Active Desktop Background

My Current Desktop

My Current Desktop, Utilizing Active Desktop and the W3Background files I’m releasing below.

Active desktop was designed to deliver content to your desktop without having to visit your favorite websites to get the information. In many ways it could be seen as the precursor to today’s widgets. Active Desktop was first introduced in Internet Explorer 4.0, but became more widely know upon the release of Windows 98. It sounded like a promising technology it was buggy, and Windows 98 era PC’s really couldn’t afford the memory hit, so it never caught on. Nevertheless, Microsoft has included it in operating systems up to Windows XP, replacing it in Vista with Windows Sidebar. So what can we do with this old Windows 98 technology today? Create useful, time saving backgrounds!

Closeup of Launch Menu
I created this useful active desktop background out of necessity. I was constantly browsing to specific folders, but I don’t like cluttered desktops so I did not want to put shortcuts to them. Also, I wanted them only one click away, but did not want to over clutter my quick launch tray. My solution was an easy background that looks good and solves my problem.
I have included the Photoshop file so that you can modify it as you see fit. It is sized to my laptop screen resolution of 1680×1050, so it might take some tweaking for other resolutions. I made it simple to add a photo frame as shown on my background, in Photoshop simply drag your photo into the layer group entitled “Put Photos In Here”. I included a couple different background styles within the PSD, but I meant this release to be an exposure to what can be done with Active Desktop, rather than a design exhibition.

Click Here to Download (2.6mb)
Click Here for a live demo. Background image is full resolution (~1mb), be patient.

Quick Start
Extract Zip file to a place where it won’t be moved.
To get it to work for you, first modify the links in index.html to actual places on your computer and rename them accordingly.
Then, modify the CSS file to change the background or link colors/positioning if you wish.
In Windows, simply set index.html as your background.
If you have questions or comments, leave them below.


HowTo: Using Windows Themes

So there you are, your ultimate gaming machine that you got for Christmas is just booting up for the first time. After spending all that money buying a case with windows, glowing fans and UV reactive cables, you’d expect that what’s displayed on the screen to look as good as the machine sitting on the desk right? Well, when it finally loads the desktop you’ll see the painful realization that your 1337 gaming machine is far from just that. Lets face it, the Windows Default (blue) theme is less than stellar. Looking at the same dull interface day after day is not exactly easy on the eyes. But what are your options? Shell out $20 for WindowBlinds? Resort to the not so crappy Default (silver)? Thankfully there is a better option, and for those on a budget you will be happy to hear that its free. Read on..