Overriding Group Policy on Windows with AD. Screensaver.

July 28, 2016

Say you work somewhere that asserts a certain screensaver by group policy. Why on Earth would I want to keep their screensaver instead of my own? Well let's just fix that. First, put the following code in a file on the desktop, call it "reassert_screensaver.ps1". It's a PowersShell script.

$signature = @"
public static extern bool SystemParametersInfo(int uAction, int uParam, ref int lpvParam, int flags );
$systemParamInfo = Add-Type -memberDefinition  $signature -Name ScreenSaver -passThru

$seconds = 5 * 60
[Int32]$nullVar = 0
$systemParamInfo::SystemParametersInfo(15, $seconds, [REF]$nullVar, 2)

$regkeypath = "HKCU:\Control Panel\Desktop"

#Let's get the current hour, and if it's even, do dream aquraium, and odd, nintendo
$date = Get-Date
if ($date.Hour % 2 -eq 0) {
  Set-ItemProperty -Path $regkeypath -Name "SCRNSAVE.EXE" -Value Dream_Aquarium.scr
} Else {
  Set-ItemProperty -Path $regkeypath -Name "SCRNSAVE.EXE" -Value Nintendo_Saver.scr

Replace the screensaver names with the name of the screensaver you want, look in C:\Windows\System32 for options. But don't add the whole path, just the name of the screensaver.

Let's add a task that regularly runs this. Open the task scheduler, and on the right, click on "Create Task..."

Enter this information: in the General tab, in Security options, click the radio button for "run whether user is logged on or not". Doing this will hide the window that would have shown up each time it ran. Give it a name and a description if you want. Click on Triggers.

In Triggers, click New and give a few triggers, depending on how your group policy works. You might only set it to run at log on, or you might have it run every five minutes. Change as needed. You can add a few triggers.

In the Actions tab, click New and set the Program/Script field to "PowerShell", and in the "Add arguments" field, enter the full path to the script, which is something like this if you followed my directions about putting it in the desktop: C:\Users\someone\Desktop\reassert_screensaver.ps1

Click OK below. It will request your password, enter that. You're done! try running the task manually from the task manager to see it work. Change the screensaver, close the window, run the task script, and go back to see that it changed properly.

Contact me at byronka (at) msn.com