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Change desktop background in Windows 7 Starter edition June 7, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Change desktop background in Windows 7 Starter edition
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 :

  1. The default wallpaper is %windir%\Web\Wallpaper\Windows\img0.jpg
  2. The default wallpaper file’s SHA256 hash is hard coded in shell32.dll and is checked every time you logon.
  3. The registry entry for the wallpaper is changed by Windows every time you logon.

But there is a workaround. If you remove the permissions for the registry key where the path of the wallpaper is stored, then you alone would be able to change the desktop background wallpaper. Here is how :

Note : You must have administrator level access to follow the procedure.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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

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