During Kevin Sullivan Group Policy session at TechEd 2010 in the USA this year he mentioned an example of a being able to configure group policy to allow users to select whatever screensaver they want except the one called â€œ(None)â€ (see image below). While this method does not prevent the users from select the (None) from the screensaver options list it will set it back to a screensaver of your choice when the user selects (None) option.
The logic to implement this policy is to test if the SCRNSAVE.EXE registry key exists and if it doesnâ€™t then create the key with the screensaver that you want to enable.
Note: You can also use this tutorial as a guide for applying other group policy preferences settings based on weather a registry key exists or not. A good example you might want to do this for is to test to see if a specific application registry key exists before you apply an application specific registry setting. This helps you keep a cleaner configured SOE by not un-necessarily applying configuration settings.
How to use Group Policy to allow the users to chose any screensaver except (None)
Step 1. Edit a Group Policy Object (GPO) that is targeted to the users accounts you wan to apply this policy
Step 2. Navigate to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry then from the menu click on Action > New > Registry Item
Step 3. Select â€œUpdateâ€ from the Action then type â€œControl Panel\Desktopâ€ in the Key Path: text field then type â€œSCRNSAVE.EXEâ€ in the Value Name text field and â€œC:\Windows\System32\scrnsave.scrâ€ in the Value data: text field.
Step 4. Click on the Common tab and then tick â€œItem-level targetingâ€ and then click the â€œTargetingâ€¦â€ button.
Now we will target the screen saver to apply only when the â€œHKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\SCRNSAVE.EXEâ€ registry key does NOT exist as this means the screen saver has been configured to â€œ(None)â€.
Step 5. Click on â€œNew Itemâ€ then the â€œRegistry Matchâ€ option.
Step 6. Select the â€œValue existsâ€ Match typeâ€ then type â€œControl Panel\Desktopâ€ in the key path field and then type â€œSCRNSAVE.EXEâ€ in the value name field
Step 7. Click back on the targeting setting in the top pane and press â€œF8â€ which changes the option to â€œdoes not existâ€ then click OK and OK.
This policy will now apply the blank screen saver on the next group policy refresh to all targeted users whenever they select the â€œ(None)â€.
Below is a table that shows the screensaver set to â€œ(None)â€ (before column) and then the after a policy refresh the screensaver is configured as â€œBlankâ€ (After column). Then the users has selected the â€œPhotosâ€ (Custom column) screensaver and the policy is refreshed again however this time there is no change as the screensaver is configured with a value so it is not set back to â€œBlankâ€.