I think you're saying that you would like your desktop to be populated with the contents of a folder that is somewhere on the network, presumably with better management, backups, etc. (since your desktop is really just a folder anyway). Also, I will assume you have permissions to the network locations and local admin permissions. Warning, if you network goes down you won't be able to get your desktop!
- Start by making a folder in the network location you want your desktop to be. Then "Map Network Drive" from "Computer" in Explorer (XP: Tools > Map Netowrk Drive). Select the drive letter and the
\\server\folder (you can browse if you want).
- Then (Vista/7), go into your user folder (typing
%USERNAME% works in all versions):
C:\Users\<username>\ and right click on the Desktop folder, click Properties, Click Location tab and type in
<mapped drive letter>:\ or click Move to find the network mapped drive. That should do it. You may need to restart.
OR: 2. In XP I think you would have to change a registry setting.
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
On the right sind you should see the path to Desktop: change it to your mapped network drive. Big warnings here about changing your registry. Also, I've never changed this key so I can't predict if there are any issues or complications with it. Research this more before you do it.
Of course, all this could be done by cmd with junctions, but I think this is messy.
mklink /J "%USERNAME%\Desktop" "<mapped drive letter>:\ or network folder"
or in XP (requires linkd.exe from the Resource Kit)
linkd "%USERNAME%\Desktop" "<mapped drive letter>:\ or network folder"
I hope this helps.