back to article Microsoft forbids changes to Windows 7 netbook wallpaper

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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    All I have to say is

    *Farter* edition, more like.

    Mine's the coat with the brown stain.

  2. Chris Haynes
    Stop

    Desktoptards...

    Is there anything more ludicrous? Can Microsoft handle this any worse? Customising your own PC is pretty much a given, and always has been. For them to stop you from changing your own desktop smacks of straw-grasping at ways of making the next version seem like the better choice.

    Desktoptards.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Customization??

    Would that be something like overwriting the image file with another?

  4. James O'Brien
    Gates Horns

    Whats to stop someone

    From finding the file for it and replacing the default file with one they want but keep the name the same? Or a registry hack that will allow it? Not to mention WTF is the reason for this?

  5. Vlad The Impatient
    Gates Horns

    Is this petty or...

    ...just desperate?

    I am, in fact, almost enjoying this! LOL

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    The reason is...

    Microsoft wants you to BUY the most expensive version possible you dummies!

    Penguin all the way ;-D

  7. Michael 10
    Gates Halo

    Better than the alternative

    While I don't understand what reason there is for blocking it, I do think they're making the right move in blocking the companies from doing it.

    I'm fine with he standard green hills and blue skies, but I think a giant brand logo as my background would drive me insane (although I don't think I'll ever get anything running this stripped 7)

  8. Tone
    Thumb Down

    Another PR Disaster..

    What are the numpties thinking??

  9. Dustin 1

    Is this for users, or just the OEMs

    I could understand telling OEMs to keep thier crap off of the os, but changing of the background by end users, thats a stupid move.

  10. jim 45
    Thumb Down

    unbelievable

    They might as well call it "Ender Edition".

  11. Graham 25

    This is funny

    You do have to wonder about the state of sanity of marketing people who come up with stuff like this :)

    "You can have any colour you want as long as its black" - Henry Ford

  12. Tim Hale 1
    Gates Horns

    Face <- Hand

    And this after their 'Engineering Windowws 7' blog said that they discovered that people like to customize and that they've add more features in to allow people to do just that. So now they say yes, but if you're on a netbook you're too stupid / tight / poor to have this Microsoft goodness bestowed upon you. Surely they aren't claiming that the hardware can't cope with different wallpaper?

    They're so deluded and divorsed from reality it makes me wonder it they're actually MPs...

  13. Mike Gravgaard
    Dead Vulture

    RE Whats to stop someone

    I bet Microsoft make the background image file protected with Windows File Protection and also don't include Regedit by default.

    I don't understand why Microsoft do this though for a product aimed at netbooks when they have strong competition from Linux.

    I believe the only reason Windows beats Linux in the netbook market is due to:

    -Microsoft does nice licensing details Asus and friends to keep linux out of this market

    -The Windows versions of these machines have better hardware specs at cheaper prices!

    I wonder when Microsoft will learn from their mistakes but I really don't think that they do.

    Mike

    Reg grave stone aimed at Microsoft for a stupid knee/foot shooting incident. Now if only they could place the gun nearer their head next time!

  14. James 55
    Boffin

    Hahaha?

    What on earth?

    I can imagine the fools sitting around a desk with their pencils tapping away and then, during an awkward silence, one of them mentions that they could block desktop changes. Then they all go Yea, yea, yea (like in parliament) just to fill the awkwardness.

    Knob jockeys.

  15. Yan-Jie Schnellbach
    Flame

    Microsoft tries to eliminate netbooks?

    So... basically Microsoft is unable to program a good slim, no-frills OS for netbooks. So instead of brushing up their programming and make it work, they rather try to make netbooks go away?

    Because that's what all Starter edition plans are sounding like.

  16. Lost in a maze of twisty messages, all alike.

    Isn't it obvious ?

    M$ will announce that "OK, you can change your desktop background after all", and everyone will sob with gratitude.

    In the euphoria, some much bigger and more significant but less immediately visible limitation will go unquestioned until after launch, when it will be revealed (as with Vista home basic) that it really is so crippled as to be useless.

    It's how M$ deliberately and habitually does things, as El Reg reminded us in a recent M$ EU antitrust article.

  17. Dave Bell

    And what will the picture be?

    I don't know that I even want a background picture when I'm working. It just consumes resources anyway, and a plain colour works OK.

  18. SkippyBing Silver badge

    MS in competion with Gordon Brown

    To see who can fuck up something simple most spectacularly. Obviously GB was doing well by screwing up the MP's expenses overhaul and the Iraq war enquiry but MS may well have caught up with this move. Mind you I think GB's Rwanda/Twitter comment may be a slam dunk on his part....

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Emo

    Duh

    Just buy the oem version of the one you want, mucho cheaper than in a store :)

  21. Jerry Masterson
    Go

    Think crying clowns and primary colors

    So the desktop will be a photo of typical Windows users?

  22. Miek
    Linux

    Overwrite ...

    Overwrite the 'bliss.bmp' or whichever over saturated picture they set as the default. I do that for all win PCs I setup. I am soooo sick of looking at that nasty blue and green hills cack.

  23. Eduard Coli
    Thumb Down

    Why?

    Why do Windows people put up with this crap anyway?

    You pay for the license to use Ballmer's software and it shows.

    If M$ wanted to force the issue then they should put a Ballmer family reunion pic as the lockdown background.

  24. Miek
    Linux

    Better than the alternative?

    Surely Ubuntu is a good alternative. Android and Moblin look promising too.

  25. Charlie Barnes
    Gates Horns

    Harder?

    "Look forward to walking your relatives through that process in the future."

    I would imagine it would be easier than the current methods provided by Microsoft.

  26. steward
    Gates Horns

    If M$ isn't going to allow modifications...

    why would anyone bother with an M$ computer anyway? That's the only feature they have available that trumps Apple.

  27. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    oh noes

    Why would anyone want to change? M$ are so good with artwork and design, look at how well their geeks knocked up a full 800x600ppi tellytubby land for XP, and had the expertise to make it 8-bit heavily compressed with no anti-aliasing and turned the colour and contrast up to 13.

  28. SynnerCal
    Coat

    It's a joke you dummies

    This 'finding' is a joke by Microsoft - then they can suddenly change that one registry key and let folks change what they want - the feature added "due to public demand". Meanwhile it keeps Windows7 in the news.

    After all, if you can't change fonts, colours, etc then they might just run foul of the visual impaired. Personally I wouldn't even countenance such as hellishly restricted kludge.

    Windows 7 Starter Edition? On this basis maybe they should rename it "Windows 7 for the Clueless" (and PC World will _still_ try and sell you a copy of Norton for it!)

    Still, if a netbook with Win7SE on it is cheap then it'll be a boon for all the penguin herders out there - come in Ubuntu Netbook Remix...

  29. dervheid

    Knob...

    Heads

    That is all!

  30. cookieMonster
    Thumb Up

    Fecking Brilliant !!!!

    Their competitors could not have done a better job at getting people to choose an alternative. Just who the f&%K is running the show in that place?

    Me thinks the *NIX/Apple crowd have a mole working inside the beast. Its the only logical conclusion to the clusterfuck that this release is turning into.

  31. Balefire
    Black Helicopters

    How to stop change?

    To all those who say "Why not just overwrite the file?" Either Lost @19:08 is correct and they are using it to cover for something else which is worse, or they could bury the graphic in a required .dll file which cannot be changed without screwing the entire system. You know, the same way they embedded bits of IE into random system files purely so it is impossible to completely remove.

  32. Herby Silver badge

    Resources???

    Maybe they can't change the wallpaper. Typical netbooks have limited resources (disk, memory) so it may be that the netbook after loading the Windows 07 operating system and all the other junk that comes in an OEM version has there isn't any room left over to load some simple wallpaper, or the program to make it work. What with Windows 07 being a resource hog (what version of Windows isn't!) it will barely work anyway.

    Upgrades available, please send money to: upgrade OS, more memory, more disk! But it isn't a netbook then (oh, well!).

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The Plot ...

    They lost it some time ago.

  34. Doug Glass
    Go

    Ah Hell ....

    Wipe it and install XP, or Linux ... or buy a MAC. Lots of choices

  35. Small Wee Jobbie
    Joke

    A title is required

    I always change my users desktop to Aqua...looks nice and they seem to appreciate it!

  36. David 45

    Compulsory?

    Will owners not be able to turn the wallpaper off altogether? It's a well-known fact that wallpaper and other uneccessary fancy graphics drain system resources and I would imagine that a netbook needs all it can get. My own home desktop machines have no wallpaper and are set for "best performance" in properties and "classic" appearance. Dull, I know, but not having to struggle to maintain all the fancy graphics and/or wallpaper does perk them up quite considerably.

  37. Jimbo 7

    started edition

    Windows Started Edition bare bones OS for cheapest OEM netbooks and laptops available only in certain regions

    99.9% of you will not buy this version, so why you talk crap about it? Who cares?

  38. Defiant
    Thumb Down

    Sad & Pathetic

    Oh look another knock at Microsoft and the Linux geeks are lining up to thank them for it, losers

  39. sprpwr
    Dead Vulture

    Spysheriff

    Just browse for malware and it'll change it for you!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Will anyone use starter edition anyway?

    Linux works much better for netbooks, since all you need is Firefox, a text editor and perhaps OpenOffice and an mp3/video player.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Here have some title

    MS are so proficient at the "aim gun at foot and pull the trigger" method of public relations, does this REALLY come as a shock to anyone? I mean seriously this isn't the first time it's happened and not the least of their gaffs in this whole situation.

  42. Tommy Pock

    Microsoft's business model

    ...is blonde.

  43. the spectacularly refined chap

    Crippleware

    There is no need to say any more really is there? That just shows how competitive MS thinks they are, that they can remove trivial features from a product, call it an upgrade, and then charge to replace the features removed. Let's hope the European commisson make mincemeat out of them. Again.

  44. cmw
    Linux

    Accessibility

    I am not sure that people with a visual impairment will be particularly happy.

    There is no way they can get away with that without being challenged.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility

    I am therefore fairly confident that microsoft will backtrack on this idea.

  45. Treacle
    Linux

    When the leader is NOT seated in the Tao...

    To paraphrase Lao Tzu: When the leader is NOT seated in the Tao... then the whole company is not in the Tao. Given how autistic Chairman (Rockin' Mr.) Bill is, and how devious their early competative efforts were, it's no surprise to me the depth of awkwardness they design into every single product they produce. They continue to trip over themselves for a shrinking iota of market share. Bye bye M$, it's been a pain in the ass knowin' ya! I don't know Linux very well now, but the future has penguins written all over it.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do MS have any money left?

    There is the find $10000 in Oz and now this, just to get free publicity!

    Or are MS starving the financially challenged competition free publicity?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Default wallpaper

    I hope it's goatse

  48. Justin Clements

    @defiant

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAAAAAHAHAAAAHAHAHA

    M$ Fanboys got fucked.

  49. Charles Manning

    re: Resources??

    Most phones, with far more limited resources, can change wallpaper.

    If it has got enough space and grunt to handle Windows 7, it can handle wallpapering. Even WinCE devices can do this.

  50. Charles Manning

    BingBook? LiveBook?

    If M$ marketing had an ounce of savvy, they'd be doing brand leveraging - weave the brands together to help support new products. Apple does this well with the whole iXxxx thing.

    Netbooks fit in with whole idea of clouds and network teathering. They should call these things LiveBooks or Bingbooks or something.

    Your Bingbook is just a Bing portal.

    It would then make some sense to defeat customising the wallpaper or doing any OEMing. Just have the Live or Bing branding as the wallpaper to re-enforce the whole concept.

  51. Chris Haynes
    Paris Hilton

    @Graham 25

    "You can have any colour you want as long as its black" - Henry Ford

    Except he never said that. Sorry.

    "You can have any operating system you want, as long as it's Windows" -- Monkey Man Ballmer, probably.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Re: Sad & Pathetic

    "Oh look another knock at Microsoft and the Linux geeks are lining up to thank them for it, losers"

    Who are the losers here? According to the average Microsoft apologist, what Microsoft offers is apparently what the punters want, no much how much is held back (and how much crapware is pre-loaded) on the possibility of upselling the user on premium stuff.

    Of course the average Wintard will revel in the "guru" status of knowing how to perform the rocket science-like operation that is "changing the wallpaper", performing such parlour tricks to amazed looks from easily impressed relatives. Everyone else would benefit from running with the penguin.

  53. WithinRafael
    Alert

    Not a simple image swap

    To those wondering what's holding the image in place, have a look at http://www.withinwindows.com/2009/03/31/correction-starter-wallpaper-more-secure-than-i-thought/

    Short version: SHA-256 hash.

  54. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Oh great

    Yet another attempt by Microsoft to bludgeon their customers into spending more money.

  55. Kevin 6

    Well

    At least Microsoft saved me the money I was tempting to spend on Vist.. err I mean windows 7.

    Guess I'll stick with Windows 2000 till nothing works (or can be hacked to work) on it anymore. Hopefully by then the penguin army will sort out the nightmare that is Linux. Or someone makes a hack for the 1st Beta of Windows 7 to work without a time limit.

    I actually wanted the starter edition for my desktop seeing it sounded almost like the original windows 7 beta release, not that clunky RC release.

  56. Michael 22
    Linux

    Microsoft - or Microstrangulation?

    Microsoft has always played dirty, but most of its aggressive tactics have been against other companies. Even DOS entered the world stained. It was based on CP/M, and copied a lot from that first microcomputer OS written by Gary Kildall, the real father of the PC operating system (google "Gary Kildall and Collegial Entrepreneurship").

    Microsoft tried to kill OpenGL, an excellent open source alternative to Microsoft's Direct X 3D graphical programming interface (actually, Direct X is not Microsoft's, it was originally bought from a firm in London, just as DOS was bought). Bill Gates dismissed the Internet as a commercial dead-end, then, later - seeing his mistake - did what he always does: bought himself out of trouble, as opposed to innovating his way out. Gates stole the browser market from its creators by offering IE, an inferior product, free with Windows.

    Microsoft continues to play dirty by not making IE compatible with industry standards. Users who use other browsers will occasionally encounter "errors" with them. That's because these browsers will fail to render correctly Web sites that are designed to work perfectly ONLY with IE. But IE is non-standards compliant! Users who don't know this will blame their browser, instead of Microsoft. A Web site that doesn't follow Web standards - only IE standards - is not a Web application - it's a Windows application!

    Microsoft is doing its damnedest to kill Linux, too. We should support Linux as a second OS. If we don't, we might one day regret the decision.

    Microsoft's monopoly matters, because it's not merely a technology company - it's a company out for power, and isn't shy about using that clout to influence politics, and, hence, our lives.

    Once all of Microsoft's competitors have been strangled to death, who knows what is in store for us powerless consumers and citizens.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ Defiant

    "Oh look another knock at Microsoft and the Linux geeks are lining up to thank them for it, losers"

    Eh?

    You regard this kind of thing as normal? Has the concept of "I paid for and own this computer" so I'll configure it as I choose", ever dawned on you?

    How else do you expect intelligent people to react to this kind of nonsense? A software manufacturer (and that's the clue here) that deliberately sells a ham-strung and pathetically crippled edition of their "flagship" OS (titter) that hasn't even got the kind of features that Win3.1 had more than fifteen years ago -- i.e. configurable wallpaper, colours and the ability to run more than three things at once? "Sad and Pathetic" is right, my friend, but it isn't us who are buying into it!

    You could NOT make up some of the latest clueless bullshit from MS these days. They have seriously lost it. Foot meet bullet. They have NO CLUE about what's happening in the outside world and wouldn't know innovation if they fell over it, which is kind of sad because they were obviously quite good at it once. Or maybe they just got lucky. I don't know.

    Dirty tricks, world-class monopoly investigations, weird marketing campaigns, flogging deliberately broken products and treating their customer base like mentally defective children is neither a winning nor confidence -inducing way to behave. And the less said about Ballmer the better!

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Windows 7 Wallpaper

    I wonder whether Windows 7 Starter Edition wallpaper is similar to the more expensive version. That's a pretty spacious (1366x768 pixels) for advertising; free banner for Microsoft. Well done!

  59. Giacomo Bruzzo

    Just a sign of great

    Pettiness and smallmindedness from Microsoft marketing folk.

    WHAT A BUNCH OF WANKERS

  60. Wrenchy
    Linux

    I see that....

    everybody is up in arms with this decision. If Apple made this decision with OSx, all you iSheep will be licking Steve Jobs' balls saying "Oh thank you Steve. Whatever you say Steve. Can I lick your sweaty balls some more Steve?".

    Why is it when MicroShaft makes a controversial decisions like this, it's wrong. BAD MS. Let's involve the International Antitrust Legislators. Blah blah blah. If Apple does it, it's ok? WTF.

    DAMN BOTH COMPANIES.

  61. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    @ Graham 25

    Actually, it's any colour so long as it's NOT black.

    Otherwise, how would you be able to tell the pirate version from the original?

    (Of course, if one *were* to pirate a copy, you'd go straight to the Platinum edition. This still makes no sense.)

  62. RW

    @ Yan-Jie Schnellbach

    "So... basically Microsoft is unable to program a good slim, no-frills OS for netbooks"

    Win98 would do the job quite nicely with updated drivers.

    Never mind that it has a version of DOS sitting down underneath. It worked, and worked well, on much less powerful hardware than we have today.

    Best of all, it supported 16-bit apps, some of which have never been equalled for simplicity and ease of use.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Shame...

    From a company they are, in theory, suppose to 'lberate', ease of function... publicy.. yet make us suffocate. Overly dominate our automated resources with their strangulation control and yet 'we' be denied as such of a simple change over of a wallpaper?!

  64. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Windows users, enjoy...

    This is a logical conclusion of Microsoft's trend to put more and more artificial restrictions (both artificial software blocks and increasingly draconian licensing terms) into their software. Enjoy!

    So, with Windows 7 starter, EU edition (if Microsoft got their way with their current negotiation with EU).... well, I hear people use netbooks mainly for web surfing and light word processing and people that want Windows want it to run XP apps. How's this grab you for a netbook OS:

    No DVD support

    No customization of the interface (screen background, window colors!, etc.)

    No desktop effects (no Aero...)

    The icing on the cake:

    No XP compatibility mode

    No word processor

    No web browser

    This makes Windows 7 starter sound particularly unappealing, and WIndows 7 anything else will be a large fraction of the cost of the netbook. I think this brings a wide opening for Ubuntu etc. to go onto more machines than it already is.

  65. Eddie Johnson
    Dead Vulture

    A Last Desperate Grab

    At holding on to a dying business model.

    Treat your users like crap and lock features away, that's a great way to grow your market share.

  66. Tam Lin

    Free Advertising

    Ballmer has painstakingly cultivated Microsoft's image with customers, OEMs, governments and partners for nearly a third of a century. To capitalize on this investment, it follows that Microsoft should use this opportunity to greet its customers with an unalterable background picture of The Finger. After all, what image[1] could possibly represent "The Microsoft Attitude" more succinctly?

    [1] Actual image may vary in Italy and Sri Lanka.

  67. cordwainer 1
    IT Angle

    Quid pro quo customization restrictions for Redmond

    Can't someone out there modify (cough hack cough) all of Microsoft's company PCs so the desktops display only streaming complaint letters? From everyone worldwide who has completely lost patience with their idiocy? I'd gladly contribute money to that cause :-)

  68. yossarianuk
    Linux

    Moblin

    After just playing around with moblin2 I can safely say that Win7 should be no threat .

    Only morons will buy it unfortunately there are a lot about...

    I think the wallpaper image they should FORCE on people should be a image of Tux pointing at you with the words "Ha Ha Ha Ha"

  69. Mikey
    Boffin

    One thing everyone forgets...

    ...Is who this product is actually aimed at. New users. Who are, these days, very thin on the ground, as even schoolkids have a fairly good grasp of how to use a computer. So I can see the target market for Win7 SE as very small to begin with, which will only get smaller.

    99.9% of the people (or trolls) who leave comments here will never consider buying such a product, so slagging it off seems rather petty and cheap. If it is indeed as dire as people make it out to be, then sure, no-one will buy it. But maybe thats the point? There IS a cheap option, but it might not be the best, so everyone will avoid it anyway. You patys yer money, you takes yer pick.

    So far, the whole 'No DVD software' argument has made me laugh. How many netbooks has anyone seen with a DVD drive, and how many people will bother to lug a USB one around with them? If you're going to rip your existing media to a portable format, you dont need specific DVD software to play it back, just anything capable of MP4. So yeah, thats no problem, unless you WANT to make it one.

    No customisation of the interface? To be fair, if you're going to make a netbook choke with extra detail then fair enough, I cant see many people wanting to slow their already underpowered machine down even further, but there are some people out there even stranger than apple fanboys, so who knows? And no Aero? Hooray! Again, less baggage for the already underpowered Atom to have to carry and burn battery over.

    Ok, onto the more recent stuff... no XP mode. Hmm... as long as your browser works... and your media player works... then is there a problem? Is there? Really? A netbook is not a desktop replacement, nor is it even a serious laptop replacement. Its for basic apps, and the internet. The sooner people stop treating like its a 'proper' machine, the better.

    No word processor... Go get openoffice, you numpty. Or use notepad. Or even wordpad.

    And no web browser? Nah, cant actually see that happening, not on something thats very reason for being is net access. You'll have one in there somewhere, even if its basic and utilitarian. And c'mon, if you're worried by any of the above points, you've already got linux or something lined up and ready to go on there, or at the very least Firefox on a USB stick, so what ARE you whining about?

    So there we go, its not hard. I get the impression people like to whinge about these things because they think its actually a big deal. Its not, and never will be. Not unless you actually WANT to buy one of these things with SE on it. In which case you're not allowed to complain EVER.

  70. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Pirate

    Pointless

    Someone will either provide an image 'fix' program, or disable their 'security', just to spite MS.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "crying clowns and primary colors"?

    You asked.... google image search delivers!

    http://www.gearfuse.com/probably-the-saddest-thing-ever-images-from-a-clown-funeral/

  72. Michael 22
    Linux

    "Balanced reporting"

    First a correction: OpenGL is NOT open source - it's OPEN STANDARDS! Shame on me. :(

    In response to Wrenchy, perhaps people complain more about Microsoft's tactics because most of us can only afford PCs.

    But if you want "balanced reporting", as the BBC would say - though the BBC only says this when it doesn't want to report the truth - here's what Gary Kildall (he was smarter than both Gates and Jobs) had to say about Steve Jobs:

    "'Steve Jobs is nothing. Steve Wozniak did it all, the hardware and the software. All Jobs did was hang around and take the credit.' Cooper was not blind to the implications of this. Kildall resented that Gates, this dropout, this businessman, was getting credit for things that Kildall had invented."

    (extracted from the article "Gary Kildall and Collegial Entrepreneurship" by Michael Swaine).

    I think it was John Carmack, lead programmer of ID Software, who re-coded some graphics routines using OpenGL - six pages of DirectX code was reduced to just a screenful!

    Like OpenGL, Linux needs its direction controlled, get all the variants reduced down to a handful, and concentrate on making it as user friendly and as easy to use as possible. The Linux "community" needs to get serious about Linux before Microsofts buries it under a mountain of lies.

    The CEOs of Microsoft look after their interests - it's high time the public did the same!

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    An end to customised wallpaper misery

    It's decided me. The killer feature. Win 7 is a must-have

  74. vegister
    Gates Horns

    new Labour, new Microsoft?

    relativity.

    i'm sure this is a new Labour trick of enforcing a new law. first you announce a crazy law which is completely OTT, then the public revolts, so you scale back the craziness and propose the original law which is accepted.

    i'm sure MS will scale back the restriction to a select 10 wallpapers, and the plebs will think they've won a small victory

  75. Fatman
    Gates Horns

    Win 7 starter edition wallpaper

    From an unnamed source, I have seen the prospective Windows 7 Starter Edition Wallpaper:

    You can get a sneak peek here: http://ifaq.wap.org/posters/billgate.html

  76. Benny
    Linux

    Strange...

    There is a lovely old chap that comes into my local, who unfortunately had to go into hospital.

    So he could keep in contact with his family, he bought himself a 'small computer book' - which he then asked me to install 'the penguin' on, because he heard vista was rubbish.

    He didn't know what it was, but he knew there was something better!

    I love old people!

    Penguin, because well, you are great Richard!

  77. jim 45
    Thumb Down

    Don't they realize...

    ... how Apple will use stuff like this against them in ad campaigns, like they did with UAC?

    Just the name "Windows Starter Edition" tells you it's pathetic, like "PC Junior" a generation ago (remember how badly that bombed?). Rather than motivating you to spend more money for powerful additional features (like changing your wallpaper), it makes you feel like a sap and a loser who really, really wants a Mac now more than ever.

    If I were in Apple's ad agency I'd be pitching slogans like "Windows Is Pathetic" or maybe "Get a life - get a Mac".

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @ RW

    Win 98, your fucking joking right? That POS OS with it's laughable security (what security?) is the reason why the internet is so full of trojans and malware etc. If this had not been the standard OS that every ignorant computer user got on the net with back in old dot com era, the net would be a much nicer place.

  79. b166er

    @RW

    And took 3 days to defrag...just what SSD's like!

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Walk Through

    "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."

    Yeah I be walking them through.....how to install Ubuntu or Fedora all right.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    er

    Simply replacing: \web\wallpaper\windows\img0.jpg with an alternate works for me......

    While there's no desktop appearance widgit, its not rocket science.....3rd party apps will doubtless fill the gap...mostly its about restricting OEMs IMO.

  82. Keith T

    I'm sure Acer will pay the extra few cents for the variance

    Anything can be negotiated for a price. OEMs just have to pay a little for a license variance allowing customization.

    "OEMs must not modify or replace the Windows-provided background for Windows Welcome, the logon screen, or the desktop."

  83. Inachu
    Flame

    This is too funny!

    They deny users to change the wall paper but watch when their pc gets infected and the wallpaper is changed by malware or a worm or vrus...

    LOL!

    MS PWNED!

  84. Robert Forsyth

    It is the OEMs that cannot remove the wallpaper, surely

    Surely this just applies to the OEMs, to stop them removing MS's luvly wallpapers and adding their own ugly versions.

    Or if OEMs are going to remove the MS/Windows adverts and replace them with an OEM's own advert, you have to pay extra.

    MS failed with XP, everyone seems to call "Bliss", "Teletubby land", so invoking a preschool feeling.

  85. Schultz
    Happy

    Creative thinking

    They must have hired some former airline executives. How about we take away their right to <del>take luggage</del> <del>check in</del> customize their desktop and give it back for some service fee?

    I bow to the masters of my computer!

  86. Shenrab

    Hey Kevin 6!

    I was in your spot with an older computer running windows 2000. Instead of buying a new computer to run the bloated sac of merde that is Vista, I tried Ubuntu and haven't looked back. I just installed the netbook version on my Asus 701. I am not a "rabid Linux fan boy" but I do object to paying for software that doesn't work properly! I've been following the Windows 7 stories with a view to trying it out (doing a dual boot on the desktop). Stories like this one make that prospect less likely as it appears that Windows 7 will be more of the same stinky stuff. Try Ubuntu!

  87. Matt Bradley

    Competing on price - the cost of monopoly

    Here's the problem Microsoft has:

    In the 90's Microsoft never competed on features, quality or price. It had a much simpler strategy: It was the ONLY option. If any other software company looked like it was going to threaten it in any area of software (say, for example, the browser market) - it would simply CRUSH the competition using its financial resources.

    This allows Microsoft to become the de-facto standard by the simple fact that nobody has every used anything else.

    Skip forward to 2008, and suddenly; a new market of cheap, low cost devices emerge which don't NEED an huge bloated OS. Netbooks run on a simple, lightweight low-cost OS, and allow users to do simple tasks like access email and browse websites.

    The only problem is that users then get used to the idea that they might not NEED Microsoft to do stuff.

    So, how does Micrsosft crush this emerging market? They can't use exclusive licensing deals, because the DOJ might actually be forced to do something about that. On the other other hand, if they start offering the Windows 7 OS at a lower cost then they'll have to give up some of those revenues that the shareholders need to see. There is a third option: They could simply argue that users should pay the MS licensing premium to get a better product: then they'll actually need to compete with software companies that WORK for a living, and produce genuinely great software at a reasonable cost. That would mean that they'd be looking at competing with software companies like Apple on features and functionality. Oh dear.

    The ONLY way out is segmentation. Lots of products with increasingly desperate restrictions in order to differentiate. Watch and learn: this is how big software companies lie down and die.

  88. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    @Herby

    "Typical netbooks have limited resources"

    That may have been true in 2006. In the present, MS have successfully managed to "convince" OEMs that netbooks need 1Gb of RAM and a spinning disk HDD so that all "netbooks" now provide the minimum hardware requirements to allow MS bloatware to run.

  89. John Sanders
    Gates Horns

    The real story here...

    - Sorry John, it seems we´re not capping the number of apps the starter edition can run.

    # Wait can not we cap the number of megabytes the os can write to the HD on a day?

    - Err... John, no megabyte capping either.

    # What about the ram? the mouse...

    - John, leave it be.

    # Hey! I know!!! let´s prevent people from changing the wallpaper!!!!

    - Dammit John, thats one good prank!, I knew something good some day would come out of the marketing department.

  90. WithinRafael
    Stop

    @er

    Replacing the image does not work, as it's SHA-256 hashed and checked. You obviously didn't test it.

  91. Mostor Astrakan

    Sometimes I think...

    And then I get depressed and stop again.

    Now usually, when Microsoft's Happy Fun Department comes up with something, I can usually see why they would do such a thing, even if their livestock isn't likely to profit from it. DRM gets them nice dollars from the entertainment industry. Following the standards in the same way Disney follows the classics makes it more difficult for their competitors to interoperate. Usually, it makes some sense from a user-herding kind of perspective.

    This, I don't understand at all. Why on Earth would you want to keep people from putting a picture of Little Henry on their desktop?

    I honestly don't know which icon to select here.

  92. jubtastic1
    Thumb Up

    Schadenfreude

    Will they be re-branding as MicroFarce?

  93. Sooty

    @Mikey

    "A netbook is not a desktop replacement, nor is it even a serious laptop replacement. Its for basic apps, and the internet"

    That very much depends on what you bought the thing for, I got mine as a small laptop, and use it as such. It's the same spec as my old 15" laptop, which was top of the range 5 years ago, just much smaller.

    In fact i've found that connecting it up to a keyboard and monitor when at home makes an excellent desktop replacement that can be picked up in seconds and put in a bag to take with me. It's very useful for coding in visual studio as it means i don't need to keep emailing projects to work and back, i can just take my 'netbook' with me and work on that

    The only thing that it's not any good at is playing modern games, and thats purely down to having a pants integrated intel graphics card, which is probably on a par with most laptop graphics cards. If you pick games that are a few years old it handles them with ease.

    Why take a machine like that and relegate it to just browsing the net, or writing letters?

  94. Craig 12
    Happy

    I don't believe it!

    And I can't believe you were all so successfully trolled by MS. This type of marketing is even better (for them) than viral.

  95. Ascylto
    Pirate

    HMG Advisors

    Small wonder Microsoft advises the British Government.

    Black ink anyone?

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@defiant By Justin Clements Posted Friday 19th June 2009 22:34 GMT

    " HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAAAAAHAHAAAAHAHAHA

    M$ Fanboys got fucked."

    Something you never have been and never will be loser.

  97. Harold Onraet Khelf
    Linux

    Microsoft wallpaper: a must?

    All those multinationals do abuse their power, why has Microsoft imposed such a puny measure on its clients?

    Maybe they should go elsewhere...

  98. Gareth.

    @ Michael 10

    "While I don't understand what reason there is for blocking it, I do think they're making the right move in blocking the companies from doing it."

    Why do you think they're making the right move if you don't know why they're doing it?

    I don't know why they're doing it either (I'm cynically guessing it has something to do with them a) backtracking and generously giving users this facility at a later date; or b) desperate to get some free advertising) so until the truth comes out, I won't say that I think they're doing the right thing. As things stand, I can see this resulting in considerable negative publicity which is the last thing that Microsoft needs in light of how badly they're seen by "average people" over the whole Vista debacle.

    If people actually gave Linux a go, it would be the outright winner in this OS race... what do you really need Windows for when using a netbook?

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They only doing what apple does..

    They are just going to release a windows 7SE v1.5 with a huge press conference...

    "one more thing.. windows 7 SE now does wallpaper"

    and the microsoft fanboi's will go crazy.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    You know...

    ...I am surprised they haven't put a picture of Ballmer, kecks round ankles, rubbing money all over his corpulant physique, flipping the bird at the camera! Just so you Windows people finally get "the big picture"!

    I spent a couple of pence on my ADSL connection to get my O/S. I get the very latest codebase and "premium" version of my product. I get free updates. Less bother from Malware and viruses for the time being. You know what really gets in the craw of you MS boys? A bunch of yahoos threw my O/S together in their spare time and you know what else, it allows me to do a hell of a lot more than worry about changing the backdrop, I can safely run Enterprise software like Sybase and Oracle in the environment that the real big players run theirs. Not many Fortune 500 companies running 50TB+ DBs on Windows! ( Note I said not many, as there is probably some planks who still think Windows is worth a carrot! )

    Let the flames begin!

  101. Matt 65
    Thumb Up

    @ Kevin 6

    Having used Microsoft stuff all my working life, I have justed started to play with Linux in the form of Ubuntu, I was amazed at how easy it was to set up and use. My USB wireless card was installed on startup, to get that to work on Windows I had to download a driver on a different machine and use a USB stick to copy it over. It really does "just work", I'm now in the process of dual booting my "main" machine.

    PS : How will the BBC tell people that they have hacked their machines now?

  102. Richard 102

    RE: I see that

    Wrenchy said

    'If Apple made this decision with OSx, all you iSheep will be licking Steve Jobs' balls saying "Oh thank you Steve. Whatever you say Steve. Can I lick your sweaty balls some more Steve?".'

    Not entirely. Apple has backed off from time to time. The latest is that there was enough kerfuffle about Firewire disappearing from Macbooks that they brought it back in the latest models.

  103. Dana W
    Jobs Halo

    @ Wrenchy

    "'If Apple made this decision with OSx, "

    But they don't. Thats the point.

  104. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    @Sooty

    @Sooty, spot on. The performance on the netbook is just fine, it's not a basic machine at all.

    Both Microsoft (so they can quit worrying about efficiency) and laptop makers (so they can sell more expensive, higher-margin machines) want netbooks to be viewed as a basic machine. As you say, they equal the performance of good machines from just a few years ago, and are perfectly usable basically for about anything except 1) Higher-end games 2) Running Vista.

    Especially when Vista was out, people dismissed these as either "basic" or as one reviewer put it "to underpowered for even the most basic tasks". They're not at all! You should see Moblin run on an Atom board, it's ridiculous how fast it is.. it booted to full desktop, *using a mechanical hard disk*, in under 12 seconds (it'll do it with SSD in about 8 seconds.) Ubuntu runs well on them too. If you want to spend the cash, WinXP or even Win7 should be fine on them too.

  105. Michael 28
    Unhappy

    No lolcats wallpaper?

    It iz teh suxx!!

  106. This post has been deleted by its author

  107. Robert Armstrong
    Pint

    Bring back MS Bob!

    Actually, MS just made my Netbook buy decision much easier, looking forward to Android...

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