dailey May 23 '11 at 14:42
1  
Ahh, those mischievous sysadmins. They are so very clever. Can't say I've never done that, but it could result in an anonymous complaint to a corporate anti-bullying line... –  music2myear May 23 '11 at 14:45
add comment

Easy...just do a search for the name of the wallpaper. Once you find the location that has the filename (i.e. wallpaper.jpg), simply rename that file to wallpaper-Old.jpg (or something like that). Next place either the image, or a link to an image, that you want to use in that location with the name wallpaper.jpg ( or whatever the original file's name was). This is just continuing with what W. Jackson was hinting at...

That said, do you know the location of the file that is used for the desktop background? Can you take the wallpaper you want and save it in that location? – William Jackson

This is just a workaround that does not require hacking the registry or any of the sysadmins' settings from A/D or the local machine.

share|improve this answer
    
TNO! This thread is a perfect example showing why users are the greatest security risk to protected resources and end up costing business billions a year...the admin's job continues to go unappreciated! –  packets May 21 '13 at 11:43
add comment

I was able to get around by going to this location in the registry:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

Inside, there's a key called Wallpaper. I deleted it and re-set the desktop background, and it worked.

You'll have to do that every time you log on though, as group policy refreshes itself. (It can also be set to refresh automatically.)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Here is a workaround if you are the local admin on your machine:

...and if you can find the image that the policy is using to set your wallpaper (in my case it was in C:\Windows\Web\wallpaper\backround.jpeg) you can change it's security permissions to deny all.

Next time you log in, the policy will not be able to overwrite the image or set it as wallpaper and hence it will default to a solid colour background. In my case I am still not able to choose a new image for the background because group policy disabled that option; I am however able to choose the Windows 7 default theme which set the background to default black.

I only wanted a black background in my case so I did not try to tinker around with the various read/write/modify permissions on the image itself. However, theoretically, you may be able to make your own image, name it the same as the default group policy background image, replace the default image with the new, change permissions on all groups, users to read only. This way the policy should fail to overwrite the image but succeed to set it as the default background. I have not tried this last bit.

This is the only solution I know off that is not temporary. All other solutions, including those that change the registry settings, will be overwritten by the policy every time you log in.

I tried using DisplayFusion and it does work but the change is temporary to the current session; DisplayFusion software will change the wallpaper to any of your chosing but every time you log out and back in and policy is re-applied, you will have to open DisplayFusion and hit OK to update the wallpaper.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.