Live World Map on Desktop


In October 2007 I came across the World Sunlight Map which is an online image showing a map of the world overlaid with a representation of which areas were currently light and dark. It also gives an impression of what the current cloud cover looked like. This image updates (nearly) live so every time you visit, it will be slightly different.

The first thing that came to mind was that it would be good if this can be used as the desktop background for Windows XP. Obviously it would be good if this would update to reflect what the current light conditions and cloud cover were like.

The main problem here is that desktops usually only display the contents of a static image and getting this image to download and update would require some automation that could probably work but it would not be the simple solution.

The Solution

To get a desktop image that refreshes I decided to make use of the Active Desktop feature in Windows XP to display the image from the internet. The problem that arises from this is that it is tricky to get the image to update often enough (the minimum synchronisation is 1 day!).

To make the image update say every 10 minutes there is a workaround...

(1) Create a folder called Daft Logic on your computer in <Drive>:\Program Files\ - probably C:\Program Files\

New Folder called Daft Logic

(2) In <Drive>:\Program Files\Daft Logic\ create a new text file called New Text Document.txt

New File called New Text Document.txt

(3) Open New Text Document.txt and then copy paste the following code into the text file

(4) Save and close New Text Document.txt

(5) Rename New Text Document.txt to desktop.htm

Rename New Text Document.txt to desktop.htm

(6) Right Click on your desktop and select Properties

Right Click on Desktop

(7) On the Desktop Tab, click on the Customize Desktop... button.

Desktop Properties

(8) In the Desktop Items window, click the Web tab and then click the New... button.

Web Tab

(9) Browse to the htm file you have just created (C:\Program Files\Daft Logic\desktop.htm)

New Desktop Item

(10) Click OK, then OK, then Apply, then OK

(11) You will now need to maximise the window that has now appeared on your desktop so that it fills the whole screen. To do this, hover over the window then move up to the top gray bar and click the left maximise window button.

Maximise Window


If you wish to change the period between refreshes (default is every 10 minutes) then change the value in <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="600"> in the desktop.htm file from 600 to the required value.

The value is [number of minutes] multiplied by 60. So...

  • 10 mins = 600
  • 30 mins = 1800
  • 60 mins = 3600

Windows 7

As far as can be found, there is no active desktop option in Windows 7, therefore this method is not available in Windows 7 however an alternative method has been developed ... Live World Map on Desktop - Windows 7 Solution

Relevant Links

World Sunlight Map

iFrame height Problem

Meta Refresh

Comments For This Page

is this works on windows 8.1
By Ram on 18/06/2015
Hey, I love this and wish that I had found it years ago. Thank you very much!!! Two things. 1. Has anyone found a way to get the whole zoomed out map? If you change the source image to "800.jpg" the map itself only takes up a small portion of the screen, with the white background taking up the rest of it. So I was wondering if there was a way to "zoom" in on the image without using the larger "1600.jpg" image which is too big for my screen? 2. I have a kind of solution for minimizing the white borders around the image. It involves some tweaking for your individual computer, but I made some changes to the "< iframe id="refreshedcontent" src=.........> < /iframe>" portion of the code. What I did was I changed the "HSPACE" to "-12" for my computer and the "VSPACE" to "-20" to move the frame up and over to the left. Then I increased the "style="height:.......;width:......" till I minimized the white border as much as possible. For my computer screen, changing the height to: "height:305%" and the width to "width:102.5%" did the trick for me. Again, it isn't perfect, but it makes the borders almost disappear. Thank you again for doing this. Take Care, -David
By David on 18/09/2012
Namish, good idea. We will add a link to the Windows 7 version you have created.
By Daft Logic on 14/02/2012
Hello There, Like most of you i was also searching for windows 7 solution but then i thought of creating one which i just did. I have posted in on my blog please visit - Cheers
By Namish on 10/02/2012
By s on 17/10/2011
This is awesome, has anyone solved the "white border" issue?
By Dave on 04/09/2011
how about for windows7??
By jameel on 24/08/2011
all i get is the text on my desktop and not the live world map.Could some one help please?
By willow on 10/08/2011
Don't forget you
By Sudheesh on 25/07/2011
how can ido in windows7
By hareesh on 28/06/2011
thanxXx yar
By Khalil asad on 20/06/2011
This is very cool! Thank you!
By Kaos on 15/05/2011
how can i do this on windows 7??
By mark on 24/03/2011
its very cool and simple dude...Thanks a lot....
On 11/03/2011
awesome! love it works perfectly :) By Styx Ferryman on 18/09/2009
On 05/03/2011
Doesn't work. Why does my desktop.htm file save as desktop.htm.txt?
By Jimmy on 03/03/2011
its long process but i understood it to a mean
By mahesh ravela on 25/02/2011
Wow nice article.. Thanks for share it
By reza on 23/02/2011
i dont get the max min buttons any suggestions?
By pj on 16/02/2011
By trampas on 05/02/2011
How does i do this on the windows vists program?
By John on 12/01/2011
Hi Stef. Thanks for the comments. I'm sure people will make good use of it!
By Daft Logic on 23/10/2010
Hi again, in case anyone else has the same problem: i kind of solved it by changing the values .layout {height: 98%; width: 99%; padding: 0px;} now i have even borders at least. Would still be interested in completely removing them, tried a lot but nothing worked, so help still welcome. Best wishes, Stef
By Stef on 23/10/2010
Hi, thanks for the instructions, but I have one more question: the desktop- picture (looks awesome!) has narrow white borders on all sides. Wouldn't be so much of a problem, if they were even, but they aren't! Any way to fix that? Then i would be 100% happy about this! Thanks anyway, Stef
By Stef on 22/10/2010
This is really cool, it took me three tries but it works! Thank You September 24, 2010
By Hank on 24/09/2010
thanks BOSS On 13/07/201
By atul on 18/09/2010
I am unable to save document desktop.htm When I attempt to save it, it is saved as Desktop.htm.txt
On 03/08/2010
thanks BOSS
On 13/07/2010
Will this map work on Window 7 64bit
By Windows on 15/04/2010
Verry nice topic and i also like that comments box, we dont need to full many fields to speack and this trik is working great
By on 22/03/2010

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