BgInfo places machine, networking and configuration information on the desktop by creating a desktop (background) bitmap. This simple program is very useful for helping to keep track of what machine your using, and putting important information right in front of the user.
Here's a simple screenshot of my desktop background:
While it's useful for basic information, it becomes more useful when you start to think outside of the box on what information it can display. BgInfo can use a configuration file to display additional information for you, opening the application up to provide additional information. Really anything that you can see/discover/query or otherwise on the machine or from the machine.
In an example: I've been working with Amazon Web Services (Aws), and create machines all the time. Keeping track of the machine, and it's relationship to the larger cloud was difficult. BgInfo can display not only machine information, but also information from the cloud. The blog post outlines a basic way to get Aws information onto the desktop within the cloud. It's quick, clean, effective... and most importantly reliable: EC2: Using BGINFO to display Instance Details (Instance-Id, AMI Id, Availability Zone)
The basics of BgInfo and a download can be found in this article: BgInfo v4.16. Below I've included some additional resources that provide some additional information.
This article actually outlines how to do the BgInfo configuration to a database: Use BGInfo to Build a Database of System Information of Your Network Computers. This is pretty far from what I see as it's intended usage, but demonstrates some of the flexibility of the utility.
For the record, BgInfo works on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 (and higher). If your using a machine older than 2003 or XP, it's time to upgrade.
BGInfo Keep an eye on system info
EC2: Using BGINFO to display Instance Details (Instance-Id, AMI Id, Availability Zone)
Use BGInfo to Build a Database of System Information of Your Network Computers