I purchased a netbook about 4-5 months back that came with a Windows 7 Starter licence key but no software. I managed to get a copy of Windows 7 Starter installed and all was running fine – though it never asked me to enter the product key!
But all was running fine until a few months later when I’d decided to sell the netbook. When I powered it up I got a message telling me that my copy of Windows was not “genuine” and that I may be a victim of software piracy. It had also turned off the desktop background, so my desktop was now a rather boring, plain black! Based on the fact the netbook had the product key on a sticker attached to it, I was pretty sure this was just another case of Microsoft’s draconian steps being a bit, shall we say, WRONG!
So I opened up the activation screen, activated the software. It took about 5-10 minutes (and I’ve no idea why, presumably it sends a little information to Microsoft, which says yay or nay, amirite?). Now the activation went fine, eventually, but while the message telling me the software wasn’t genuine was gone, my desktop was still black. And as we all know, Windows 7
Crippled Edition Starter doesn’t allow you to change your desktop.
Uh-oh – a buyer might not be best pleased by this, especially as I’d just taken a photo to list showing the nice pretty blue Windows 7 background.
Anyway, I Googled a bit and after a while I came across the solution. it’s actually fairly straightforward but just tricky to find – nobody at Microsoft Answers seemed to have an answer, but here it is:
- Open the Registry Editor (by opening the Start menu and typing “regedit” in the search/run box)
- Find the key under /HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop called Wallpaper. This should be empty (hence the plain background, presumably).
- Right-click this key and Modify the value to the location of the image (e.g. C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\Windows\img0.jpg )
Now I did this to restore the original image after Microsoft ballsed it up, but it did get me wondering if the same technique could be used to change your Windows 7 Starter background to any image you wanted and thus overcome the stupid restriction impost by Microsoft. To be continued…