How to Restrict Users from Changing Desktop Wallpaper in Windows


Sometimes you may need to restrict your local users to change the wallpaper. In the domain environment, it is done remotely using the server Group Policy. The group policy is applied to all the network users who join the domain network. An administrator can create many policies to apply to users such as restriction of background changing, theme changing, access to some specific programs and much more.

In domain network, we can also set software installation using the server group policy. It means that the domain administrator sets a policy and shares a software installation file through the server group policy objects. Whenever a user joins the domain, the software is installed automatically on the user’s computer.

Restrict user to change wallpaper using the Windows Group Policy

The local restriction means that the limited users on a standalone or workgroup computer can be controlled using the local group policy of the computer. A system administrator can set the group policy to prevent the users to perform some tasks such as changing wallpapers, accessing the specific application, and much more. For local group policy implementation, you need to be the administrator of the system. You have to make some changes in the group policy of your computer.

Follow these step by step instruction to get done.

First of all, open the group policy editor by typing gpedit.msc. Press the enter button to open group policy editor.

The group policy will open and look like as shown below.

Group Policy Editor

You need to make some changes in the group policy objects under the User Configurations>administrative templates>Desktop.

GPedit Desktop Settings

Open the Desktop subkey in the right pane, here are all the desktop settings which you can easily change.

Desktop settings

Here are all the desktop settings which you can change. If you want to restrict user don’t change the desktop wallpaper, select the “Desktop Wallpaper” option. Change its setting from “Not Configured” to “Enabled” and add a wallpaper that you want to set for the user. Enter the path of the wallpaper image in the “Wallpaper Name” box and select wallpaper style from the list of center, fill, stretch etc.

Desktop Wallpaper

Click OK button to save the changes you made in the desktop options. The group policy option is applied now, you may need to log off the user and re-login and the new desktop will be set. And the user will not be able to change the wallpaper.

Restrict user to change wallpaper using the Windows Registry

In a first way, we used group policy to restrict a user to change the wallpaper. We can also set these restrictions using the Windows Registry. We need to make changes in some registry keys using the Windows Registry Editor.

Follow these step by step instructions to make it possible.

Open Windows Registry Editor by typing “regedit” in the Run command bar.

Regedit Run

The registry will be opened and you will see all registry options in the left pane.

Registry EditorSelect the following setting keys HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\

PoliciesRight-click on the policy folder and select New>Key and name the new key as ActiveDesktop.

Also, read: How to run the only specific application in Windows and block other applications

Click on the ActiveDesktop folder and right click in the right pane and select New>DWORD(32-bit) Value and name it as NoChangingWallpaper. Click the newly created DWORD value and set its value from 0 to 1 and click “OK”, it means that user will not be able to change the wallpaper.

No Change WallpaperNow create a new Key under the Policies folder and name it as System. Now create 2 new string values under the System folder and name them as Wallpaper and WallpaperStyle.

Add Keys