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Servers: W2k8 R2 x64
Desktops: Win7 Pro x64

Our current group policy uses a custom ADM file to define certain properties of the desktop (Background Image (centered), Background Color is green (00 74 00)). This policy works for us, but the down-side is that policies defined in our custom ADM are only applied after a GPUpdate /Force is applied. We would like these desktop theme settings to be applied the first time the user logs onto the computer.

I've been working on a new policy that forces the computer to wait for the network when the user logs on to handle folder redirection. The reason for writing the new policy was to resolve the issue that a user needs to run GPupdate /Force the first time they log in, so it doesn't make sense for me to implement the new policy if there is still something that requires GPUpdate /Force to get the user in the state that we want them.

I've moved the setting for background image out into Admin Templates-> Desktop-> Desktop-> "Desktop Wallpaper" so this is now being set properly when the user first logs in.

Now I'm left with a black background until I force a group policy update. I have tried to play around with setting a default "Theme" and had limited success; this was not reliable enough to call a solution.

I suppose I could set the background color with a script? Any thoughts? It feels like I'm missing something obvious, or that this should be much easier than it is.

share|improve this question
if you do gpresult does it show that the GP is being applied to that user? It is strange that it isn't taking effect. Perhaps the policy is taking effect before the user profile is fully setup so while its firing, it can't properly change the setup until the second login. (Just thinking out loud). Worse comes to worse, you can script it like you suggested. Try creating the user without the GP applied, logout, apply the GP and then login. If it works then, your timing might be off for the GP. – MikeAWood May 9 '12 at 18:37
I have confirmed through GPResult and RSOP that the policies are being applied. I will give that a shot; at the very least I will hopefully come out knowing more about the problem. Thank you! – Tyler May 9 '12 at 19:21
User policies should be applied when the users login. If you have to run gpupdate before they get applied, then something isn't right. – Zoredache May 9 '12 at 19:37
The rest of my user policies are being applied at login time. Just the custom-defined policies are not. – Tyler May 10 '12 at 14:37

I came across this on Technet that might also be the same problem that you are running into.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for taking the time to post, very much appreciated. I had seen that posting as well. The difference between my situation and that one is that in my current situation, I am not trying to apply a theme when the user first logs on. Instead I'm just setting the background image and attempting to set the background color. – Tyler May 9 '12 at 19:17

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