Change Desktop Background in Windows 7 Starter Edition

Windows 7 Starter edition does not allow a user to change the desktop background wallpaper. Microsoft has taken many measures to lock down the default desktop background. Some of these are :

  • The default wallpaper is set to %windir%\Web\Wallpaper\Windows\img0.jpg
  • The default wallpaper file’s SHA256 hash is hard coded in shell32.dll and is checked every time you log on.
  • The registry entry for the wallpaper is changed by Windows every time you log on.

But there is a workaround. If you remove the permissions for the registry key where the path of the wallpaper is stored, then you would be able to change the desktop background wallpaper and freeze it so Windows cannot alter it at when you log on. Here is how :

Method 1 : Using Our Program to Change the Background

Download our Windows 7 Starter – Wallpaper Changer from here win7_starter_wall.zip. Extract the contents of the ZIP archive to a folder and double-click on StarterWall.exe. If the User Account Control dialog appears then click on the Yes button as shown.

Change Windows 7 Starter wallpaper

Then choose an image file (preferably JPEG file) from your hard disk which you want to set a the desktop background wallpaper by clicking on the Browse button. After you have selected the image file, click on the Set Selected button to set it as the desktop background. Now you need to log off and log on for the changes to take effect. You can click on the Log Off button to quickly log off. Be careful to save all your work before you log off.

Change Windows 7 Starter wallpaper

If later you decide to change the background to the default Windows 7 Starter Edition background, just click on the button labeled Set Default, then log off and log back on.

Method 2 : Manually Changing the Background

  1. Open Notepad, copy and paste the following and save the file as change.txt somewhere on your hard disk. In this example, we will save the file as c:\users\public\pictures\change.txt.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop [7]
    Wallpaper = REG_SZ C:\Users\Public\Pictures\Sample Pictures\Penguins.jpg

    Change the string C:\Users\Public\Pictures\Sample Pictures\Penguins.jpg to the full path of any wallpaper image file you want to change the desktop background to. For example, if you want to use C:\Wallpaper\LadyGaga.jpg, then change the second line to :

    Wallpaper = REG_SZ C:\Wallpaper\LadyGaga.jpg

    Change Windows 7 Starter wallpaper

  2. Open an elevated command prompt window. Read how to do so.
  3. In the elevated command prompt give the following command :
    regini c:\users\public\pictures\change.txt

    Change the c:\users\public\pictures\change.txt to the full path of wherever you saved the file in step 1.

    Change Windows 7 Starter wallpaper

  4. Now change the [7] to [8] in the file we saved in step 1. The contents of the file should look now :
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop [8]
    Wallpaper = REG_SZ C:\Users\Public\Pictures\Sample Pictures\Penguins.jpg

    Save the file and again give the command as shown in step 3.

    Change Windows 7 Starter wallpaper

  5. Log off and then log on. You would see your wallpaper changed.
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  • BADJAG

    Thanks for the instructions. The manual method works fine. However, I’d like to point out a minor error. The “code box” displayed in the procedure (ie, the box with the grey background) is missing the backslashes () in the string “HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop”. The text is displayed correctly in the screenshot that follows immediately after the code box. Just thought I’d let you know since it might confuse some inexperienced users. I too was wondering why the “regini” command was giving an error until I spotted this mistake. :)

    • http://www.trishtech.com/ Trisha P.

      Thanks for letting us know. We have corrected it :)

      When we made the switch to WordPress, some of the text inside the code box lost backspaces. Even though we manually corrected hundreds of such codes, there might be some that could have slipped unnoticed.