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I would like to automatically download and replace an image from the NASA website to use as my desktop.

in linux i used a cron job to do this, using wget to retrieve the file and a small utility to update the desktop background. cron allowed me to do this at 6 hour intervals( the update times for the SOHO images).

is there an easy way to do the same thing in win 7?

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I would probably use Wallpaper Changer Command Line Utility and wget for windows to make a small script to run as a scheduled task. –  Nifle Oct 21 '12 at 14:49
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2 Answers

Yes. you can for example use NASA's image of the day rss feed as a wallpaper (it will download the new image automatically). Just copy/paste this in plain text file with the .theme extension :

[Theme]
DisplayName=Nasa
[Slideshow]
Interval=1800000
Shuffle=1
RssFeed=http://www.nasa.gov/rss/lg_image_of_the_day.rss
[Control Panel\Desktop]
TileWallpaper=0
WallpaperStyle=0
Pattern=
[Control Panel\Cursors]
AppStarting=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_working.ani
Arrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_arrow.cur
Crosshair=
Hand=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_link.cur
Help=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_helpsel.cur
IBeam=
No=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_unavail.cur
NWPen=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_pen.cur
SizeAll=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_move.cur
SizeNESW=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nesw.cur
SizeNS=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ns.cur
SizeNWSE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nwse.cur
SizeWE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ew.cur
UpArrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_up.cur
Wait=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_busy.ani
DefaultValue=Windows Aero
Link=
[VisualStyles]
Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\themes\Aero\Aero.msstyles
ColorStyle=NormalColor
Size=NormalSize
ColorizationColor=0X6B74B8FC
Transparency=1
[MasterThemeSelector]
MTSM=DABJDKT

as you can see here the interesting line is

RssFeed=http://www.nasa.gov/rss/lg_image_of_the_day.rss

you can use any RSS feed you want.

Reference

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Windows' equivalent of cron is Task Scheduler. You can create a script to download the file (it can use cygwin so you can even use wget) and set it to run every 6 hours using the Scheduled Tasks control panel.

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