How to disable the ability to change the Windows 8 Start Screen background

  • October 19, 2012
  • Read 17,482 times
 

In the event that you need to lock down the Windows 8 Start Screen background image or just do not want a user to have the ability to change it, you can disable it via a policy in the Group Policy Editor or via a Registry key.

Note: If you are using Windows 8 Starter or Premium edition you will not have access to the group policy editor. Instead you should follow the instructions here.

To access the Group Policy Editor you should type Group Policy in the Start Screen and then click on the Settings category. The option for Edit Group Policy should now appear. Click on the Edit Group Policy option and the Group Policy editor will open. Under the Local Computer Policy, expand the tree to the following path:

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization

When you see Personalization, left click on it to select it as shown in the image below.

 

Personalization Policies screen

 

In the right-hand pane you should now see a variety of settings. Double-click on the Prevent changing start menu background setting and its properties screen will open.

 

Start Menu Background policy

 

Select the Enabled radio button and then click on the Apply button. Finally click on the OK button and close the Group Policy Editor. Windows 8 will no longer allow you to change the Windows 8 Start Screen background. If you want to enable this feature in the future, just go back to the same setting and change it to Not Configured.

If you are not using Windows 8 Professional or Enterprise you will not have access to the Group Policy Editor. Instead you will need to enable the setting through the Windows Registry. This setting can be enabled by creating the NoChangingStartMenuBackground REG_DWORD value under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Personalization Registry key and setting it to 1.

Note: You should only use these Registry files if you do not have access to the Group Policy Editor.

If you do not feel comfortable editing the Registry, you can download this Registry file that will disable the ability to change the Start Screen background image for you:

http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/reg/windows-8/policies/personalization/DisSSB.reg

Just download the above Registry file and double-click on it. When it asks if you wish to merge the data, click on the Yes button.

If you want to enable the ability to change the Start Screen background image again in the future you can download and run this Registry file:

http://download.bleepingcomputer.com/reg/windows-8/policies/personalization/EnSSB.reg

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