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Microsoft forbids changes to Windows 7 netbook wallpaper

Redmond-approved art only

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Netbook users running Windows 7 Starter Edition better learn to enjoy Microsoft's default desktop background, because that's all they're getting.

Windows 7 Starter Edition not only blocks end-users from swapping the original Windows-provided wallpaper, colors, and sound schemes - OEMs and partners aren't allowed into the personalization options either.

Within Windows blog first spotted the OEM restrictions, which El Reg has now confirmed with Microsoft.

Branding a PC's default desktop has long been a common practice in the computer vendor biz. With Starter Edition set to be a key Microsoft offering for netbooks running Windows 7 - its seems a bit odd Redmond isn't willing to throw OEMs a bone in this lucrative, emerging market.

According to Microsoft: "In Windows Starter Edition, OEMs must not modify or replace the Windows-provided background for Windows Welcome, the logon screen, or the desktop."

Those wishing to gaze upon Teletubbies, grandchildren, hotrods or sweeping vistas on their desktop will be required to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium or higher.

At least Microsoft no longer plans on limiting the number of applications Starter Edition can run at once - so extremely desperate users can always fall back to running Notepad in the background for makeshift ASCII art. Or is that too sad?

Fortunately, it's a safe bet anti-customization workarounds will be on the internet well before the finalized OS hits store shelves. Look forward to walking your relatives through that process in the future.

So what's the background graphic netbook users will be stuck with anyway? That's a bit of a mystery. Microsoft hasn't yet released the final background artwork. Note to Microsoft: want more people to upgrade to Home Premium? Think crying clowns and primary colors. ®

Top three mobile application threats

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