It’s a fairly common problem. You click the ever inviting Restore my Active Desktop button, but nothing happens. You still have that ugly white Active Desktop being displayed.
When I run into this problem, I have two methods I use to fix it.
Active Desktop Recovery Fix
Right click on a blank area of the desktop and select Properties.
Now select the Desktop tab, then press the Customize Desktop button.
Here is the strange part.
Make a change to the Desktop icons section by selecting or deselecting one of them, then press OK.
Now press Apply.
If Method 1 was going to work, your Active Desktop message should have disappeared and you should have your standard desktop back.
If Method 1 did not work, try Method 2.
Open up your registry: Start -> Run
*Warning: Be careful what you are doing when in the registry. It’s very easy to make your computer non-usable if you edit the wrong entry.
Expand the following:
Double-click on DeskHtmlVersion, select the Decimal radio-button, and change the value from 272 to 0.
Then press OK.
Close out of Registry Editor, click in a blank area of your desktop, and press F5 to refresh the screen.
You should be back at your normal background/wallpaper.
Pat yourself on the back for a job well-done!