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I'm experiencing some strange behavior: I have set the following policies:

User Configuration\Administrative templates\Desktop\Active Desktop

  • Enable active desktop [enabled]
  • Active Desktop Wallpaper [set to local path -- quadruple checked; path is correct]
  • Allow only bitmap wallpaper [disabled]

gpupdate /force, log out, log back in, and the background is just black. If I go into themes, and select Windows 7, the appointed background then shows (it also flashes when logging out).


I've tried:;EN-US;977944
and a few other things, but nothing seems to be working :/

Thanks for any help/tips/advice.

It seems like for some reason the desktop background color is taking precedence. If I go to change the desktop background color, and click "OK", the background image appears, but upon logging out and logging back in, the background is just the color I changed it to...

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I experienced the same problem as you described above...

If you applied all your aforementioned items (registry/hotfix) and you are still experiencing issues, you can try rebooting the "Desktop Window Manager Session Manager" Service and see if the wallpaper appears. If this fixes it, then you can create a batch script that will restart this service upon login. I know this is a kludge, but it's better than nothing.

As for me (and as of today with the latest stock windows updates), I did not apply the registry update and I did apply the hotfix. This hotfix resolved my issue...

The hotfix I am referring to is kb977944. It can be downloaded from Microsoft without any waiting by clicking the "View and request hotfix downloads" at the top of the KB.

Hope this helps someone...


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thanks for the tip! For now, though, everything seems to be working fine (default wallpapers), so I'm inclined to leave well-enough alone. But, when I need to restore one of the machines, or add new ones I will come back to this if it's still not working. Thanks again. – stormdrain Jul 15 '10 at 1:08

i had the same issue of having a black screen when i assign wallpaper via group policies. well the funny thing was that when i checked the wallpaper i had through the personilization option is i could see the name of the wallpaper i had assigned. i remembered where i had stored the pictures and it clicked with me that the users im assigning the policy to dont have read/write access in the shared folder i had created. once i removed them and stored them in a different folder in which is a local shared folder for everyone, i restarted the computer after changing the settings in policy and enforcing via cmd. come log in and boom there is my wallpaper.

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This may help.

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Thanks, but the tl;dr of your link amounts to the same tl;dr in the first link I tried (…). I added the referenced registry key, but no change. – stormdrain May 23 '10 at 21:51
Please always post the relevant pieces from the link, thank you. – Lucas Kauffman Jul 23 '12 at 10:32
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I ended up just leaving the default win7 pro backgrounds.

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