Danny Moran

How to deploy desktop backgrounds using Group Policy

Published July 16, 2022 by Danny Moran

Table of Contents


This is a step-by-step guide for deploying desktop backgrounds using Group Policy. In this example, I show you how to create a group policy object that is used to deploy an image from a file share to a local folder on a workstation, and set the workstation to use that new image as a desktop background. I also show you how to use WMI filtering so that you can target workstations and exclude servers, without having to link the gpo to specific workstation organisational units and without having to enable group policy loopback processing.

How to deploy desktop backgrounds using Group Policy video

How to deploy desktop backgrounds using Group Policy guide

  1. Copy the image you want to deploy to a shared file location.

  2. Open Group Policy Management console.

  3. Create a new group policy object called desktop-background

  4. Right-click and edit the new group policy object.

  5. Navigate to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Files. Right-click Files and press New > File

    • Change the action to: Replace
    • Set Source file(s) to: Use the shared file location where you stored the background image
    • Set Destination File to: C:\Windows\Web\Custom\desktop-background.jpg
  6. Select Apply then Close

  7. Navigate to User Configuration > Policies > Administrive Templates > Desktop > Desktop. Right-click the Desktop Wallpaper policy option and press Edit

    • Change the Not Configured option to Enabled
    • Under Wallpaper Name, enter: C:\Windows\Web\Custom\desktop-background.jpg
    • Change Wallpaper Style to: Fill
  8. You can now close the Group Policy Management Editor.

  9. In the Group Policy Management console, right-click WMI Filters and press New…

    • Set Name to: all-workstations
    • Set Description to: All workstations
    • Select Add and enter the following Query and then press OK:
    select * from Win32_OperatingSystem where ProductType="1"
    • Now press Save to save the new WMI filter.
  10. Select the desktop-background group policy object and select the scope tab at the top.

  11. At the bottom of the scope tab, change the WIM Filtering option from to all-workstations

  12. Select and drag the desktop-background group policy object to your local domain name to link the group policy to your domain.

The desktop-background group policy is now active and will be applied to all workstations.