Locking Wallpaper in XP Pro

By hammerv ·
Hello - I'm tech coordinator at a high school and have been trying to close off all avenues of changing the wallpaper on my XP Pro student machines.
Alas, my smart students always seem to find a way to change them.

In Group Editor, under
User Configuration >
Administrative Templates >
Control Panel...
I have enabled "Prohibit Access to Control Panel".

Then also in Group Editor, under
User Configuration >
Administrative Templates >
Control Panel >
I have enabled "Prevent Changing Wallpaper".

But they still get it changed!!

Does anyone know all the ways to change wallpeper aside from the ones above and how to close them off?

Does anyone know of a software that will close of all ways to change wallpaper?


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No Problemo!

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to Locking Wallpaper in XP P ...

I can fix those kids for ya. :-)

The easiest way is to add a custom registry key for that purpose. Since my two sisters are teachers who had a similar issue (in fact, one is in Dayton and the other in Cincinnati, imagine that), I have created a registry file that will easily perform the update. Plus I have a second one that will reverse the action as well.

With it installed, they won't be able to change any Desktop settings.
I'd make one that slapped their hands, too, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

Anyway, I will be happy to send you the two REG files in a zip file as an attachment if you send me an email. Just go to my profile page in TR and click on 'Send Private Message' in the upper right.

But in case you prefer doing it the hard way (and for the benefit of others), I have pasted the REG file contents below.

If your students are extremely savvy, you could invest in a program called DeepFreeze. With it installed, you won't have to worry about any changes they make because when you reboot, everything is back the way it was. The next day, they won't even find any remnants of what they cooked up. I think it costs about $25.

Good Luck


***Warning: Performing manual changes to the Windows Registry incorrectly can make Windows inoperable. It is always advised to perform a Registry backup and setting an XP Restore point prior to making changes to the Registry.***

(involves DWord values set to 1)


<edited for clarification>

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Or try this...

by hammerv In reply to No Problemo!

First of all, thanks Cap'n! This is a possible solution, although wafter posting the question, perhaps came across another slightly easier fix.

Back in GPedit, under:
Administrative Templates >
Desktop >
Active Desktop...

You can enable "Enable Active Desktop", and then Enable "Active Desktop Wallpaper" and set the wallpaper at that time to what you would like it to be.

I looked very hard, but could not find any setting anywhere in GPEdit to slap the kids hands. Alas!!!
But if you find anything along those lines...!!

Anyway, between that and blocking access to Control Panel and Preventing Changing Wallpaper, we may have this problem licked.

Thanks you also for the tip Deep Freeze. Me and my staff (one student helper!) have been using the trial version and find it wonderful.
Tyhis of course also will restore icons to their place which was going to be my next project.

Does your Cincy sister work in CPS?


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Good idea

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to Or try this...

My sis in Cincy does work in a public school. At least for the next few years until she retires. She's teaching Elementary now.

Let me know if you want those REG files. They make short work of the task at hand in that they simply make the wallpaper selection inoperable.

Good Luck in fighting the good fight.

Glad I could help.

It is greatly appreciated if you tag useful responses as 'Helpful' by opening that post and clicking the 'Mark Helpful' button at the bottom. That way, people with a similar situation in the future will be able to quickly see what ultimately helped. Thanks.

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by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to No Problemo!

Although this registry tweak does safely disable the ability to change the wallpaper in Display Properties, it has been noted that users can still right click on .bmp and .jpg files in Thumbnail View in Windows Explorer and select 'Set as Desktop Background.'
There is currently no known way to safely disable this ability using a registry tweak.

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See this thread...

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to Locking Wallpaper in XP P ...

This thread holds the best answer.
(the one submitted by Old Mycroft)

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