Applying a Windows 7 theme through Local Group Policy makes the desktop black. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am trying to create a Windows 7 image to deploy to about 2000 public access computers. The user account that the public will use is a domain account which is locked down with Server 2003 Active Directory Group Policy. I can't unlock this account every time I want to configure a computer because I have computers in production using it. We use a third party application for reservation and authentication that is not compatible with Windows 7 desktop backgrounds. I have to change the background to "Solid Colors" and sellect a color. If I don't do this the interface for this application is black. I figured out that there is an option available in Local Group Policy that will allow me to activate a specific Theme, "User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization\Load a specific theme". The problem is that when I try to do this the whole desktop turns black. I can't find a whole lot of documentation about how to do this so I'm just kind of winging it. Can someone tell me how to do this or where I can find instructions that explain the whole process?

    tweaton: I have solved this problem, sort of. First; I tried to create a custom Default User and discovered that it is no longer possible to use the User Profiles Copy To feature to copy to the Default User account. In order to copy a custom profile to the Default User I had to use an Unattend.xml file and run Sysprep. I remembered reading that other developers experienced a similar issue when they tried this so I had to start over. I re-formated the hard drive and re-installed Windows. Then I created a Themepack and applied it using the local non-administrator Group Policy Object. This gave me the Theme that I wanted and my application launched with the proper colors but I now have a bigger problem. Because the Unattend copy to feature is too buggy to depend on I can't modify my Default User. I need to place some application shortcuts on the desktop. I could just browse to the Default User Desktop folder and create them but that does not solve the first run experience. Office aplications require the user to make some decisions the first time they are executed in a new profile. At the very least, every time a new computer is imaged someone will have to run through this routine. Just one more task for a technician to have to remember to do! But what happens when I need to use a Guest account for my public access computers. Since a guest account does not create a permanent profile, every time it logs in it's like a first run experience and my users will have to make those first run decissions!

    Microsoft; Why is it that you persist in shooting me in the foot? You assume that everyone who uses Sysprep is imaging brand new computers to be delivered to brand new users! But I work for a library where we serve the public, and the computers that we maintain are only new once! We often have to re-image computers that have been corrupted from consistent use and abuse. I don't need to simply deliver new computers with brand new first experience Operating Systems on them. I need to deliver a consistent, reliable experience to litteraly thousands of users that is always what they expect and does not require them to do my job every time they login to a computer! Plleeeeees help me provide it! How do I get those icons on the desktop and have the respective applications launch consistently without having to re-configure them every time the user logs in again?!!!!

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:11 PM