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What to do when Windows XP defaults Display Settings?

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 3/3/2010

You take a lot of time to setup your desktop and the Start Menu Items. You also customize the Taskbar to suit you. However, due to some problems, Windows XP defaults Display settings upon reboot. Let us look at the possible causes and try to fix the Save Settings feature in Windows.

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    Windows XP Defaults Display Settings - A Take on Save Settings Feature in Windows XP

    If your copy of Windows XP defaults display settings, something is wrong with the OS. Windows XP operating system includes some nice features such as the ability to setup your own custom wallpaper, customize the Start Menu, rearrange items and pin the most frequently used programs to the menu so that you can quickly open the programs. You can also customize the Windows Taskbar the way you want.

    Normally, when you shut down the system or log off, Windows XP saves all these custom settings so that the next time you log in, you find the same settings. In rare cases, Windows XP defaults Display settings as it is not able to save the settings when you logoff. When you login later, you get the same old Windows XP default settings.

    By default, the Save Settings feature is set to ON. You cannot change it unless you use some kind of Windows XP Tweak. Only your system administrator can turn off the feature using Group Policies so that Windows XP does not save the custom settings on exit, or if someone is really good at understanding the insides of Windows XP, he or she may turn off the Save Settings on Exit feature using the Windows Registry.

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    Troubleshooting Windows XP: Restore Save Settings Feature using Group Policies

    If you are running a standalone computer with Windows XP Professional, the task becomes easy for you. You can use the same method if you are on a network of Windows XP computers and have administrator privileges.

    • Open the RUN dialog box and type GPEDIT.MSC before clicking OK. Once you click OK, the group policies window opens.
    • Expand User Configuration to locate Administrative Templates. Expand Administrative Templates and locate Desktop.
    • Click on the Desktop option. Towards the right pane of the window, you will find a set of policies that can be customized. Scroll down to Don’t Save Settings at Exit. Check the value. If it shows Not Configured or Enable, double click on the row to open the Don’t Save Settings at Exit box. In the box, click on Disable and click OK.
    • Close the window and reboot to see if your settings are saved. If the Display settings return to the Windows XP default settings, then you will have to manually rectify this using the Registry.
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    Checking the System Registry for the Problem

    • Type RegEdit in the RUN box. This will open the registry editor.
    • Locate the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
    • In the right side of the window, you can see NoSaveSettings. See if the value is set to 0. If it is set to 1, correct it by changing its value to 0. You do this by double clicking on NoSavesettings. This will open up a small dialog wherein you can change the value.
    • Reboot and check if this solves the problem. If this also does not solve the problem, you will need to check if all the system files are in place.
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    Windows XP defaults Display Settings - Using SFC to Fix Save Settings Feature in Windows

    • Open the Run Dialog box and type SFC /ScanNow. Press OK.
    • The SFC will test the location and condition of the system files. (It will take some time and may also require the Windows XP Installation CD.)
    • Once the check is complete, the SFC will list a number of files that need to be re-registered. To re-register the files, use the RegSvr32 command.
    • Use the command for each file that is reported to be invalid or missing by the SFC command. To re-register a file, type RegSvr32 followed by a space and then the filename. Then press the Enter key.
    • Repeat the steps for each file.

    This should solve the problem where Windows XP defaults display settings. If you are still facing default settings problems, you need to reload Windows XP.

    Windows Tip: You may use the Windows System Restore to fix Save Settings problem in Windows (if the Display settings were not creating problems initially).