Windows 7 Starter - Change Your Desktop Background, Though They Think You Ought Not To.

Bethany Dean By Bethany Dean, 25th Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Technology>Computer Software

Microsoft in their infinite stupidity have decided to remove the option to customise your netbook's wallpaper and desktop colours. I found a free, useful, thankfully SIMPLE program that lets you do it. Rant enclosed within.

The Deal, and What It Is.

Microsoft Windows 7 Starter, a version for netbooks, has been released, and one of the new 'features' is the inability to customise wallpaper. If you're a fellow netbook user, like me, you belong to our gleeful little club because you want something small, comfortable, personal, easy, simple and CUSTOMISABLE. Like an actual notebook. Why not doodle in the margins? Because Microsoft want you to pay extra for that. Upgrading costs - a simple patch doesn't, at least at Microsoft's generous profits versus the type of person who would buy a netbook. You. Me. Sensible people.

The Rant.

I have just received a replacement netbook after returning my beloved to the retailer and so putting it out of its misery. It had Windows XP. It was a good companion; my attachment blossomed into love. Its successor - a newer version - is well-meaning, has the same functions, a little more memory... but oh God why do honest, upstanding IT technicians allow this operating system to be installed on these machines?! After ten minutes of hopelessly searching about for the gateway to the hidden Control Panel category which lets me customise the desktop, I searched Help, and very embarrassing it was too, going there simply because I wanted a new background. (And why do they suddenly call it a desktop background? It was always wallpaper...) And lo, Help told me how. I followed the instructions to the letter - the option was simply not there.

After some Googling I discovered the awful truth. There were hacks and instructions, all I'm sure very useful if you've got patience or a 12th level Paladin in your other life (that's 'account'), but that doesn't detract from the fact that Microsoft took a godawful decision to remove a basic feature, which it must have known people would baulk at. As a miscellaneous forum contributor noted, "My five year-old Nokia lets me change the wallpaper". Apparently there's been riots, petitions, arguments, and pleas for patches and upgrades. But so far, no dice. In their bid to keep the strain on graphics and hardware down and free up the netbook's memory for - let's face it - Tetris, email and whatnot - we are treated to quietly pulsating, blue amoebas and a labrynthine arrangement of file folders - but DON'T WORRY, we've been taken away the choice of having a small static image of a glade in autumn placed behind our icons. Thaanks. My computer's sooo much faster. Srsly. As they say, an Apple a day can stave off a LOT of problems.

A Solution is Here

Oceanis. It's a beautiful little program, designed in response to Microsoft's 'whimsicle' approach to customer satisfaction. Download it here, it's easy and simple to install, and just as easy to use. I expected my chosen image to be displayed with a border, or an Oceanis logo lurking in the corner - nowhere to be found. It's just like having the Change Background option back - only it takes four double-clicks at most, and it's easier to get into than the Control Panel. I would like to thank the developers of this freeware for their uninstalling of my angst, but I'm too busy admiring my full 1080x1920 Lady Gaga. Take that, Windows 7 Starter. Harrumph.

I'm going to play Tetris.


Desktop, Netbooks, Software, Software Windows 7, Technology, Wallpaper, Windows 7, Windows 7 Starter

Meet the author

author avatar Bethany Dean
Author of the Rose Prince, available on Kindle and in paperback. | @bethanyrdean

Share this page

moderator Sam Wormleighton moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar RGrayling
27th Feb 2010 (#)

That's great! I only got Win 7 last week and, as it's on a work machine, hadn't noticed this new Microsoft faux pas. Honestly, why do they keep doing stuff like this? They removed the RUN button from the program list in Vista - something people in IT use EVERY DAY. I had to search around with a torch and a spade to find out how to reinstate it!! And don't even mention Office 2007 :-)

Good article


Reply to this comment

author avatar Asdf
27th Apr 2010 (#)

I downloaded Oceanis.. after a while of having it,.. maybe after updating win7... I'm not able to browse the web, only secure pages/https. Has this happened to anyone and or is there a fix?

Reply to this comment

author avatar Caitlin
24th Aug 2010 (#)

Thank you so much... I've had my Acer Aspire 1 for a few months now, and it had gotten to the point where I couldn't stand to see that awful Windows Starter background another day. Thank you so, so much!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Katrina
24th Dec 2010 (#)

Thanks for this useful article.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Abby
6th Jan 2011 (#)

Oceanis worked great for me, until I upgraded to Home Premium and forgot to uninstall it. Now I can't change my wallpaper (though at least it's a wallpaper I chose when I was using Oceanis). I tried uninstalling oceanis after the upgrade, but changing wallpaper is still a no-go. Can anyone help me with this, please?

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?