A. Sysinternals offers a free utility called BgInfo (short for "background information") that displays configurable system information on your desktop wallpaper. I find BgInfo very useful. I use Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 and VMWare Workstation sessions extensively and use BgInfo to display the machine information on the desktop, which helps me to remember exactly which environment I'm working on.

Because BgInfo runs as an application and not as a service, the utility can't automatically update configurable system information on the desktop. However, you can automate the update process by scheduling the application to run periodically, or you can run BgInfo at startup to update system information every time you log on. This figure shows the default information that appears on screen when you run BgInfo.

You can also add information to the BgInfo desktop image as output from a script, a registry subkey, file content, an environment variable, or a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) query. Be aware that if you use wallpaper that isn't the full size of your desktop and you typically use the desktop settings to stretch the wallpaper, BgInfo stretches the image, making it appear more jagged than usual. For best results, use a full-size background (e.g., use a paint package to resize the wallpaper if necessary).