Prevent saving to desktop

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 10 May 2007 / Last Updated on 10 May 2007]

How to prevent users from cluttering up their desktops with files.

I don’t know about your company, but when I look at users’ desktops they are usually covered with files, shortcuts, and other junk. Why do they save stuff to their desktops instead of saving it in My Documents where it belongs? Who knows…

But is there any way of preventing users from saving files on their desktops? Yes there is: use Folder Redirection policy to redirect the Desktop folder within a user’s profile to a read-only file share on network server. Note that to redirect this to read-only share you have to use following redirection option: uncheck the "Move folder contents" option and uncheck the "Set ACLs" boxes. As an additional benefit of using this approach, you can also populate the initial contents of users’ desktops if you need to do so.


Mitch Tulloch was the lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. For more about Mitch, visit his website at

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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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