Desktop Icon settings error message in Windows Server

Desktop Icon settings error message in Windows Server

As a domain administrator, you should have permission to select the desired desktop icons on a Windows Server 2019. However, when opening these desktop icon settings, one receives a rundll32.exe error message stating that permissions are missing.

Rundll32.exe Error opening desktop icons

When setting up a server manually, I’ve habitually placed the “Computer” icon (formerly My Computer) on the desktop over the years. After this, since Windows Server 2012 is no longer activated by default, the detour leads to the personalization design settings. There is the link to the desktop icon settings.


If you now click this setting as a registered domain administrator, you will get an error message:

The specified device, path or file cannot be accessed. You may not have sufficient permissions to access the item.


So, as a domain administrator, we don’t have permission to change the desktop icons.


Eliminate errors via group policy.

The cause lies in the security settings of the user account control. There only has to be an Administrator approval mode for the built-in administrator account to be activated. You could have figured it out yourself… 😉

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All you have to do is open the local group policy management (gpedit.msc) and navigate to the following path:

Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options

The guideline is “User Account Control: Administrator approval mode for the built-in administrator account“. Open it with a double-click, activate it, and confirm with OK.

Since this is a computer policy, the operating system must be restarted once for the changes to occur. After that, however, the domain administrator can also open and adjust the desktop icon settings.

If you want, you can also distribute the policy via the group policies of the Windows domain. Then this entry can be set automatically after integrating each server into the domain. This saves your work and some time.

Rohit is a certified Microsoft Windows expert with a passion for simplifying technology. With years of hands-on experience and a knack for problem-solving, He is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses make the most of their Windows systems. Whether it's troubleshooting, optimization, or sharing expert insights,