Ask the Expert

Options for using group policy to change XP wallpaper

Recently you advised a reader to use group policy/local policy to change Windows XP wallpaper. In order for this to work under group policy, do you need to use the Active Wallpaper option, which requires the enabling of Active Desktop, or is there another way of forcing a desktop without enabling Active Desktop?

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Even with the Disable Active Desktop policy enabled, the user can change the wallpaper. However, I wasn't able to change the wallpaper by using the Active Desktop Wallpaper policy while Active Desktop was disabled. Also, if you set both policies, Disable Active Desktop and Active Desktop Wallpaper, the user can't change the wallpaper and Windows XP ignores the Active Desktop Wallpaper policy.

This was first published in November 2003

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