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We have Macbook Airs running 10.8.1. These are exposed to students in a k-12 setting. I'd like to restrict their ability to change the wallpaper of the desktop. Is there a setting to configure?

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2 Answers 2

In Terminal, the following:

chown (USER)

Where (USER) is the short user name.

Then, lock that file:

chflags uchg /Users/(USER)/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist
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Can you specify which shortname to use for the (USER) variables? I have an admin account and a student. When I enter: chown admin /Users/student/Library/Preferences/com.apple.desktop.plist It says permission denied. –  Pangea Oct 1 '12 at 23:56
Isn't it owned by the user by default? Anyway chflags uchg didn't work for me. The desktop picture is changed before the plist is modified. –  ؘؘؘؘ Oct 2 '12 at 0:22
This doesn't work with Safari option "set image as background" –  Napolux Sep 27 '13 at 7:09

I didn't find any way to prevent changing the desktop picture, but you could just change it back to the default every few seconds.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC -//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST
1.0//EN http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd>
<plist version="1.0">
        <string>tell application "Finder"
set f to POSIX file "/Library/Desktop Pictures/Galaxy.jpg"
if desktop picture is not file f then set desktop picture to f
end tell</string>

Save the file above as /Library/LaunchAgents/com.stackexchange.apple.65938.plist, change the owner, and load the plist:

sudo chown root /Library/LaunchAgents/com.stackexchange.apple.65938.plist
sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchAgents/com.stackexchange.apple.65938.plist

The property list is loaded automatically when users log in.

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I have just started getting an error when I type in sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchAgents/com.stackexchange.apple.65938.plist I get launchctl: Dubious permissions on file (skipping): /Library/LaunchAgents/com.stackexchange.apple.65938.plist nothing found to load Any suggestion on where to start looking for for a solution? –  TiggerTazz Nov 7 '14 at 19:12

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