Wallpaper Changer PowerToy Does Not Work Under Limited User Accounts

When logged on to an user account that does not have administrative privileges, you may notice that the Wallpaper Changer PowerToy does not work correctly. When you try to change the wallpaper manually via the Wallpaper PowerToy user interface, error messages CreateFile, WriteFile and CloseHandle appear and the desktop background may not change.


The Wallpaper Changer PowerToy stores the desktop wallpaper file (toyhide.bmp) in the Windows\System32 folder, rather than saving the file on a per-user basis. As limited user accounts don’t have write permissions for the System32 folder by default (assuming NTFS), the Wallpaper PowerToy can’t create or delete the Toyhide.bmp file. Providing limited user accounts with write permissions for toyhide.bmp doesn’t help, as this file is deleted and then created whenever the desktop wallpaper is changed by the PowerToy.

Editor’s note: I’m wondering if redirecting the toyhide.bmp using NTFS Symbolic Links would help. I’ll update this article if that method works correctly.

Third-Party Alternatives

As a workaround, you may use a third-party wallpaper changer tool such as the excellent John’s Background Switcher (requires .NET Framework), or look for other wallpaper changer utilities on the Web.