When Microsoft first introduced its Active Desktop, it created a handful of sample Active Desktop items, including the Microsoft Investor Ticker, MSNBC Weather Map, and a few others. While there are relatively few content items developed specifically for Active Desktop, you can use almost any Web content on the desktop.

Adding dynamic content to the desktop is easy. Right-click the desktop, choose Properties, and select the Web tab. Click New, which opens the New Active Desktop Item dialog box. Enter the URL, and click OK.

When Windows launches the Add Item To Active Desktop dialog box, you can click OK to add the item with its default settings. Or you can click Customize to launch a wizard that lets you specify synchronization settings and enter authentication credentials if the remote site requires them.

You can only specify synchronization once a day at a specific time. However, you can tweak the properties of the existing schedule to change the frequency.

On the Web tab, select the site, and click the Properties button. On the Schedule tab, select the synchronization schedule, and click the Edit button. On the Schedule tab, choose a synchronization frequency from the Schedule Task drop-down list. Use the additional options to configure the schedule.