Update: This bounty has been claimed.

One of the glaring changes in Windows Vista was the complete removal of Active Desktop, the feature that let you use a live web page as your background image, or in the case of some users, many live web pages. I’ve personally received emails from dozens of readers wondering how to get that feature back, and a number of readers have been interested in a replacement.

Reader Scott is interested in sponsoring a replacement for Active Desktop in Windows Vista. The How-To Geek will sponsor half of the bounty, which currently stands at a total of $103.24 for an open source replacement for this feature.

Here’s the feature details, for those unfamiliar:

  • The ability to display more than one web item on the desktop. Each could be a live web page or an image from a web page.
  • The web items must be “live”, meaning they will refresh dynamically and any links on a web page will be active, launching the preferred browser.
  • The items must be able to be resized and moved around.
  • The items should be “glued” to the desktop the same way Active Desktop used to be.
  • This should not be a Vista Sidebar gadget.
  • From a technical standpoint, it should not suck memory and CPU the way Vista Sidebar gadgets do.

Here’s an example image of what you could do with Active Desktop, which was pretty useful for people interested in tracking a lot of visual data such as the weather maps shown here (click to enlarge)


The rules:

  • We would prefer an open source replacement, so nobody can get rid of this feature again.
  • If you want to make a freeware closed source version, you can discuss that with Scott on the forum thread, but the Geek will sponsor open source software.
  • You can direct any questions or submissions to geek@howtogeek.com, or discuss on the forum thread.
  • The How-To Geek readers should get the first chance to read about the winner.

If you have questions or would like to discuss the details, there is an active forum thread for this bounty.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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