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I have a PC where the desktop background options are disabled. I have tried resetting the ActiveDesktop - AllowChangingWallpaper (something like that) to no avail. There is no security enabled on the machine, it is running BitDefender after a recent trojan attack. That is all I know at the moment, but nowhere can I find any way to enable the background options.

Machine is running XP Home.

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Microsoft has a Support Article on this problem here. There is 4 keys needed in the registry to enable/disable this functionality:

  • NoDispCPL
  • NoDispBackgroundPage
  • NoDispScrSavPage
  • NoDispSettingsPage

There is also two different registry keys that are affected:



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Also NoDispAppearance. – ProfK Sep 17 '09 at 7:23

Go to Start - Run and start "gpedit.msc" (the Global Policy Editor).

Go to User Configuration - Administrative Templates - Control Panel - Display. Check the configuration of the items "Prevent changing wallpaper" and the 4 "Hide..." ones.

They should be set to "Not configured" or "Disabled".

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gpedit.msc isn't found. – ProfK Sep 11 '09 at 6:52
That is, when I try run it, I get the 'Isn't a command' error. – ProfK Sep 11 '09 at 6:53
Strange, unless the Trojan messed up your Windows XP. gpedit.msc should be in \Windows\System32. From Start-Run, open mmc.exe. Go to File-Open and select gpedit.msc in \Windows\System32. – Snark Sep 11 '09 at 7:42
If it's XP Home, it won't have it – Polsy Sep 11 '09 at 7:52
Hmm, @Polsy, if it's XP Home, surely there isn't a means of disabling the desktop background options? – ProfK Sep 11 '09 at 12:32

The active desktop options are available by right clicking the desktop, choosing properties (which brings up a Display Properties window), Desktop tab(you can set background color/image here), Customize Desktop... button, Web tab(I believe this is active desktop). If you could be more specific about "are disabled", is Customize Desktop button disabled/non existant ?

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No, the customize button is present, but I'm not trying to customize active desktop. As I said, the options on the same tab as the button, i.e. for choosing a background, are disabled. – ProfK Sep 11 '09 at 6:53

Go to:

Look to the right of #128 and see if thats the fix you are looking for.

By the way, there is also a fix to Restore Admin Tools (.msc) # 54

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I see the #128 contains the reg value 'HKCU\....\\ActiveDesktop] "NoChangingWallPaper"=dword:00000000', which I already did, but I'll try the whole package, thanks. – ProfK Sep 11 '09 at 14:21

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