I have a computer lab that contains 20 iMacs running Snow Leopard and Windows XP with Boot Camp.

Windows XP is joined to a Server 2003 domain. I would like to use Group Policy, or some other automatic/scripted solution, to set a specific desktop wallpaper for any user that logs into these computers. This wallpaper is different from the default wallpaper that we use for the rest of our domain computers.

The only group policy settings I can find refers to setting the wallpaper for specific users on all computers. I am looking for a way to set the wallpaper for all users on specific computers.

Is there any way to do this, or am I going to have to remake my image with the wallpaper set in the default profiles?

Snow Leopard is also joined to the domain in order to map users' home directories. I do not have an OS X Server that I can use. Is there a way to automate/force the desktop wallpaper here as well?


  • From memory you can set the wallpaper for all users in Group Policy, and you can restrict a Group Policy by creating a Group Policy Object which only includes the computers you want to set the wallpaper for. – WheresAlice Jan 12 '10 at 17:50

First set the wallpaper you want in the user profile. Then with GPMC, go to Administrative Template \ Control Panel \ Display and set Prevent changing wallpaper setting to Enable . Then go to Administrative Template \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ Active Desktop and set Active Desktop Wallpaper to enable, put your wallpaper on a public share and input the UNC path in this setting.

Your XP user won't be able to change the wallpaper at all.. I use this setup here at work in a school and students are totally unable to change the wallpaper.

Of course that doesn't affect OS X user but that's obvious..

Hope this help.

  • It sounds like I'd have to do that for all users individually? I have about 500 users that will use these computers. I need this to work for everyone even if they have never logged in before. Also, its only 20 computers, but I have other labs that I'd like to setup similarly, so thats why an automated solution is ideal. Thanks. – minamhere Jan 12 '10 at 18:59
  • You don't have to do it manually for each users, you just have to create a new GPO Set inside the Organizational Unit that content all your 500 users and it's all done. – Marc-Andre R. Jan 12 '10 at 19:59
  • I think the "First set the wallpaper you want in the user profile" part might be confusing. You wouldn't need to since you're setting it via the UNC path. – Brett G Jan 12 '10 at 23:34
  • I'm going to look at this on Thursday, but it sounds like you are saying "set up a GP that applies to all users in my domain, and use security(or some limiting method) to make it only apply to computers within this specific OU? As opposed to how I originally wanted to do it where the GP was applied the OU itself, which seemingly will not work. Thanks. I'll report back on Thursday. – minamhere Jan 13 '10 at 4:39

Use a group policy as mentioned is the correct tool, and this answer should tell you want you need to get there.

In your comment you mention that you have this lab of computers in an OU and you want to apply this policy to that OU, but the answer didn't provide details about how to accomplish this.

This is possible and you will have to use something call loopback processing (kb231287). With loopback processing you can basically make any policies applied to the user get evaluated as if the user was in the same OU as the computer account.

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