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Do you use Active Desktop?

How many of you guys/gals use Active Desktop?  I think that's what it's called.  It's the ability to display a webpage as the desktop background.  Is this really a useful feature?  I don't really use it except to play around with it.

Software Craftsman
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Always the first thing I turn off.

Almost Anonymous
Saturday, May 8, 2004

I suppose I use it, but just to Restore it after my michine crashes.

I had never thought of it, but ...  why do I need to restore something I don't really use?

Is it enabled by default in WinXP ? If it is, then why don't I see it?

Why do I have to restore it after my machine crashes just to have my wallpaper back?

Could someone explain?

.NET Developer
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Yeah, I'm not really sure what it's good for since I turn it off immediately! Maybe Philo can post some propaganda about the purpose of this stuff...

Chris Nahr
Saturday, May 8, 2004

I don't remember seeing anyone use it.

Isn't it a hangover from the IE4 days when Channels and Push Technology was all the rage ?

Steve Jones (UK)
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Not me - my desktop is blue. Of course, I had to check, because I never see it.

I turn off all the chrome on Windows systems and set my IE home page to about:blank. I have better things to do with CPU cycles. :-)


Saturday, May 8, 2004

"Isn't it a hangover from the IE4 days when Channels and Push Technology was all the rage ?"

Well, this should answer that question - I started fiddling around with it just to see if it's worth anything, and got directed to this:
"Internet Explorer 4.0 Desktop Gallery

Posted: August 27, 2001"


Saturday, May 8, 2004

First thing I used to turn off because in pre-XP systems it was a HUGE drag on the system.

Saturday, May 8, 2004


Steve Jones (UK)
Saturday, May 8, 2004

I have a Google window on my desktop. I sometimes put the BBC News frontpage there. Occasionally, I'll have a 'funky' animated gif or a news ticker or something. I installed a nice calendar thing once.

I'd find Active Desktop far more useful if you could actually _browse_ on the desktop, but clicking a link always launches a new instance of IE.

But yeah, I use it. Mostly just decoration, but I like it. I've found that almost every single one of the features I used to hate and turn off the moment I installed Windows, I now use. I always hide file extensions, so I can easily rename files. I like the personalized menus now. I love these little things. On the taskbar I have tons of toolbars and stuff. Did you know you can Ctrl-click on window buttons on the task bar, so you can easily tile stuff?). I even use Favourites.

Thom Lawrence
Saturday, May 8, 2004

I used it in the past to add a few web cams of different citys around the world to my desktop, London, Tokyo, Perth etc. You can set them to update every n minutes, so it was quite nice having them change during the day.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, May 8, 2004

I never used the web page background features of Active Desktop.

But Active Desktop was required for NT4 systems in order to get the Quick Launch Toolbar and some other nice features that the Windows 9X & 2000 & XP had built into them.

NT4 by itself had inferior GUI features....

Saturday, May 8, 2004

lol!  An old boss used to call it "Active Slowdown" because there was a noticable drag on the system when it was turned on.

Today I use it for 2 things:
- I wrote an html page that draws the current month's calendar in the upper right-hand corner of the page.  that html file gets used as my wallpaper.
- I hacked together a simple web-based a to-do list and I use active desktop to display it at home and at work.

Steve H
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Active Desktop is exceedingly useful for me.

I don't keep my bookmark on my IE's "favorites" menu.  Instead, I code my bookmark in a html file and point my Active Desktop to that html file.  Whenever I want to frequent a website, I just fire them off my desktop.  This is cool!  I don’t have to manually launch IE, clicking on the hyperlink alone will kick off a new IE window.

Another benefit of using a html-based bookmark is that if I access Internet in the library or cyber cafe, I have access to my bookmark.

Amour Tan
Sunday, May 9, 2004

I have a custom local weather & traffic page that I put on the AD .. quick way for me to get the latest info without opening webpages.

Sanjay Sheth
Sunday, May 9, 2004

I know back in the days Active Desktop was necessary to use JPG files as background images. But I always converted to BMP myself, and shut it off.

Amour Tan: you can drag the icon in front of the web address from IE to your desktop to create a desktop shortcut. Seems a lot easier to me... ;-)

-..FuLL NaME..-
Sunday, May 9, 2004

I have a cgi app on the server which draws a graph of the CPU load and temperature of our cluster.
An html page on the desktop background points at this with a refresh header every 10 secs.

So I get a live graph of where the next fire is going to start as my wallpaper.

Martin Beckett
Sunday, May 9, 2004

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