October 2021
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Series – Windows 10 Customization

In this post I will explain how you can use Group Policy to set a desktop background for your users. This can be a nice addition to your end user device environment allowing you to brand your devices.

The first thing I usually do is push the source image to the local device. This is a good idea, especially if your users use the device off-site. It means when processing the policy it won’t have to search over the network to retrieve the source image. This can speed up logon times slightly as the network location may not always be available.

1. Open Group Policy Management Console.

2. Create a new Group Policy Object or edit an existing policy.

3. Edit the Policy & navigate to Computer Configuration >Preferences > Windows Settings > Folders.

4. Here you can right click and choose New > Folder.

5. I usually leave the Action as Update. Add the Path, such as ‘C:\Program Files\LocalFiles’. Variables can be used too.

6. You can change the Attributes so that the folder is Hidden.

These are the only settings I normally change. This will create a folder on the device when it is powered on. Next we need to copy the image to the folder location.

1. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Files.

2. Here you can right click and choose New > File.

3. I usually leave the Action as Update. You need to select the Source file, this is the image stored on your network location that you want to copy to the device.

4. Add a Destination file, this is the location where the background image will be stored on your local device (Use the Folder location created earlier).

This will copy the image file to the local folder location on the device.

The last thing we now need to do is configure a Group Policy that will be applied to your users.

1. Open Group Policy and navigate to User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Desktop > Desktop.

2. Modify the policy setting called Desktop Wallpaper.

3. Enable the policy & add the local path on the device to the image file that you’d like to use as the wallpaper.

Once applied you now need to run a GPUPDATE /Force on your device. When a user next logs on they will have a custom desktop wallpaper as defined in your policy.