I am looking for freeware that will allow me to display a text file on my windows desktop.

Hopefully some software that is lightweight, and will work on WinXP to Win8.

I plan to use this freeware in accordance with some batch file/scheduled tasks, to update the text file used, with pertinent information, then display that updated info on my desktop.

So it's important it's freeware and lightweight.

Thank You.

  • I'm curious as to the advantage of showing directly on the desktop, rather than perhaps in its own window (which can be sent to back, forced to front, etc.)?
    – MrWhite
    Feb 24, 2013 at 21:13
  • 1
    It's just far less obtrusive to have on desktop vs having a window floating around. Plus it looks seamless. Harder to avoid reading.
    – crosenblum
    Feb 24, 2013 at 21:27
  • Displaying a text file, that would be updated by other software, scheduled tasks, batch files etc, seem's far less obtrusive way to give notices.
    – crosenblum
    Feb 24, 2013 at 22:36
  • It's certainly less obtrusive in some ways, but a lot less flexible IMHO. Personally, I never see the desktop from the moment I switch the machine on to the moment I switch it off (if I switch if off!). Presumably having these messages displayed at all is for people to actually see them? Having to minimize apps to see the desktop is actually quite unfriendly and possibly more "obtrusive"? Having these messages displayed in their own window enables this to be moved (perhaps to another screen), resized, minimized or even closed (or minimised to the system tray).
    – MrWhite
    Feb 24, 2013 at 23:22
  • Possible duplicate: superuser.com/questions/178248/…
    – thilina R
    Jul 31, 2014 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


This program can display anything you like on the background.


It is meant to display system info but you can remove all that and replace with any text you like.

  • I've used bginfo before, can this be installed silently, and pre-configure it with what file to display?
    – crosenblum
    Feb 24, 2013 at 22:34
  • Yes. Read the documentation for details. You may need to translate your file to this tool's config format though. Feb 24, 2013 at 22:48

Putting the text up as a desktop background is... weird. If you really want to do that, you will need to set the desktop background to an appropriate image.

You can use the command-line tools in ImageMagick to render text to an image. This is an example how to set a background image programmatically, if you need to (setting it manually once and then running the UpdatePerUserSystemParameters command will probably be sufficient for you).

You may still want to consider just launching Notepad or a brwoser with the file, or setting the notes as the home page in the browser.

  • I've seen similar tool's out there, mentioned on sites like lifehacker etc. For example klogshow. But this really should be a lightweight software. Not an image. Just a textfile that is displayed on the desktop, similar to how conky or desktopinfo or bginfo, but with just the text file, no system info.
    – crosenblum
    Feb 24, 2013 at 22:35
  • @crosenblum: bginfo simply generates another bitmap image from the textual data to use as the background image, it doesn't actually display the information "as text" on the desktop. I assume this is how the other apps work as well? I don't think the OS (certainly as far back as WinXP without an "active desktop") has provision for anything other than a background "image"?
    – MrWhite
    Feb 24, 2013 at 23:27
  • @crosenblum: I think bginfo can also be configured to not update the desktop background, but instead display the information in a popup or display a notification in the system tray, ....
    – MrWhite
    Feb 24, 2013 at 23:33

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