Displaying useful connection information on the desktop wallpaper

by Jeremy Saunders on October 27, 2008

Updated on 6th April 2010…

Like most IT professionals, I’ve been using Bginfo to embed some useful information in the wallpaper of a users Desktop for some years now. So what you say! Well…not too long ago Warren Simondson of CTRL-ALT-DEL IT Consultancy created a couple of cool utilities called TSBackdrop and PCBackdrop. I was specifically interested in the TSBackdrop utility, as it automatically displays items such as the Client Computer Name, Client IP address, Username and the Server which the Client is logged on to, on the user’s desktop background. This is great for Terminal and Citrix servers, and something that Bginfo lacks.

However, I wanted the best of both words; the ability to display ordinary text, as well as displaying this useful client connection information on the user’s wallpaper. This is now easily achievable with thanks to the lastest release of Warren’s tools.

So my challenge was to first run Bginfo to create an updated bginfo.bmp, and then use TSbackdrop to reference the bginfo.bmp and create a TSBKDRP.BMP in the users “My Documents” folder. I basically wanted the desktop to look something like the following screenshot (without the red boxes of course).

So to achieve this I needed to copy the following 4 files to each Citrix server:

  1. Bginfo.exe
  2. Standard.bgi (the Bginfo template)
  3. TSBackdrop.exe
  4. ResetWallpaper.vbs (my script, which is what this article is all about)

You also need to place a Shortcut to the ResetWallpaper.vbs script in the “%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs\Startup” folder, so that it runs every time a user logs in.

Be sure to set the Target of the shortcut to %SystemRoot%\system32\cscript.exe //nologo “%ProgramFiles%\BGInfo\ResetWallpaper.vbs”

…and the Start in to %ProgramFiles%\BGInfo

You can place these 4 files anywhere. I have always placed them in a “%ProgramFiles%\BGInfo” folder. Hence the references to it in these scripts.

This is all handled by the following InstallBGInfo.vbs script.

' BGInfo and TSBackdrop installation script.
' For Terminal/Citrix Servers we are using a combination of SystemInternal's BgInfo and
' CTRL-ALT-DEL's TSbackdrop to create a nice informative wallpaper for all Terminal/Citrix
' server users. The BGInfo.bmp file is placed in their %TEMP% folder and the TSBKDRP.BMP
' is placed in their "My Documents" or "Personal" folder.
' Before we proceed we first need to check that the "Terminal Services" (TermServ) service
' is running, otherwise using the WMI provider to query the Win32_TerminalServiceSetting
' properties will return a null value. Note that the WMI provider namespace is slighly
' different between Windows 2003 and Windows 2008.
' The script has also been structured to deploy to ONLY BGInfo to non Terminal/Citrix
' servers. In this case, the BGInfo.bmp file is placed in the %SystemRoot% folder.
' Version 1.3 released on 21st October 2009.
' Written by Jeremy@jhouseconsulting.com on 26th November 2008.
Option Explicit</dirtycode:installbginfo.vbs>

Dim objFSO, objFolder, wshShell, strOS, oShellLink, strRole, strBGI
Dim strSystemRoot, strProgramFiles, strAUStartup, strScriptPath
Dim strProgramFolder, strCommandLine, blnReturn

set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

strOS = GetOSFamily()

strRole = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%Role%")
Select Case ucase(strRole)
  Case "XENAPP"
    strBGI = "CitrixXenApp.bgi"
  Case "RDS"
    strBGI = "MicrosoftRDS.bgi"
  Case Else
    strBGI = "Standard.bgi"
End Select

strSystemRoot = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%SystemRoot%")
strProgramFiles = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%ProgramFiles%")
strAUStartup = WshShell.SpecialFolders("AllUsersStartup")
strScriptPath = Left(WScript.ScriptFullName, InstrRev(WScript.ScriptFullName, "\"))

'Create the Program Files folder
strProgramFolder = strProgramFiles & "\BGinfo"
If objFSO.FolderExists(strProgramFolder) Then
  Set objFolder = objFSO.GetFolder(strProgramFolder)
'  WScript.Echo strProgramFolder & " already exists."
  Set objFolder = objFSO.CreateFolder(strProgramFolder)
'  WScript.Echo "Created " & strProgramFolder
End If

'Copy the files and templates
objFSO.CopyFile strScriptPath & "Bginfo.exe", strProgramFolder & "\", True
If isTerminalServer(strOS) Then
  objFSO.CopyFile strScriptPath & "ResetWallpaper.vbs", strProgramFolder & "\", True
  objFSO.CopyFile strScriptPath & "TSBackdrop.exe", strProgramFolder & "\", True
  objFSO.CopyFile strScriptPath & "Bginfo.txt", strProgramFolder & "\", True
End If
objFSO.CopyFile strScriptPath & strBGI, strProgramFolder & "\Standard.bgi", True

If NOT isTerminalServer(strOS) Then
' Run BGInfo, which will create the BGInfo.bmp file.
' This will then allow us to give users modify permissions on the file.
  strCommandLine = chr(34) & strProgramFolder & "\Bginfo.exe" & chr(34) & " " & chr(34) & strProgramFolder & "\standard.bgi" & chr(34) & " /timer:0 /NOLICPROMPT"
  WshShell.Run strCommandLine,1,True

' Check for the existence of the BGInfo.bmp file. If it doesn't exist, call the MonitorFileCreation
' subroutine and pass it the folder and file to monitor.
  If NOT objFSO.FileExists(strSystemRoot & "\BGInfo.bmp") Then
    Call MonitorFileCreation(strSystemRoot,"BGInfo.bmp")
  End If

' Set permissions on the BGInfo.bmp file to allow users to modify it.
' Note that you can either use xcacls.vbs or xcacls.exe here. I chose to use xcacls.vbs, which
' is automatically copied to each server during the automated server build. Also note that you
' use M for modify rights with xcacls.vbs, whilst xcacls.exe uses C.
  strCommandLine = "cscript.exe " & strSystemRoot & "\XCACLS.vbs " & strSystemRoot & "\BGInfo.bmp /E /G Users:M"
  WshShell.Run strCommandLine,1,True
End If

'Create the Start Menu Startup folder Shortcut
If isTerminalServer(strOS) Then
  Set oShellLink = WshShell.CreateShortcut(strAUStartup & "\ResetWallpaper.lnk")
  oShellLink.TargetPath = chr(34) & strSystemRoot & "\system32\cscript.exe" & chr(34)
  oShellLink.Arguments = "//nologo " & chr(34) & strProgramFolder & "\ResetWallpaper.vbs" & chr(34)
  If objFSO.FileExists(strProgramFolder & "\Bginfo.exe") Then
    oShellLink.IconLocation = strProgramFolder & "\Bginfo.exe" & ",0"
  End If
  Set oShellLink = WshShell.CreateShortcut(strAUStartup & "\BGInfo.lnk")
  oShellLink.TargetPath = chr(34) & strProgramFolder & "\Bginfo.exe" & chr(34)
  oShellLink.Arguments = chr(34) & strProgramFolder & "\" & strBGI & chr(34) & " /timer:0 /NOLICPROMPT"
End If
oShellLink.WorkingDirectory = strProgramFolder

Set WshShell = Nothing
Set objFSO = Nothing
Set objFolder = Nothing
Set oShellLink = Nothing


Sub MonitorFileCreation(strDirectory, strFile)
Dim strFullPathandFile, strComputer, objWMIService, colMonitoredEvents
Dim objLatestEvent, strNewFile, arrNewFile, strFileName
  strFullPathandFile = strDirectory & "\" & strFile
  strDirectory = chr(34) & Replace(strDirectory,"\","\\\\") & chr(34)
  strComputer = "."
  Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
    & "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & _
        strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
  Set colMonitoredEvents = objWMIService.ExecNotificationQuery _
    ("SELECT * FROM __InstanceCreationEvent WITHIN 10 WHERE " _
        & "Targetinstance ISA 'CIM_DirectoryContainsFile' and " _
            & "TargetInstance.GroupComponent= " _
                & "'Win32_Directory.Name=" & strDirectory & "'")
    Set objLatestEvent = colMonitoredEvents.NextEvent
    strNewFile = objLatestEvent.TargetInstance.PartComponent
    arrNewFile = Split(strNewFile, "=")
    strFileName = arrNewFile(1)
    strFileName = Replace(strFileName, "\\", "\")
    strFileName = Replace(strFileName, Chr(34), "")
    If StrComp(strFileName,strFullPathandFile, 1) = 0 Then
      Exit Do
    End If
  Set objWMIService = Nothing
  Set colMonitoredEvents = Nothing
  Set objLatestEvent = Nothing
End Sub

Function GetOSFamily()
  Dim strComputer, oWMIService, colOSInfo, oOSProperty, strCaption, strOSFamily
  strComputer = "."
  Set oWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
  Set colOSInfo = oWMIService.ExecQuery("Select * from Win32_OperatingSystem")
  For Each oOSProperty in colOSInfo
    strCaption = oOSProperty.Caption
  If InStr(1,strCaption, "2008", vbTextCompare) Then strOSFamily = "W2K8"
  If InStr(1,strCaption, "2003", vbTextCompare) Then strOSFamily = "W2K3"
  GetOSFamily = strOSFamily
  Set oWMIService = Nothing
  Set colOSInfo = Nothing
End Function

Function isTerminalServer(strOS)
  Dim strComputer, strNameSpace, objWMIService, colItems, objItem  
  strComputer = "."
  If ucase(strOS) = "W2K3" Then
    strNameSpace = "\root\cimv2"
    strNameSpace = "\root\cimv2\TerminalServices"
  End If
  Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _  
    & "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & strNameSpace)  
  Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery _  
    ("Select * from Win32_TerminalServiceSetting")  
  For Each objItem in colItems  
    Select Case objItem.LicensingType  
      Case "2"  
        isTerminalServer = True  
      Case "4"  
        isTerminalServer = True  
      Case Else  
        isTerminalServer = False  
    End Select
  Set objWMIService = Nothing  
  Set colItems = Nothing  
End Function  

The ResetWallpaper.vbs script is as follows:

' We are using a combination of SystemInternal's BgInfo and CTRL-ALT-DEL's TSbackdrop to create a nice
' informative wallpaper for all Terminal/Citrix server users.
' Thanks to Warren Simondson at CTRL-ALT-DEL for making the required modifications to TSbackdrop so
' that I could reference the BGinfo.bmp bitmap file.
' Version 1.2 released on 21st October 2009.
' Written by Jeremy@jhouseconsulting.com on 27th October 2008.
Option Explicit</dirtycode:resetwallpaper.vbs>

Dim WshShell, fso, strProgramFiles, strSystemRoot, strUserTemp, strKey
Dim strBGInfoLocation, strTSBackdropLocation, strCommandLine

set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

strProgramFiles = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%ProgramFiles%")
strSystemRoot = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%SystemRoot%")
strUserTemp = WshShell.ExpandEnvironmentStrings("%Temp%")

strKey = "HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\"

strBGInfoLocation = strProgramFiles & "\BGInfo\Bginfo.exe"
strTSBackdropLocation = strProgramFiles & "\BGInfo\TSBackdrop.exe"

If fso.FileExists(strBGInfoLocation) Then
  If RegValueExists(strKey & "Wallpaper") Then
    WshShell.RegDelete strKey & "Wallpaper"
  End If
  strCommandLine = chr(34) & strBGInfoLocation & chr(34) & " " & chr(34) & strProgramFiles & "\BGInfo\standard.bgi" & chr(34) & " " & "/timer:0 /NOLICPROMPT"
  WshShell.Run strCommandLine, 7, True
End If

If fso.FileExists(strTSBackdropLocation) Then
  If fso.FileExists(strUserTemp & "\bginfo.bmp") Then
    strCommandLine = chr(34) & strTSBackdropLocation & chr(34) & " " & chr(34) & strUserTemp & "\bginfo.bmp" & chr(34)
  ElseIf fso.FileExists(strUserTemp & "\bginfo.bmp") Then
    strCommandLine = chr(34) & strTSBackdropLocation & chr(34) & " " & chr(34) & strSystemRoot & "\bginfo.bmp" & chr(34)
    strCommandLine = chr(34) & strTSBackdropLocation & chr(34)
  End If
  WshShell.Run strCommandLine, 7, True
End If

Set WshShell=Nothing
set fso=Nothing


Function RegValueExists(sRegValue)
' Returns True or False based of the existence of a registry value.
  Dim oShell, RegReadReturn
  Set oShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
  RegValueExists = True  ' init value
  On Error Resume Next
  RegReadReturn = oShell.RegRead(sRegValue)
  If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    RegValueExists = False
  End if
  On Error Goto 0
  Set oShell = Nothing
End Function

So now we can display useful and informative information for users that will make it easier for them to differentiate between their “normal” desktop, and that of their Citrix/Terminal server session, or even a Virtual Desktop session, and also provide them with the relevant information needed when communicating with the IT Helpdesk Support Staff, such as their Client name, IP address, and server they are connected to.

How cool is that???

But wait…it gets even cooler!

I am also using Login Consultants ReconnAct! to run the ResetWallpaper.vbs script when a user reconnects to a disconnected session. This works well because if a user reconnects to a session from a different client, or they have obtained a new IP address, etc, this information will be “dynamically” updated on their wallpaper.

I have to end this article with some limitations:

  • The TSbackdrop information would only display when positioned in the centre of the image. Warren has clearly documented this in the TSBackdrop.txt file.
  • The TSBKDRP.BMP file can get to 2 or 3 MB in size, depending on the screen resolution of the session. This is also because I have BGInfo configured to create it’s bmp output file in True Colour (24 bit), and TSBKDRP.BMP bases itself on this. Since it’s placed in the user’s “My Documents” folder, this means that it’s typically located on a File server, and not local to the Citrix/Terminal server. Perhaps Warren can add an option so that it’s placed in the %TEMP% or “%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data” folder. Then it remains local to the server, and does not get effected by roaming profiles and/or redirected folders. After all, it’s just made up of session information, relevant only to that server/session.

Some may think that I’ve gone to such enormous efforts for little gain. I strongly disagree. The use of these cool utilities, and implementing them correctly, adds to the useability and supportability of the overall solution.

Download the scripts in one convenient zip.

A couple of final comments.

  • I have tested these scripts on Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 32-bit and 64-bit servers.
  • Don’t use the wallpaper to display messages to the users. Too much background text is messy. You are better off using a Message Of The Day banner.


Jeremy Saunders

Jeremy Saunders

Independent Consultant | Contractor | Microsoft & Citrix Specialist | Desktop Virtualization Specialist at J House Consulting
Jeremy is a highly respected, IT Professional, with over 30 years’ experience in the industry. He is an independent IT consultant providing expertise to enterprise, corporate, higher education and government clients. His skill set, high ethical standards, integrity, morals and attention to detail, coupled with his friendly nature and exceptional design and problem solving skills, makes him one of the most highly respected and sought after Microsoft and Citrix technical resources in Australia. His alignment with industry and vendor best practices puts him amongst the leaders of his field.
Jeremy Saunders
Jeremy Saunders
Jeremy Saunders

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