Wallpaper / Background Restricted (Greyed) Part 1 – Display Properties

Windows XP Background area located in the Display Properties under the Desktop tab is restricted/disabled (greyed out). The most likely cause of this is malware utilizing Group Policy Objects which enforces policies for system settings and/or user account(s) settings. The Group Policy for Prevent changing wallpaper will cause the Background area to be restricted/disabled (greyed out) in Display Properties when enabled.

Group Policies are typically applied at businesses to control access to programs, system properties, and user account settings. For Home users, Background area can be restricted/disabled (greyed out) by these Group Policies but usually malware is the culprit. If you are a home user and the Background area is restricted/disabled (greyed out) from the Display Properties and looks like the pictures below then there is a good chance you are infected with malware.

NOTE

Ensure your computer is malware free before applying the following solutions.

CAUTION

Before making any changes to the Windows XP Registry, please backup your Windows XP Registry using the direction from "Using ERUNT to back up the Windows XP Registry".

Manual Steps Using Group Policy Editor

NOTE

The Group Policy Editor requires Administrative privileges and is only available for Windows XP Professional Edition. Windows XP Home users can use the Windows XP Registry method to remove the Group Policy restriction.

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type gpedit.msc in the Run dialog box.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. In the Group Policy Editor navigate to:

    User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Display

  5. Double-click Prevent changing wallpaper.
  6. Select Not Configured.

NOTE

If the Background area is restricted/disabled (greyed out) on a per User account basis then the above method will not work, you will need to use the Registry Editor to remove the Group Policy.

Manual Steps Using Windows XP Registry

  1. Click Start and then Run.
  2. Type regedit.exe in the Run dialog box.
  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. Navigate to:

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ActiveDesktop

  5. Right-click {450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103} to select Modify.
  6. Change the value to 0.
  7. Navigate to:

    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ActiveDesktop

  8. Right-click NoChangingWallPaper to select Modify.
  9. Change the value to 0.
  10. Quit the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

NOTE

You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Manual Steps Using REG ADD

  1. Open a Command Window.
  2. Type:

    REG ADD "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ActiveDesktop" /v NoChangingWallPaper /t REG_DWORD /d 0

  3. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  4. Type:

    REG ADD "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ActiveDesktop" /v NoChangingWallPaper /t REG_DWORD /d 0

  5. Press ENTER on your keyboard.
  6. Type EXIT and press ENTER on your keyboard.

NOTE

You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Automated Fix Using an Registration File

  1. Download WllpprBckgrnd.Prt1.Allow.reg to a folder on your hard drive.
  2. Right-click WllpprBckgrnd.Prt1.Allow.reg to select Merge.
  3. Now the registration entries are added for you.

NOTES

The WllpprBckgrnd.Prt1.Allow.reg file is from my web server (http://lprf.homeserver.com).  You also can view the contents of the WllpprBckgrnd.Prt1.Allow.reg file by right-clicking the file and selecting Edit. You may need to log off then log on to your user account or restart your computer for the changes to take affect.

Platforms Tested

  • Microsoft Windows XP Editions

Related Articles

Version 2.1
Edited: May 8, 2012

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5 Responses to Wallpaper / Background Restricted (Greyed) Part 1 – Display Properties

  1. Unknown says:

    I\’ missing all display properties tab  😦
     I\’ recovery sreen save
    but not recovery  :  aparence and desktol! 😦
    how growth fid aparece tab?
    tenks!
     
     

  2. BillJr says:

    Hi,
     
    Try the following to regain your display properties tabs:
     
    Desktop Tab Missing – Display Propertieshttp://billjr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!28CBD6442F406227!362.entry
     
    Appearance and Themes Tab Missing – Display Properties
    http://billjr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!28CBD6442F406227!355.entry
     
    Settings Tab Missing – Display Propertieshttp://billjr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!28CBD6442F406227!679.entry
     
    Screen Saver Tab Missing – Display Propertieshttp://billjr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!28CBD6442F406227!675.entry
     
    Theme Tab Missing – Display Propertieshttp://billjr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!28CBD6442F406227!681.entry
     

    BillJr
     

  3. Unknown says:

    After my XP machine was cleaned of that IS2010 virus, the wallpaper issue was the only one unresolved. This fix resolved it immediately, even without a reboot. Thanks

  4. Pingback: Desktop Tab Missing – Display Properties « BillJr's Space

  5. Pingback: Wallpaper / Background Restricted (Greyed) Part 2 – Display Properties « BillJr's Space

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