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Back in Windows XP you had a feature called Active Desktop to easily take care of features such as using a webpage as your wallpaper. This has been taken off Windows since Vista and there is no inbuilt program or utility that will let you add an RSS slide show theme. So you have to do some manual work to get it working. I’m sure that wont scare you off, now does it ?

Tweak the Aero Theme

You will need to edit this basic Aero theme. The theme file is situated in Windows\Resources\Themes folder, but since Windows considers these as write-protected files, you cannot edit it there. So copy it to your desktop first.

Open the Theme file in Notepad (Right-click, select “Open with”, Choose Notepad). As you can see; the file is nothing but a text file with information about the theme elements. Scroll down to the end of the text and add the following lines:


Replace the text “PLACE YOUR FEED HERE” with the RSS Feed URL.

Format the feed

Not every feed is planned the same way. To make sure it fits your screen layout we now have to use a small utility available from windows Live, called FrameIt.

Open your browser and surf on over to: Go to http://frameit.live.com/ and sign in with your Windows Live ID. Now click on the Custom link and add whatever RSS feed you would like. In this example I’m using: http://feeds.mintywhite.com/WindowsGuides. ‘

NOTE! Using the mintywhite RSS Feed might not give you what you want as it is not written to show images initially.

The beauty of this approach is that you can use almost any RSS feed and it will be formatted properly. While it does work even if you mix up different types of feeds, it is a good practice to keep image feeds separate from the rest.

Once the feed has been created you will see it as a headline at the top of the browser window. Underneath it are several links. Click on “Manage Settings” to choose the desired Feed Screen Size. I have set mine at 1600×900.

When you are satisfied with your settings, save them and then click on “Set up a frame”. This window will display the new Feed URL in the format of: http://www.mintywhite.com/unavailable/. Copy this link.

Now return to your Notepad Document.

Replace the text “PLACE YOUR FEED HERE” with the RSS Feed URL you’ve just copied.


If you would like to add several RSS Feeds to your desktop, simply add more RSS Feed URL’s to this list, separated by a semicolon ” ;”.

Save the Theme using a different name.

Use your new RSS Feed Wallpaper

To activate your new theme, Double Click it. You will be prompted with two options about downloading attachments. Choose to do it locally (meaning saving attachments on your hard drive).

At first, you are only going to see the Windows 7 background. As the RSS Feed images get downloaded (depending on the set interval), you will see that the background change periodically.

Open the Personalization page again. Here you will find a theme in the My Themes section with the title Windows 7, which is your newly created RSS Feed theme.

Click on Desktop Background at the bottom.Default action for background images is; “Fill the screen”, though I would suggest to use the Center-option, keeping images to appear un-distorted. Save changes.

Back in the Personalization screen, you will find a new Unsaved Theme. Right-click this theme and save it using a new name. Delete the extra Windows 7 theme and will be left with only one Windows 7 theme that you no longer need.

There you go!

About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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5 thoughts on “Use RSS Feeds as Desktop Background [How To]”

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice one! appreciate it!

  2. Janettee McCrary says:

    I would really love to see a photo of the actual desktop too:)

  3. Enrique J. says:

    i second this!

  4. Krish says:

    Cooool. I have created one and used it. it is really cool

  5. Apostol says:

    Now that windows frameit is notrsupported anymore by Microsoft, what other options we have to replace this utility?

Comments are closed.

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