Windows XP and prior versions have a neat piece of functionality that most of us are unaware of called Active Desktop.
The idea is simple instead of your desktop in Windows being static background and thus unused screen real estate other than a place to default back to why not make it dynamic?
The user may select a web page and allow part of the desktop to display this webpage.
So, for example if you are a stock market junkie having this info embedded on your desktop is pretty neat. This was in some ways the precursor to widgets in Vista and Windows 7.
How do you enable this function you ask?
- Go to the Windows Desktop
- Right mouse click and select Properties
- Select the second tab Desktop from the dialog box
- Click on the Customize Desktop Button
- Now select the Web tab and either enable the default Start Page or add another URL
- There are various properties here which are worth looking at to ensure the page is regularly synchronized and that the hard disk is managed vis a vis caching.
- The Active Desktop Window size may be changed using the mouse as you would resize any other window.
Other uses: Google Docs, Windows Sky-Drive, News Feeds and so many more.
So XP users now you too can have some retro “widget like” desktop fun.