Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to display an image on my desktop. Not as the wallpaper, but above that. If I had a real picture and set it down on an actual desktop, it would stay there. I want to do that in Windows. I can't find a way to do it that doesn't involve having the picture open in another viewer program of some sort, with title bars and menus and frames, etc. I just want the border-free image on my desktop. Sort of like a sticky note, only with an image instead of text.

I can't find anything online about how to do this. I would be surprised if it is not possible, so I thought maybe someone here might know. Thanks!

share|improve this question

Windows Active Desktop can do that (but not in Vista and up).

In XP: Go to Display Properties, Desktop tab, and click Customize Desktop... In that windows click the Web tab and click new and find your picture. You should be able to figure it out from there.

Beware, I think it uses Internet Explorer to display this or something like that to display it, so that might be a security risk (maybe it's different with IE 7+?).

share|improve this answer
Thanks. I'm using Win7 and Vista at the moment though. – truance Sep 14 '09 at 1:31

Several Choices. A third party program. There are several that will change the wall paper automatically. Wallpaper Tuner looks interesting. I used to use Webshots. Be aware of any you download. There are a lot of them that are spyware programs. Also, this is another program running in the background that can slow your computer down.

As a screen saver. choose a folder that contains your photos.

As wall paper.

You can make a copy of your favorite desktop background, then, paste your favorite photo onto the background file. This way, you can size and locate the photo where you want on the desktoop. Once you use that file as a desktop photo, it will look like you have placed your photo onto the desktop.

share|improve this answer
I'm not talking about wallpaper/desktop background, though. I mean just an image sitting on the desktop, "above" the wallpaper, if you can imagine that. – truance Sep 14 '09 at 1:32
Ok, out of curiosity, what is the difference? What is the significance of it sitting "above" the desktop? – Samuel Jaeschke Sep 14 '09 at 3:13
I need it to be a separate item than I can move with the mouse, and easily replace, or add to, with ease. Like you would manipulate physical photos or note scraps on a table top, for example. – truance Sep 14 '09 at 5:22

I've found a way to do it, that accomplishes most of what I want. It can be done using a Windows Sidebar gadget, to display just a single image. I had to jury rig it with the particular image gadget I have, which seems to be designed for slideshows. This works for what I need, for now. I had hoped for a more elegant solution, surprised this is not more common.

share|improve this answer
Perhaps you can ask over on Stack Overflow about this particular solution; it may not be too hard for somebody over there too whip up some code to display an image like that using a Windows Sidebar gadget. – Nathaniel Sep 14 '09 at 2:15

Download Yahoo! Widgets, then do a search for "One Photo". And there you go!

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I found a Sidebar gadget that does exactly what I need. I never used Sidebar so that had not occurred to me before. – truance Sep 14 '09 at 5:24

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.