OEMs, partners can’t brand Windows 7 Starter either

¡Qué Bonita! Back in March, I wrote about a sick-joke of a limitation in Windows 7 Starter edition preventing users from changing the wallpaper. The limitation was imposed by the use of a technical licensing policy named ChangeDesktopBackground-Enabled and re-enforced by a SHA-256 hash of the static image, to prevent img0.jpg hot-swapping.

Given Windows 7 Starter’s applicability to the rising netbook market, it was presumed that Starter would branded by OEMs and/or mobile carriers (like Verizon) like any other Windows SKU. This is no longer a valid presumption.

Here’s the official scoop, from Microsoft:

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

Yikes.

Digging through the recent leaked builds, I have also confirmed that Microsoft has modified the SHA-256 hash, indicating a new (and now permanent) Starter wallpaper is now in place. Due to the low quality of the recent leaks, however, I can’t show you what it looks like. My guess? The new humongous Windows logo wallpaper, shrunk down of course.

(Thankfully, UxStyle, to be pushed out as a public beta this weekend (hopefully), will feature the ability to bypass this wallpaper restriction.)

Super-nerd Corner: The new hash is 08601919CA548F77C5B0ECB49E9B610AF188CA8227CF0F2DA5D99473D80090DC