Blank Black desktop in Windows 7 domain pcs RRS feed

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  • Do you to change the Desktop Background via group policy to a Slide Show background? If so, it is impossible. We can only deploy a simple background for client computers. All Aero features are still available if you configure the desktop background from Registry.

    You can directly set the background via Registry. Only need to run the following command via startup script.

    reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop" /v Wallpaper /t REG_DWORD /d [the location of the background picture] /f

    If the desktop theme is not Window Aero in this situation, you can try to define the desktop theme and background via the unattended installation file. You may download WAIK, and change the theme via “Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup | Themes”.

    To download WAIK for Windows 7, please access:

    The Windows® Automated Installation Kit (AIK) for Windows® 7 

    To get instruction, please access:

    Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7 documentation (October 2009 Update)

    • Marked as answer by Arthur Xie Friday, November 27, 2009 10:09 AM
    • Unmarked as answer by Creodus Tuesday, December 8, 2009 4:35 PM
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009 6:35 AM
  • Arthur

    We dont want GP to control anything to do with the Windows 7 desktop - it appears to me as if a setting in GP is stopping the slide show background. We want to allow users to customise desktops as they choose, without having to resort to Registry settings, just as they could for Windows XP.  However some setting appears to be blocking desktop customisation in Windows 7 in a logged-on AD environment and for all my knowledge of AD & GP, I cannot find what is causing the issue.

    The computers are built now and running fine apart from this irritating desktop issue, so no plans to utilise WAIK in this situation - this would add more complexity.

    Any ideas how to enable this aero setting?

    Thanks, C
    Monday, November 23, 2009 11:47 AM
  • You can try to not configure desktop background. Set the policy as “Not Configured”. Or you can delete the key Wallpaper under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop in each Windows 7 systems.
    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:08 AM
  • We're having the same issue in our domain.

    No matter what we do, it always reverts to a black background upon login.
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 12:11 AM
  • I've narrowed this down a bit.  It would appear that Aero is the crux of the problem.  If I choose the theme Windows Classic, High Contrast #1, High Contrast #2, High Contrast Black or High Contrast White and pick any solid background the settings stay.

    Any other settings including the theme Windows 7 Basic causes the system to revert to a black background.
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 12:35 AM
  • It seems that the video adapter driver is not correct. Please upgrade the driver for all client computers.
    Arthur Xie - MSFT
    Thursday, November 26, 2009 3:46 AM
  • Arthur
    That does not solve the problem - the drivers are up to date.

    You are clearly missing the point or I am not being clear enough.  We dont want to allow Group Policy any way of interfering with the Aero settings or the background.  We need Aero to work in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate - it was part of the reason for purchasing the software! We dont want GP to set the Desktop Background or the Slide show.  We want the machines to control this directly to get full features from Win 7 Pro and Ultimate.

    It seems that GP in interfering in some way, but I cannot find out where.

    Surely there must be a solution to this or what's the point of having these graphical capabilities in the OS. 

    Thanks, C

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 5:07 PM
  • It is now roughly 6 months since Creodus asked the original question, and it appears that Microsoft is disinterested in providing a solution. For such an expensive OS, I find this attitude incomprehensible; wouldn't you want to provide your customers with competent support to solve problems with your product?


    I am in this thread because I have the same issue on a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional in an Active Directory domain - but only with one particular username. I can lag in that user on ANY of the laptops with Win7pro and duplicate the results.


    HOW DO I FIX THIS? Or is this another case of "Steve Ballmer's got your money, now bugger off, you pesky customer," like usual?

    Thursday, May 6, 2010 6:34 PM
  • do u mean u want to enable the desktop background to shuffle even when the user is using solid colors as their background?

    in that case, this should be a feature request which is not provided in the personalization background feature. this is not an issue.

    maybe you can use workaround, create as much wallpaper in jpg with only solid color that the user want. the use the windows desktop backgrounds feature and browse for the solid color wallpaper. the shuffle feature will work as you want.

    Thursday, May 13, 2010 7:35 AM
  • I had this problem aswell, it turns out that there is an Hotfix for this:


    Hotfix 977944


    kind regards,

    • Proposed as answer by J. Min Wednesday, June 16, 2010 1:25 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Creodus Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:29 PM
    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 1:24 PM
  • Hi J.Min

    I have had a good look at this hotfix and tested it in lab environment, but it doesn't solve OUR problem. Neither do the Workarounds or Group Policy Desktop settings metioned in th KB article. Earlier this year we set a specific GPO linked to the OU to "disable" on the Desktop template - made no difference so removed the GPO.  Still no change.

    Our problem is that we WANT logged on domain users to be able to change their desktop as often (and use slideshow if desired) as they wish using full Windows 7 Aero on the quad core twin graphics card machines they have - specifically built at huge cost for using all the features of Ultimate!

    Something is preventing the user changing the desktop background.  There is one exception - if a background is set using an Internet based image (Context Menu - Set as Background)- it stays set with that image.  It just wont do it from the User's Picture library. 

    There must be a fix...

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010 3:29 PM
  • This is a kind of work around that I've been useing with great success. Belive it or not with Group policy. I set the wallpaper to be for example  C:\wallpaper.jpg    


    Your users can then copy any jpg formated wallpaper they wish to have displayed (includeing those they localy have as long as they name it c:\wallpaper.jpg. 

    I am currently looking at the best way to fix the areo slideshow question as that is one that has not come up with me yet. This is not a true answer but it will allow some flexablity by simply renameing a file.   ( I do understand this is not likely the most desired fix but its the best i've had for the last few months on my windows 7 domain pc's.)

    I will get back to you with a much better fix if i can figure one out.


    Thank you,

    • Proposed as answer by Justin_s Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:21 PM
    Friday, October 1, 2010 6:01 PM
  • Could you not deploy a Corporate standard wallpaper, via a Registry Preference setting? This will apply a wallpaper to the Current User Reg Key, you can also choose this to apply only once for that user.

    This will mean a wallpaper will appear and not show a black screen. You could then ensure that there are no restrictions applied via GPO that prevents the user from changing the background. Ensure that User COnfig/Admin Templates/Desktop/Desktop and Prohibit Changes is set to Not Configured or Disabled. As long as your users can access the Personalisation Menu to change the Desktop Preferences then the user can select whatever background they wish and avoiding a black screen

    hope this helps

    Lee Bowman MCITP MCTS
    Monday, October 4, 2010 12:59 PM
  • Reading this thread from top to bottom makes the support efforts involved seem no less than ridiculous (and no more than just plain dumb).

    The original poster (and the others who have chimed in) have been CLEAR -- the Windows 7 client computer somehow reverts to a condition where ONLY a solid color background is available to the client system user AFTER the client computer joins an AD domain.

    For those still confused, let's do it this way:

    Step 1: Install Windows 7 Professional -- Aero works great!

    Step 2: Join Windows 7 Professional to Windows 2003 AD Domain & reboot

    Step 3: Login as a domain user -- Aero will allow ONLY solid color backgrounds. Choosing ANY theme reverts to a black desktop

    Step 4: Login as a local administrator user -- Aero works great!


    Now there are some simple conclusions to make from this:

    Conclusion 1: WE DO NOT want group policy to play a role in this, but suspect it may be the CAUSE of the problem (not the resolution!)

    Conclusion 2: The system is completely capable of running Aero, and the video drivers are PROVEN to be adequate to the task

    Conclusion 3: Updates and Ease of Access issues have already been tried -- there is something in the process of joining the AD domain that is being set (or NOT being set) that is causing this behavior.


    Now, for some more goodies.... I get the same behavior with I join a Win2K AD domain -AND- when I join a Samba 3.5 domain!

    Which leads me to conclusion #4: SOMETHING in Windows 7 BREAKS when you join it to an AD domain. (Unfortunately, I don't have a client running Win2k8 servers that have also upgraded to Windows 7 yet... Perhaps I'll write back when that happens. In the mean time, I'm happy to provide an image of a desktop system (or even remote access to one) to any MS engineer willing to take this on!

    I have one client who just ordered 25 new systems -- and plans on running ALL of them exclusively in XP MODE -- because this little "glitch" has them convinced that Windows 7 "just isn't stable enough" (talk about ridiculous -- but client's know best!)

    PLEASE -- Someone at MS -- PAY ATTENTION to this post and PLEASE read the entire thread before posting a cut-paste response on how some hotfix allows GP to force the desktop background to some image... that is exactly what we DO NOT want!


    Hoping for some direction!

    Dan McAllister, MSCS, MBA

    Friday, December 31, 2010 3:30 AM
  • It is group Policy.

    You can test in local policy.

    Start - Run "gpedit.msc"

    User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization\

    Enable "Force a specific visual style file or force Windows Classic"

    Under Option - Path to Visual Style:



    You will want to enable this on your Win7 admx template for GPO's to work across the domain, but you can set it locally to test.

    • Proposed as answer by RPM666 Thursday, January 27, 2011 5:24 PM
    Thursday, January 27, 2011 5:21 PM
  • For those still confused, let's do it this way:

    Step 1: Install Windows 7 Professional -- Aero works great!

    Step 2: Join Windows 7 Professional to Windows 2003 AD Domain & reboot

    Step 3: Login as a domain user -- Aero will allow ONLY solid color backgrounds. Choosing ANY theme reverts to a black desktop

    Step 4: Login as a local administrator user -- Aero works great!

    If this is the correct sequence I can think of 2 possible causes:

    1. Policies being applied to domain users --> Run GPresult or rsop.msc and review which GPO's are being applied.

    2. Domain users not having sufficient rights --> try putting a domain user in the local Administrators group and see if it works with that user.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:02 AM
  • It is group Policy.

    You can test in local policy.

    Start - Run "gpedit.msc"

    User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization\

    Enable "Force a specific visual style file or force Windows Classic"

    Under Option - Path to Visual Style:



    You will want to enable this on your Win7 admx template for GPO's to work across the domain, but you can set it locally to test.

    I have tested this as suggested and it makes no difference on a local GP level either.  Using a PC with this local setting logged into the domain, as ssoon as the user selects an Aero theme, the only thing that changes momentarily is the sound as the theme is selected and the Aero window colour.  But the desktop doesn't change.  When the personalization is selected again, the selection has reverted as if nothing was changed.

    I don't know what you are testing on but just to reiterate this is Win7 64 bit (intel Xeon E5530) PC environ throughout logging into Server 2008 STD SP2 AD-DS controlled domain.

    There is a bug here and I am stunned that MS won't address this as Aero was such a key issue in the promo of Win7.


    Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:23 AM
  • Vyruz

    The GP result shows only one policy affecting the Authenticated Users group and that is a policy I added as result of earlier parts of this thread.  This Policy was to "Disable" the Desktop Wallpaper under User Config\Policies\Admin Templates\Desktop.  Adding this policy made no difference either, but I left it there in the vain hope that something miraculous might change overnight during a MS patch session - some hope! (pls excuse sarcasm...)

    The Users against by better judgement were added to their local machine Admin group in an attempt to rectify this - again no difference.

    Still it is nearly 18 months since I first started this thread and still nothing has changed.  So it must not be a high enough issue for MS to worry about as obviously most businesses out there haven't migrated from XP/Server 2003 yet for it to matter.

    I live in hope for Server 2018.


    Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:38 AM
  • I have the same problem with no connection to any domain, just running on a stand-alone PC.

    If you click on the right-hand enf ot the toolbar, you get a flash of the aero picture before it is replaced by the solid desktop colour again.

    The same flash (of insight?) occurs on shutdown.

    I don't need aero (there are several XP features in XP which have been removed from 7 that I desire far, far more greatly than pretty pictures!!) so I run without it, but it is always better to have things which should work available, or you wonder what else has broken.


    Naturallly the domain/policy things don't work on this computer either.




    Saturday, June 25, 2011 10:52 PM
  • I'm just curious, has anyone suggested or tried to adjust the performance options on these PC's? Just open the menu and type performance in the search box, in the search menu that pops up select: Adjust appearance and performance of windows.

    In the popup window select adjust for best appearance this will make sure aero works and "should" free up the desktop wallpaper shuffle assuming it isn't locked down by a GPO or LPO.

    Please remember to flag a post that helps you as "answer" so that it may help others with same problems.
    Friday, August 19, 2011 5:22 PM
  • Has anyone come up with a solution to this problem? I have the same exact issue except it seems that no matter what group policy is applied to the computer, the desktop only allows "solid colors" to be chosen - any wallpapers selected do nothing and the wallpaper remains black. The one thing I found is that this seems to be caused by BGinfo - under the "wallpaper" which is shown under each theme it shows a thumbnail of the correct image but underneath it says "BGinfo". The thing is that this is a clean install of Window 7,  with a clean group policy that has nothing that specifies the "bginfo" script as a logon script so I really don't know where this is coming from.
    Saturday, September 3, 2011 3:43 PM
  • I have the same problem.  I have near 400 machines. Most will do a black screen at some point others never do but I susspect would if certain people who never log onto it did.

    If user A logs on and it happens, and they log off and Log in it will continue to do it.
    If when they log out and I log in as Local Admin and do a GPUpdate /Force and the user logs back in it is fine!  All back to normal.  No further issues.

    If a different user logs on after user A it doesnt mean they will have the same problem and they could log in correctly.

    The GPUpdate might help some and if it does, why!  Whats missing?  WHy does it do this?


    Wednesday, December 7, 2011 9:48 PM
  • Update for this question - This has been our long term solution as we have standardized on the c:\wallpaper.jpg for example and just use sccm to rotate that image on a quarterly (and seasonal) basis. It has turned out Really well to keep a consistant look between all devices.

    Justin Stabenow Server Analyst

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012 12:22 PM