All I have to say is
*Farter* edition, more like.
Mine's the coat with the brown stain.
Netbook users running Windows 7 Starter Edition better learn to enjoy Microsoft's default desktop background, because that's all they're getting. Windows 7 Starter Edition not only blocks end-users from swapping the original Windows-provided wallpaper, colors, and sound schemes - OEMs and partners aren't allowed into the …
Is there anything more ludicrous? Can Microsoft handle this any worse? Customising your own PC is pretty much a given, and always has been. For them to stop you from changing your own desktop smacks of straw-grasping at ways of making the next version seem like the better choice.
While I don't understand what reason there is for blocking it, I do think they're making the right move in blocking the companies from doing it.
I'm fine with he standard green hills and blue skies, but I think a giant brand logo as my background would drive me insane (although I don't think I'll ever get anything running this stripped 7)
And this after their 'Engineering Windowws 7' blog said that they discovered that people like to customize and that they've add more features in to allow people to do just that. So now they say yes, but if you're on a netbook you're too stupid / tight / poor to have this Microsoft goodness bestowed upon you. Surely they aren't claiming that the hardware can't cope with different wallpaper?
They're so deluded and divorsed from reality it makes me wonder it they're actually MPs...
I bet Microsoft make the background image file protected with Windows File Protection and also don't include Regedit by default.
I don't understand why Microsoft do this though for a product aimed at netbooks when they have strong competition from Linux.
I believe the only reason Windows beats Linux in the netbook market is due to:
-Microsoft does nice licensing details Asus and friends to keep linux out of this market
-The Windows versions of these machines have better hardware specs at cheaper prices!
I wonder when Microsoft will learn from their mistakes but I really don't think that they do.
Reg grave stone aimed at Microsoft for a stupid knee/foot shooting incident. Now if only they could place the gun nearer their head next time!
M$ will announce that "OK, you can change your desktop background after all", and everyone will sob with gratitude.
In the euphoria, some much bigger and more significant but less immediately visible limitation will go unquestioned until after launch, when it will be revealed (as with Vista home basic) that it really is so crippled as to be useless.
It's how M$ deliberately and habitually does things, as El Reg reminded us in a recent M$ EU antitrust article.
To see who can fuck up something simple most spectacularly. Obviously GB was doing well by screwing up the MP's expenses overhaul and the Iraq war enquiry but MS may well have caught up with this move. Mind you I think GB's Rwanda/Twitter comment may be a slam dunk on his part....
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This 'finding' is a joke by Microsoft - then they can suddenly change that one registry key and let folks change what they want - the feature added "due to public demand". Meanwhile it keeps Windows7 in the news.
After all, if you can't change fonts, colours, etc then they might just run foul of the visual impaired. Personally I wouldn't even countenance such as hellishly restricted kludge.
Windows 7 Starter Edition? On this basis maybe they should rename it "Windows 7 for the Clueless" (and PC World will _still_ try and sell you a copy of Norton for it!)
Still, if a netbook with Win7SE on it is cheap then it'll be a boon for all the penguin herders out there - come in Ubuntu Netbook Remix...
Their competitors could not have done a better job at getting people to choose an alternative. Just who the f&%K is running the show in that place?
Me thinks the *NIX/Apple crowd have a mole working inside the beast. Its the only logical conclusion to the clusterfuck that this release is turning into.
To all those who say "Why not just overwrite the file?" Either Lost @19:08 is correct and they are using it to cover for something else which is worse, or they could bury the graphic in a required .dll file which cannot be changed without screwing the entire system. You know, the same way they embedded bits of IE into random system files purely so it is impossible to completely remove.
Maybe they can't change the wallpaper. Typical netbooks have limited resources (disk, memory) so it may be that the netbook after loading the Windows 07 operating system and all the other junk that comes in an OEM version has there isn't any room left over to load some simple wallpaper, or the program to make it work. What with Windows 07 being a resource hog (what version of Windows isn't!) it will barely work anyway.
Upgrades available, please send money to: upgrade OS, more memory, more disk! But it isn't a netbook then (oh, well!).
Will owners not be able to turn the wallpaper off altogether? It's a well-known fact that wallpaper and other uneccessary fancy graphics drain system resources and I would imagine that a netbook needs all it can get. My own home desktop machines have no wallpaper and are set for "best performance" in properties and "classic" appearance. Dull, I know, but not having to struggle to maintain all the fancy graphics and/or wallpaper does perk them up quite considerably.
There is no need to say any more really is there? That just shows how competitive MS thinks they are, that they can remove trivial features from a product, call it an upgrade, and then charge to replace the features removed. Let's hope the European commisson make mincemeat out of them. Again.
To paraphrase Lao Tzu: When the leader is NOT seated in the Tao... then the whole company is not in the Tao. Given how autistic Chairman (Rockin' Mr.) Bill is, and how devious their early competative efforts were, it's no surprise to me the depth of awkwardness they design into every single product they produce. They continue to trip over themselves for a shrinking iota of market share. Bye bye M$, it's been a pain in the ass knowin' ya! I don't know Linux very well now, but the future has penguins written all over it.
If M$ marketing had an ounce of savvy, they'd be doing brand leveraging - weave the brands together to help support new products. Apple does this well with the whole iXxxx thing.
Netbooks fit in with whole idea of clouds and network teathering. They should call these things LiveBooks or Bingbooks or something.
Your Bingbook is just a Bing portal.
It would then make some sense to defeat customising the wallpaper or doing any OEMing. Just have the Live or Bing branding as the wallpaper to re-enforce the whole concept.
"Oh look another knock at Microsoft and the Linux geeks are lining up to thank them for it, losers"
Who are the losers here? According to the average Microsoft apologist, what Microsoft offers is apparently what the punters want, no much how much is held back (and how much crapware is pre-loaded) on the possibility of upselling the user on premium stuff.
Of course the average Wintard will revel in the "guru" status of knowing how to perform the rocket science-like operation that is "changing the wallpaper", performing such parlour tricks to amazed looks from easily impressed relatives. Everyone else would benefit from running with the penguin.
At least Microsoft saved me the money I was tempting to spend on Vist.. err I mean windows 7.
Guess I'll stick with Windows 2000 till nothing works (or can be hacked to work) on it anymore. Hopefully by then the penguin army will sort out the nightmare that is Linux. Or someone makes a hack for the 1st Beta of Windows 7 to work without a time limit.
I actually wanted the starter edition for my desktop seeing it sounded almost like the original windows 7 beta release, not that clunky RC release.
Microsoft has always played dirty, but most of its aggressive tactics have been against other companies. Even DOS entered the world stained. It was based on CP/M, and copied a lot from that first microcomputer OS written by Gary Kildall, the real father of the PC operating system (google "Gary Kildall and Collegial Entrepreneurship").
Microsoft tried to kill OpenGL, an excellent open source alternative to Microsoft's Direct X 3D graphical programming interface (actually, Direct X is not Microsoft's, it was originally bought from a firm in London, just as DOS was bought). Bill Gates dismissed the Internet as a commercial dead-end, then, later - seeing his mistake - did what he always does: bought himself out of trouble, as opposed to innovating his way out. Gates stole the browser market from its creators by offering IE, an inferior product, free with Windows.
Microsoft continues to play dirty by not making IE compatible with industry standards. Users who use other browsers will occasionally encounter "errors" with them. That's because these browsers will fail to render correctly Web sites that are designed to work perfectly ONLY with IE. But IE is non-standards compliant! Users who don't know this will blame their browser, instead of Microsoft. A Web site that doesn't follow Web standards - only IE standards - is not a Web application - it's a Windows application!
Microsoft is doing its damnedest to kill Linux, too. We should support Linux as a second OS. If we don't, we might one day regret the decision.
Microsoft's monopoly matters, because it's not merely a technology company - it's a company out for power, and isn't shy about using that clout to influence politics, and, hence, our lives.
Once all of Microsoft's competitors have been strangled to death, who knows what is in store for us powerless consumers and citizens.
"Oh look another knock at Microsoft and the Linux geeks are lining up to thank them for it, losers"
You regard this kind of thing as normal? Has the concept of "I paid for and own this computer" so I'll configure it as I choose", ever dawned on you?
How else do you expect intelligent people to react to this kind of nonsense? A software manufacturer (and that's the clue here) that deliberately sells a ham-strung and pathetically crippled edition of their "flagship" OS (titter) that hasn't even got the kind of features that Win3.1 had more than fifteen years ago -- i.e. configurable wallpaper, colours and the ability to run more than three things at once? "Sad and Pathetic" is right, my friend, but it isn't us who are buying into it!
You could NOT make up some of the latest clueless bullshit from MS these days. They have seriously lost it. Foot meet bullet. They have NO CLUE about what's happening in the outside world and wouldn't know innovation if they fell over it, which is kind of sad because they were obviously quite good at it once. Or maybe they just got lucky. I don't know.
Dirty tricks, world-class monopoly investigations, weird marketing campaigns, flogging deliberately broken products and treating their customer base like mentally defective children is neither a winning nor confidence -inducing way to behave. And the less said about Ballmer the better!
everybody is up in arms with this decision. If Apple made this decision with OSx, all you iSheep will be licking Steve Jobs' balls saying "Oh thank you Steve. Whatever you say Steve. Can I lick your sweaty balls some more Steve?".
Why is it when MicroShaft makes a controversial decisions like this, it's wrong. BAD MS. Let's involve the International Antitrust Legislators. Blah blah blah. If Apple does it, it's ok? WTF.
DAMN BOTH COMPANIES.
"So... basically Microsoft is unable to program a good slim, no-frills OS for netbooks"
Win98 would do the job quite nicely with updated drivers.
Never mind that it has a version of DOS sitting down underneath. It worked, and worked well, on much less powerful hardware than we have today.
Best of all, it supported 16-bit apps, some of which have never been equalled for simplicity and ease of use.
This is a logical conclusion of Microsoft's trend to put more and more artificial restrictions (both artificial software blocks and increasingly draconian licensing terms) into their software. Enjoy!
So, with Windows 7 starter, EU edition (if Microsoft got their way with their current negotiation with EU).... well, I hear people use netbooks mainly for web surfing and light word processing and people that want Windows want it to run XP apps. How's this grab you for a netbook OS:
No DVD support
No customization of the interface (screen background, window colors!, etc.)
No desktop effects (no Aero...)
The icing on the cake:
No XP compatibility mode
No word processor
No web browser
This makes Windows 7 starter sound particularly unappealing, and WIndows 7 anything else will be a large fraction of the cost of the netbook. I think this brings a wide opening for Ubuntu etc. to go onto more machines than it already is.
Ballmer has painstakingly cultivated Microsoft's image with customers, OEMs, governments and partners for nearly a third of a century. To capitalize on this investment, it follows that Microsoft should use this opportunity to greet its customers with an unalterable background picture of The Finger. After all, what image could possibly represent "The Microsoft Attitude" more succinctly?
 Actual image may vary in Italy and Sri Lanka.
Can't someone out there modify (cough hack cough) all of Microsoft's company PCs so the desktops display only streaming complaint letters? From everyone worldwide who has completely lost patience with their idiocy? I'd gladly contribute money to that cause :-)
...Is who this product is actually aimed at. New users. Who are, these days, very thin on the ground, as even schoolkids have a fairly good grasp of how to use a computer. So I can see the target market for Win7 SE as very small to begin with, which will only get smaller.
99.9% of the people (or trolls) who leave comments here will never consider buying such a product, so slagging it off seems rather petty and cheap. If it is indeed as dire as people make it out to be, then sure, no-one will buy it. But maybe thats the point? There IS a cheap option, but it might not be the best, so everyone will avoid it anyway. You patys yer money, you takes yer pick.
So far, the whole 'No DVD software' argument has made me laugh. How many netbooks has anyone seen with a DVD drive, and how many people will bother to lug a USB one around with them? If you're going to rip your existing media to a portable format, you dont need specific DVD software to play it back, just anything capable of MP4. So yeah, thats no problem, unless you WANT to make it one.
No customisation of the interface? To be fair, if you're going to make a netbook choke with extra detail then fair enough, I cant see many people wanting to slow their already underpowered machine down even further, but there are some people out there even stranger than apple fanboys, so who knows? And no Aero? Hooray! Again, less baggage for the already underpowered Atom to have to carry and burn battery over.
Ok, onto the more recent stuff... no XP mode. Hmm... as long as your browser works... and your media player works... then is there a problem? Is there? Really? A netbook is not a desktop replacement, nor is it even a serious laptop replacement. Its for basic apps, and the internet. The sooner people stop treating like its a 'proper' machine, the better.
No word processor... Go get openoffice, you numpty. Or use notepad. Or even wordpad.
And no web browser? Nah, cant actually see that happening, not on something thats very reason for being is net access. You'll have one in there somewhere, even if its basic and utilitarian. And c'mon, if you're worried by any of the above points, you've already got linux or something lined up and ready to go on there, or at the very least Firefox on a USB stick, so what ARE you whining about?
So there we go, its not hard. I get the impression people like to whinge about these things because they think its actually a big deal. Its not, and never will be. Not unless you actually WANT to buy one of these things with SE on it. In which case you're not allowed to complain EVER.
First a correction: OpenGL is NOT open source - it's OPEN STANDARDS! Shame on me. :(
In response to Wrenchy, perhaps people complain more about Microsoft's tactics because most of us can only afford PCs.
But if you want "balanced reporting", as the BBC would say - though the BBC only says this when it doesn't want to report the truth - here's what Gary Kildall (he was smarter than both Gates and Jobs) had to say about Steve Jobs:
"'Steve Jobs is nothing. Steve Wozniak did it all, the hardware and the software. All Jobs did was hang around and take the credit.' Cooper was not blind to the implications of this. Kildall resented that Gates, this dropout, this businessman, was getting credit for things that Kildall had invented."
(extracted from the article "Gary Kildall and Collegial Entrepreneurship" by Michael Swaine).
I think it was John Carmack, lead programmer of ID Software, who re-coded some graphics routines using OpenGL - six pages of DirectX code was reduced to just a screenful!
Like OpenGL, Linux needs its direction controlled, get all the variants reduced down to a handful, and concentrate on making it as user friendly and as easy to use as possible. The Linux "community" needs to get serious about Linux before Microsofts buries it under a mountain of lies.
The CEOs of Microsoft look after their interests - it's high time the public did the same!
i'm sure this is a new Labour trick of enforcing a new law. first you announce a crazy law which is completely OTT, then the public revolts, so you scale back the craziness and propose the original law which is accepted.
i'm sure MS will scale back the restriction to a select 10 wallpapers, and the plebs will think they've won a small victory
There is a lovely old chap that comes into my local, who unfortunately had to go into hospital.
So he could keep in contact with his family, he bought himself a 'small computer book' - which he then asked me to install 'the penguin' on, because he heard vista was rubbish.
He didn't know what it was, but he knew there was something better!
I love old people!
Penguin, because well, you are great Richard!
... how Apple will use stuff like this against them in ad campaigns, like they did with UAC?
Just the name "Windows Starter Edition" tells you it's pathetic, like "PC Junior" a generation ago (remember how badly that bombed?). Rather than motivating you to spend more money for powerful additional features (like changing your wallpaper), it makes you feel like a sap and a loser who really, really wants a Mac now more than ever.
If I were in Apple's ad agency I'd be pitching slogans like "Windows Is Pathetic" or maybe "Get a life - get a Mac".
Win 98, your fucking joking right? That POS OS with it's laughable security (what security?) is the reason why the internet is so full of trojans and malware etc. If this had not been the standard OS that every ignorant computer user got on the net with back in old dot com era, the net would be a much nicer place.
"Fortunately, it's a safe bet anti-customization workarounds will be on the internet well before the finalized OS hits store shelves. Look forward to walking your relatives through that process in the future."
Yeah I be walking them through.....how to install Ubuntu or Fedora all right.
Anything can be negotiated for a price. OEMs just have to pay a little for a license variance allowing customization.
"OEMs must not modify or replace the Windows-provided background for Windows Welcome, the logon screen, or the desktop."
Surely this just applies to the OEMs, to stop them removing MS's luvly wallpapers and adding their own ugly versions.
Or if OEMs are going to remove the MS/Windows adverts and replace them with an OEM's own advert, you have to pay extra.
MS failed with XP, everyone seems to call "Bliss", "Teletubby land", so invoking a preschool feeling.
I was in your spot with an older computer running windows 2000. Instead of buying a new computer to run the bloated sac of merde that is Vista, I tried Ubuntu and haven't looked back. I just installed the netbook version on my Asus 701. I am not a "rabid Linux fan boy" but I do object to paying for software that doesn't work properly! I've been following the Windows 7 stories with a view to trying it out (doing a dual boot on the desktop). Stories like this one make that prospect less likely as it appears that Windows 7 will be more of the same stinky stuff. Try Ubuntu!
Here's the problem Microsoft has:
In the 90's Microsoft never competed on features, quality or price. It had a much simpler strategy: It was the ONLY option. If any other software company looked like it was going to threaten it in any area of software (say, for example, the browser market) - it would simply CRUSH the competition using its financial resources.
This allows Microsoft to become the de-facto standard by the simple fact that nobody has every used anything else.
Skip forward to 2008, and suddenly; a new market of cheap, low cost devices emerge which don't NEED an huge bloated OS. Netbooks run on a simple, lightweight low-cost OS, and allow users to do simple tasks like access email and browse websites.
The only problem is that users then get used to the idea that they might not NEED Microsoft to do stuff.
So, how does Micrsosft crush this emerging market? They can't use exclusive licensing deals, because the DOJ might actually be forced to do something about that. On the other other hand, if they start offering the Windows 7 OS at a lower cost then they'll have to give up some of those revenues that the shareholders need to see. There is a third option: They could simply argue that users should pay the MS licensing premium to get a better product: then they'll actually need to compete with software companies that WORK for a living, and produce genuinely great software at a reasonable cost. That would mean that they'd be looking at competing with software companies like Apple on features and functionality. Oh dear.
The ONLY way out is segmentation. Lots of products with increasingly desperate restrictions in order to differentiate. Watch and learn: this is how big software companies lie down and die.
"Typical netbooks have limited resources"
That may have been true in 2006. In the present, MS have successfully managed to "convince" OEMs that netbooks need 1Gb of RAM and a spinning disk HDD so that all "netbooks" now provide the minimum hardware requirements to allow MS bloatware to run.
- Sorry John, it seems we´re not capping the number of apps the starter edition can run.
# Wait can not we cap the number of megabytes the os can write to the HD on a day?
- Err... John, no megabyte capping either.
# What about the ram? the mouse...
- John, leave it be.
# Hey! I know!!! let´s prevent people from changing the wallpaper!!!!
- Dammit John, thats one good prank!, I knew something good some day would come out of the marketing department.
And then I get depressed and stop again.
Now usually, when Microsoft's Happy Fun Department comes up with something, I can usually see why they would do such a thing, even if their livestock isn't likely to profit from it. DRM gets them nice dollars from the entertainment industry. Following the standards in the same way Disney follows the classics makes it more difficult for their competitors to interoperate. Usually, it makes some sense from a user-herding kind of perspective.
This, I don't understand at all. Why on Earth would you want to keep people from putting a picture of Little Henry on their desktop?
I honestly don't know which icon to select here.
"A netbook is not a desktop replacement, nor is it even a serious laptop replacement. Its for basic apps, and the internet"
That very much depends on what you bought the thing for, I got mine as a small laptop, and use it as such. It's the same spec as my old 15" laptop, which was top of the range 5 years ago, just much smaller.
In fact i've found that connecting it up to a keyboard and monitor when at home makes an excellent desktop replacement that can be picked up in seconds and put in a bag to take with me. It's very useful for coding in visual studio as it means i don't need to keep emailing projects to work and back, i can just take my 'netbook' with me and work on that
The only thing that it's not any good at is playing modern games, and thats purely down to having a pants integrated intel graphics card, which is probably on a par with most laptop graphics cards. If you pick games that are a few years old it handles them with ease.
Why take a machine like that and relegate it to just browsing the net, or writing letters?
"While I don't understand what reason there is for blocking it, I do think they're making the right move in blocking the companies from doing it."
Why do you think they're making the right move if you don't know why they're doing it?
I don't know why they're doing it either (I'm cynically guessing it has something to do with them a) backtracking and generously giving users this facility at a later date; or b) desperate to get some free advertising) so until the truth comes out, I won't say that I think they're doing the right thing. As things stand, I can see this resulting in considerable negative publicity which is the last thing that Microsoft needs in light of how badly they're seen by "average people" over the whole Vista debacle.
If people actually gave Linux a go, it would be the outright winner in this OS race... what do you really need Windows for when using a netbook?
...I am surprised they haven't put a picture of Ballmer, kecks round ankles, rubbing money all over his corpulant physique, flipping the bird at the camera! Just so you Windows people finally get "the big picture"!
I spent a couple of pence on my ADSL connection to get my O/S. I get the very latest codebase and "premium" version of my product. I get free updates. Less bother from Malware and viruses for the time being. You know what really gets in the craw of you MS boys? A bunch of yahoos threw my O/S together in their spare time and you know what else, it allows me to do a hell of a lot more than worry about changing the backdrop, I can safely run Enterprise software like Sybase and Oracle in the environment that the real big players run theirs. Not many Fortune 500 companies running 50TB+ DBs on Windows! ( Note I said not many, as there is probably some planks who still think Windows is worth a carrot! )
Let the flames begin!
Having used Microsoft stuff all my working life, I have justed started to play with Linux in the form of Ubuntu, I was amazed at how easy it was to set up and use. My USB wireless card was installed on startup, to get that to work on Windows I had to download a driver on a different machine and use a USB stick to copy it over. It really does "just work", I'm now in the process of dual booting my "main" machine.
PS : How will the BBC tell people that they have hacked their machines now?
'If Apple made this decision with OSx, all you iSheep will be licking Steve Jobs' balls saying "Oh thank you Steve. Whatever you say Steve. Can I lick your sweaty balls some more Steve?".'
Not entirely. Apple has backed off from time to time. The latest is that there was enough kerfuffle about Firewire disappearing from Macbooks that they brought it back in the latest models.
@Sooty, spot on. The performance on the netbook is just fine, it's not a basic machine at all.
Both Microsoft (so they can quit worrying about efficiency) and laptop makers (so they can sell more expensive, higher-margin machines) want netbooks to be viewed as a basic machine. As you say, they equal the performance of good machines from just a few years ago, and are perfectly usable basically for about anything except 1) Higher-end games 2) Running Vista.
Especially when Vista was out, people dismissed these as either "basic" or as one reviewer put it "to underpowered for even the most basic tasks". They're not at all! You should see Moblin run on an Atom board, it's ridiculous how fast it is.. it booted to full desktop, *using a mechanical hard disk*, in under 12 seconds (it'll do it with SSD in about 8 seconds.) Ubuntu runs well on them too. If you want to spend the cash, WinXP or even Win7 should be fine on them too.
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