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Microsoft drops personalization from Windows 7 Starter, locks wallpaper

Chances are good that almost everyone download and installing the freshly-leaked Windows 7 build 7068 ISO is installing Ultimate Edition - after all, it's the one our product keys work with and it'll run for over year with a valid key. Paul Thurrott, however, has taken the pains of installing each version- including Starter - to get a feel for what's coming.

We already knew that Starter would be extremely feature-limited. How full an experience would you expect from an OS that can only run three programs at once?

Regardless, one feature has been crippled that has a lot of people confused. In Windows 7 Starter Edition, the personalization option on the context menu isn't available. Worse yet, users can't even change their wallpaper.

Granted, Starter is only available in emerging markets and will probably only be used on very low-cost PCs (like netbooks) on which OEMs still want to provide a taste of the "Windows 7 experience." Taking that into consideration, letting manufacturers lock users into an OEM-branded wallpaper almost makes sense. Almost.

A little bit of permanent advertising in exchange for dropping the one desktop customization nearly every user wants to use seems like a poor trade-off.

We should remember that all Windows 7 versions are still in beta testing and we don't know for sure what Microsoft's plans for the RTM will be. With all the ruckus the Starter wallpaper lockdown has created, Microsoft will have to either make it customizable or stick to their guns and tell us all that personalization was never part of the plan for the most limited feature-limited version of Windows 7.

Fear not, future Starter Edition users. Rafael Rivera has already figured out how to circumvent the lock.

Tags: osupdates, starter, windows-7