If you have just ditched your old Windows XP computer and have bought a brand new Windows 8 PC, then you must have noticed that Windows 8 does not have any Active Desktop feature that existed in Windows XP. In fact the Active Desktop was discontinued in Vista and 7 as well. It was a great feature that allowed you to set any webpage (local or online) as your desktop background. If you have been using Active Desktop in Windows XP and now cannot find it in Windows 8, then it can be understood if you feel a little disappointed at first. But there are other ways and alternatives to set any webpage as your desktop wallpaper even in Windows 8.
As an alternative to the Active Desktop for XP, you can use WallpaperWebPage in Windows 8 or 8.1 (it also works in 7 and Vista). After the installation, it places an icon in the Windows system tray. You can right-click on this icon and select Configuration from the context-menu. This will open a simple dialog box where you have to enter the web address of the webpage that you want to use as desktop wallpaper.
For online webpages (accessible through the internet), you can just copy-paste the web address from the web browser. But if you want to use a local HTML webpage, then you have to add file:/// in front of the file location. For example, for a file E:\web.html, you will have to enter file:///e://web.html in the configuration window.
Once this is done, you will have to wait for 5 seconds before the webpage is loaded and displayed as your desktop background. In the following screenshot, I am using Bing.com as my Windows 8 desktop background. This makes it very easy to access Bing search for images, news, videos and so on.
If you like the application and are happy with the results, then you can right-click on the application’s system tray icon and select Autorun to set it to be run automatically each time Windows starts up – making sure that your selected webpage is loaded as the desktop background.
Conclusion: WallpaperWebPage is a simple alternative for the now-forgotten Active Desktop that existed in the old Windows XP computers. It can be used to set any HTML page or website as your desktop background very easily.
You can download WallpaperWebPage from http://www.box.com/.