How to Lock the Desktop Background

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To prevent students or employees from changing the wallpaper on a company or school computer, you can change both the Windows Registry and Internet Explorer (IE) settings so that only an administrator can alter the OS' appearance. These configurations will prevent a user from changing the wallpaper through the Control Panel or through using the \"Set as Background\" option in IE.

Edit the Registry

  • Click \"Start\", then \"Run\". Type \"regedit\" into the dialog box. Press \"Enter\" to open the Registry Editor.

  • Expand \"HKEY_CURRENT_USER\", \"Software\", \"Microsoft\", \"Windows\", and \"Current Version\". Click \"Policies\".

  • Click \"System\". Right-click an empty area in the right pane, then hover over \"New\". Click \"String Value\". Name the string value \"Wallpaper\".

  • Create another new string value, and name it \"WallpaperStyle\". Right-click \"Wallpaper\", then click \"Modify\".

  • Enter into the box the location of the image you want to use as wallpaper. Write the location in the format of \"<disk drive>:\<folder>\<filename>\". Click \"OK\".

  • Right-click \"WallpaperStyle\", and then click \"Modify\". Change the value to \"0\", \"1\", or \"2\". \"0\" will center the wallpaper, \"1\" will tile it, and \"2\" will stretch it.

Edit Internet Explorer

  • Launch Internet Explorer. Click \"File\", then \"Open\". Select the file you want to use as wallpaper, then click \"Open\".

  • Right-click the image, then click \"Set as Wallpaper\". Right-click \"Start\", then click \"Explore\".

  • Go to \"C:\", then click \"Documents and Settings\". Click the name of the user you want to keep from changing the wallpaper.

  • Click \"Application Data\", or \"AppData\" and then \"Roaming\". Click \"Microsoft\". Click \"Internet Explorer\". Right-click \"Internet Explorer Wallpaper.bmp\".

  • Click \"Properties\", then click the \"Security\" tab. Select the user group the user is part of. Click \"Edit\". Change all of the permissions, except \"Read\", to \"Deny\". Click \"OK\". Click \"OK\" again.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there is no \"System\" key, right-click an empty area in \"Policies\". Hover over \"New\", then click \"Key\". Type \"System\", then hit \"Enter\".
  • \"Application Data\" and \"AppData\" are hidden folder. To display hidden files and folders on your computer, click \"Tools\" in Windows Explorer, then click \"Folder Options\". Click the \"View\" tab and check \"Show hidden files and folder\". Click \"OK\".

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