Lock wallpaper – Prevent changing it in Windows

It is becoming more and more common that when using our computer we want to customize it as much as possible to our liking. For this, Microsoft allows several options, among which changing the wallpaper is the most popular. However, it is possible that, if we use our PC in a shared way, we want to prevent any other user from making certain system settings, such as changing the background that we have established.

Although it is not an easy option to find and use, it is possible to disable this function in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 if we want to prevent other users from changing the background without our permission, in the event that we are concerned that someone can add something inappropriate. This is something that we can do either from the Local Group Policy Editor or from the Registry Editor.

Lock wallpaper - Prevent changing it in Windows

Once the relevant modification is made, no user of our device will have any possibility to change the wallpaper, either using Windows Settings or Control Panel. Even if they right-click on an image, the option to change the desktop background will be grayed out, preventing any changes from being made.

Next, we are going to see the necessary steps that we must carry out in case we want to block the desktop background so that nobody can change it. The process is the same for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 users. Before we start, we need to make sure that we set a default picture on the desktop. Later, we can make use of these tools.

Using the Directive Editor

The easiest way to get around this change is to use the Local Group Policy Editor which is available in both the Pro, Enterprise, or Education versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11. Here are two ways you can accomplish this task. On the one hand, we can apply a default desktop background or be able to prevent users from changing the desktop background settings.

To access the Policy Editor, we will use the Windows + R key combination which will open the Run command. Here we type gpedit.msc and click OK, which will open the editor.

Prevent desktop background change

Once we have accessed the Directive Editor, we must navigate to the following path:

Configuración de usuario / Plantillas administrativas / Panel de control / Personalización

This will bring up a list of options in the right panel. Here we must locate “Prevent changing the wallpaper” and double click on it.

Editor de directivas Impedir cambiar el fondo de pantalla

Next, a new floating window will appear where the Not configured option will be marked, so we must change it and mark “Enabled” . Once this is done, click on “Apply” and “OK” to save the changes, without having to restart our computer, since the configuration will be applied immediately.

Habilitar Impedir cambiar el fondo de pantalla

To verify it, we can access the Configuration menu by pressing “Windows + I” and access the “Personalization” and “Background” section. Here we can see how the “Customize background” option is disabled. Right at the top is the message “Some of these settings are managed by your organization” .

Personalizar fondo desactivado

If at any time we wanted to put an end to this modification, it would be enough to repeat the previous steps within the Editor and select the “Not configured” option.

Apply a default desktop background

Alternatively, we can also use the Policy Editor to apply a desktop background, which also prevents other users from changing the background image.

To do this, once we have accessed the Editor we must navigate to the following location:

Configuración de usuario / Plantillas administrativas / Active Desktop / Active Desktop

Once here we locate the entry called “Desktop wallpaper” and double click on it.

Editor de directivas Tapiz de escritorio

This will open a new window where we verify that it is set to “Not configured”, so we must mark the “Enabled” option.

Editor de directivas Tapiz del escritorio habilitar

At the bottom, in the “Options” section, we must write the path of the image that we want to set as the default background. In the Wallpaper Style section we choose between “Fit”, “Center”, “Tile”, “Expand”, “Extend” or “Fill”. Once finished, click on “Apply” and “OK” and restart the computer so that the changes are applied correctly.

On this occasion, if we access the “Settings” section of Windows, click on “Personalization” and “Background”, we can check how the possibility of changing the background is disabled and that the message “Some of these settings are managed by your organization”.

If we have changed our mind we can cancel these changes, repeating the previous steps and selecting the “Not configured” option.

From Registry Editor

As with the Policy Editor, there are two ways you can accomplish this task from the Registry Editor. So we can apply a default desktop background or prevent users from changing the wallpaper settings.

To access the Editor we are going to use the key combination “Windows + R” which will open the Run command. Here, we type regedit and hit Enter or OK button.

Prevent wallpaper changes

Once we have accessed the Registry Editor, we navigate to the following path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Policies

Once here, we right-click on the “Policies” folder and select “New” and “Key”. We assign the name of ActiveDesktop and press enter.

Editor de registro NoChangingWallPaper

Next, we right-click on this created key and select New and DWORD (32-bit) Value. We assign the name NoChangingWallPaper and press Enter. Now we double click on this created DWORD value and change its value from 0 to 1. Lastly, click OK, close the Editor and restart the PC.

In this way, no user will have the possibility of changing the wallpaper that we have established on the computer available.

Apply a default wallpaper

As with the Policy Editor, we can modify the Registry to apply a specific desktop background from it, thereby making it impossible for other users to change the image. To do this, it will be necessary to navigate to the path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Policies

Once here, we right-click on the Policies folder, select “New” and click “Key”. We assign the name “System” and press Enter.

Now, we right-click on the folder, select “New” and “String Value”. We assign the name Wallpaper and press Enter. We double click on it and set the path for the default wallpaper we want to use. For example, C:/flowers.jpg.

Editor de registro wallpaper

Next, we right-click in the right pane, select “New” and click “String Value”. We assign the name WallpaperStyle and press Enter. We double click on the newly created string and change its value to set the style of the background. For this we can use:

  • 0: centered
  • 1: tiled
  • 2: expanded
  • 3: adjust
  • 4: fill

Editor de registro WallpaperStyle

Once the desired style is established, click on Accept, close the Registry and restart the PC, to check the new background and that it cannot be changed in the traditional way.

We can revert the changes at any time by deleting the “ActiveDesktop” and “System” folders that we had created in the Registry.