Windows 7 Starter Edition is a low cost version of Microsoft’s latest desktop and notebook operating system which the company makes available to netbook makers. Under the hood there’s really not much difference between Windows 7 Starter and higher priced versions of the operating system. But in order to create a different value proposition, Microsoft has left out a few features including personalization options.

If you buy a netbook that comes with Windows 7 Starter, you won’t be able to change the desktop background or user the Aero Glass desktop effects with transparent borders, live thumbnail previews of running apps from the taskbar, and other graphical enhancements.

But while some folks seem to be under the impression that these features were left out because netbooks with low power processors can’t handle them, the truth is they were simply left out because Microsoft wanted to give users a reason to pay for upgrades while giving PC makers a low cost operating system to help keep netbook prices low.

Now Vishal Gupta has posted a tool which you can run on any computer running Windows 7 Starter (or Windows 7 Home Basic) to add support for wallpaper switching and Aero Glass. Basically when you run the tool it will patch some Windows system files to enable personalization features that work exactly the way they would on Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate. All you have to do is download and run the file, and reboot your computer.

You can uninstall the patch by running the executable file again.

I don’t have a netbook with Windows 7 Starter handy to test this right now, but I’ve seen multiple reports that it works as promised. I’ve also noticed that on the Windows 7 Starter-powder netbooks I’ve tested over the past few years, I’ve never been particularly disturbed by the lack of Aero Glass or desktop background changing… but those have never been high priorities for me.

via Lifehacker


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10 replies on “Simple patch removes Windows 7 Starter Edition personalization restrictions”

  1. I’m running Windows 7 Starter 32-bit (6.1, Build 7601) with 14 non-Microsoft apps open at once on a Compaq 6910p Laptop with 4GB RAM and no issues 🙂

    I make use of Stardock LogonStudio and StarterBackgroundChanger_V081.

    I’m not bothered by the ‘basic blue’ lack of Taskbar Previews, Aero Peek, fast-user-switching, etc. I set DVD’s to autoplay with VLC since Windows Media Player auto play is disallowed. You may open Windows Media Player manually and then play an inserted DVD …

  2. When i right click on the desktop the menu doesn’t show ‘Personalize’. How do i enable that?

  3. “I am very sorry, now I found out that such a program is illegal (EULA, §8) …”

    Face it: Microsoft want ~70$ from you for simple things like changing backgroud, and you have to pay it if you want it.
    Or think about the preposterous margin of Microsoft-Windows and your support to that…

  4. Your Norton probably considers this a virus because it modifies system files. Norton is smart in this regard — any file that does this should generate a virus warning. In this case, however, it is not virus behavior as it is exactly what it’s supposed to do. There are no gaurentees however, and Microsoft cannot support you if you do this.

  5. Norton is worse than a virus.  Remove it and install Microsoft Security Essentials

  6. I think this is great. Not being able to personalize parts of your computer that should be standard, feels kind of offensive. 

  7. I do like live thumbnail previews of running apps from the taskbar, however.

Comments are closed.