Microsoft Really Does Not Drop Background Limitation in Windows 7 Starter
Article by George Norman
On 18 Jun 2009
Windows 7, the next iteration of the Windows-based operating system will come in six different flavors once Microsoft puts the OS on the market come October 22nd. Out of the 6 SKU versions of Windows 7, the one that provides the least amount of functionality is Windows 7 starter. While Microsoft has decided to pull some of the operating system’s limitations, it seems the company is dead set in keeping one limitation that to my mind is kind of ridiculous – you cannot change the default wallpaper.

This limitation came to light back in March when it was uncovered by Microsoftie Rafael Rivera. At the time the bigger issue was that Windows 7 could only run 3 programs at once, so the “you cannot change the wallpaper” issue took second place. But once Microsoft announced that it will allow Windows 7 Starter to run more than 3 apps, we were expecting the Redmond-based software giant to drop the latter limitation as well. Apparently we were wrong.


According to Rafael Rivera, it is not the end user alone that cannot change the wallpaper in Windows 7 Starter; original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are not allowed to change the background wallpaper either. This is the official statement from Microsoft: “In Windows Starter Edition, OEMs must not modify or replace the Windows-provided background for Windows Welcome, the logon screen, or the desktop.”

If that rattles your cage, here are some other features you will not be getting with Windows 7 Starter:
- No Aero Glass effects, which means that you can only use opaque themes like “Windows Basic”.
- You cannot modify the window colors and the sound schemes.
- You will have to log off in order to switch between users.
- No support for multi-monitor systems.
- No DVD playback support.
- No Windows Media Center (which means you cannot watch recorded TV and other media).
- No Remote Media Streaming.
- No domain support for business customers.

The only upside is that even though Windows 7 Starter is meant for small notebook PCs (or netbooks), you do not necessarily have to use this Win7 version to power the device. As Windows Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc explained earlier this month “Windows 7 Starter should not be considered “the netbook SKU” as most machines in this category can run any edition of Windows 7.”

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7, Windows 7 Starter
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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