In Pictures: Dearly departed - the Windows features that didn't make it

As Windows 8's arrival is imminent, we look back at the once-must-have features in earlier versions of Windows that got killed along the way

Active Desktop

Born in Internet Explorer 4 (for Windows 95), died in Windows Vista. The precursor to the modern Metro tiled interface, Active Desktop was an abomination that rarely worked correctly, frequently froze machines, and led to many Windows users thinking they just weren’t smart enough to figure it out -- although it was flogged as a major improvement justifying the upgrade to Internet Explorer 4. Microsoft’s first foray into push technology let Windows users place items on the desktop that are updated directly by websites. It was replaced in Windows Vista by the revolutionary new Sidebar and gadgets.

Key: 1. An active desktop item. 2. Toolbars. 3. The Quick Launch toolbar. 4. The Channel bar.

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