Best way to enforce a standard desktop wallpaper for all users via registry in NTUSER.dat file?

Title. I am trying to set a standard desktop wallpaper for all users in my organization during a system image deployment. I have tried modifying the Default user profile (C:\Users\Default\NTUSER.dat) and adding in the appropriate registry keys (HKEY_USERS\DEFAULTPROF\Control Panel\Desktop\Wallpaper, REG_SZ, <path_to_wallpaper>) and adding a key named "System" in (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies), opened "System" key and added the value (Desktop, REG_SZ, <path_to_wallpaper>). When I sign-in as a new user, a new profile is created but the desktop wallpaper settings do not copy over to the user. Is there something I am doing wrong? Do some keys in the registry not copy over, even if they exist in NTUSER.dat profile?

What is the best way to approach this that doesn't involve setting a GPO?

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Answers (2)

Answer Summary:
Posted by: Hobbsy 2 months ago
Red Belt

Have you tried creating a File Synchronisation to overwrite the existing wallpaper file with an identically named by updated file?

  • I have not tried this. I will give it a test, thank you - Steve2 2 months ago
  • It involved a few steps, but I got it working to initially set the correct wallpaper on first user sign-in:
    A. For folder, "C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\Windows\img0.jpg":
    1. Change folder ownership from "Trusted Installer" to "Administrators"
    2. Grant "Administrators" group "Modify" permission
    3. Copy your wallpaper file into the folder
    4. Rename original "img0.jpg" Windows 10 wallpaper to "img0.jpg.bak"
    5. Rename your wallpaper file to "img0.jpg"

    B. For folder, "C:\Windows\Web\4K\Wallpaper\Windows":
    1. Change folder ownership from "Trusted Installer" to "Administrators"
    2. Grant "Administrators" group "Modify" permission
    3. Delete all files inside this folder or rename all files to have a ".bak" file extension suffix

    C. Sign-in with a user account that does not already have a user profile created in C:\Users
    D. Upon sign-in, user will receive your wallpaper as their desktop background

    Now, I would like to be able to change this wallpaper every few months or so. I tried replacing "img0.jpg" with a new wallpaper of my choice but on a user's second sign-in, the new wallpaper does not take effect. What method should I use for this situation? - Steve2 2 months ago
Posted by: StephanF 2 months ago
Senior White Belt

Top Answer

  • I reviewed the content in that link and yes, I still could not get it working in a way that would make it easy to change the desktop on-demand without group policy. I ended up going with this solution: https://www.joseespitia.com/2017/09/15/set-wallpaper-powershell-function/ - Steve2 1 month ago
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