Windows

Poll: Should Windows Desktop Gadgets be banned from the corporate workstation?

The TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog member poll: Should Windows Desktop Gadgets be banned from the corporate workstation?

A couple of weeks ago I published what I thought would be a lightweight photo gallery on Windows Desktop Gadgets. Apparently, Windows Desktop Gadgets inspire a much more passionate response than I once believed. Many members took time from their busy schedules to lambast the very idea of Desktop Gadgets.

Now, I am not a great fan of these little applets, mainly because I prefer a clean desktop where only high-level folders are displayed. However, I don't feel as passionate about their very existence as many seem to feel. So, I thought perhaps we should get a reading on this issue with a poll.

And in light of some of the responses I am getting for this week's photo gallery on Adobe Air applications, the distaste from these Desktop Gadgets and Air Widgets is not restricted to any single vendor. When it comes to Air applications, I have found TweetDeck to be quite useful, but perhaps I am in the minority.

What do you think? Should Desktop Gadgets be banned from the corporate workstation? Why? Are they just toys to be relegated to the home PC, or do they have a legitimate place on the modern workstation desktop?

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

19 comments
JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

There are so many automation/widget methods available you couldn't possible prevent them all. And, more to my point, there will always be those (like me) who will be able to break any locks or restrictions and do what they want to anyway.

awgiedawgie
awgiedawgie

How about instead of "Message has been deleted" y'all do a little "User has been forcibly ejected into cyber nothingness, and their IP is on the forever banned list." I'm thinking that would slow them down even more. They've been a member since today. You've managed to delete all 53 of their posts, but not them?

awgiedawgie
awgiedawgie

I voted 'Yes' but that comes with clarification. Gadgets have a certain amount of useful potential. However, there is a lot more potential for ABuse than there is for use. If it were possible (and for all I know it may be) to only allow approved gadgets, then I think they could have a place. I am more along the same mind as the author, and maybe a little more extreme. I don't even have icons showing on my desktop, and my taskbar stays hidden. I don't like clutter on my screen. But I'm not going to say that that means that everyone should have their desktop looking like mine. If something can make a user operate more efficiently, I think that's a good thing. If it's a distraction, then it should be eliminated.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

While a ban is not necessary, I do believe that some of the gadgets out there are the most useless ones. Some don't work. Others barely. Another bunch are just useless. It's like the crap you see at the Apple app store. No matter if there are 240,000 apps or 2 million, a lot of them will be useless or will need additional requirements [turning off the lights at home with your iPhone while you are elsewhere?].

ncironman
ncironman

I do allot of graphic design and therefore have 3 monitors. I use my 2 larger monitors for my art work and the smallest of the three is on the right with several useful (to me) gadgets. I use the weather, clock and drive directory/cpu/ram meter. The screen also is shared with my start bar (vertically), caller ID log, IPBX VOIP console and Outlook InBox. I know everyone doesn't have three monitors but for my type of work it's a luxury I don't think I could give up after 2 years of use. It works for me! However - if I had employees (which I don't), then there's allot of gadgets I would NOT want running on my company network/pc's, accessible to employees I'm paying to WORK! It's a mixed bag. I like the idea above about a white list!! Think it could be done with "group policy"? Win7 64, Intel i5, 8g ram.

jfuller05
jfuller05

Some of the gadgets like the weather gadget and clock gadget are popular for corporate users and in my opinion, are of no harm. Personally, I like a clean desktop too with the exception of a few shortcuts. If there was a way to restrict possibly harmful gadgets, now, that would be nice to have that option.

john3347
john3347

In my little world, desktop gadgets ARE banned - have been since they appeared in Vista (which is also banned). Windows Libraries are also disabled and banned, as well as social networking sites and anything directly connected with Google.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Depends on the individual applet. I have no use for them, not finding any of them worth the screen real estate, but that doesn't mean there isn't value to others in them.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

on which gadgets are the subject of discussion! There are many valid gadgets which can be very useful in a corporate environment for monitoring, communicating and simplifying everyday tasks. There are also many gadgets whose only real use is time-wasting. They serve no useful purpose in a corporate environment. Ban totally? No. Ban selectively? Yes.

dawgit
dawgit

From the Penut Galery. You're trying to paint with a very wide brush here. IMHO. Some should be, some might be, and more than a few will be used as needed. Each will have to be judged acording to the needs of the work place. Just like everything else.

reggaethecat
reggaethecat

is a joyous place to work! Presumably people aren't allowed pictures of their football team or kids on their desk, they all have to eat lunch in a line at the same time, and they have to ask before they can go to the toilet. A bit like prison, eh?

grayknight
grayknight

I regularily use the remote desktop gadget. I also find use for several link gadgets and the dilbert gadget. I would like to find an instant message type gadget for google talk and windows live.

Jaqui
Jaqui

maybe you will run across one that you do find useful. [ not to likely, knowing you, but possible. :D ] I agree that a blanket ban wouldn't be the best solution. since anyone needing to contact offices around the world could use the clock widgets to display the time in those offices. [ about the only one I can really come up with any use for myself. ]

SKDTech
SKDTech

I could understand blanket bans in some environments but I can also see potential uses for desktop gadgets in corporate environments. I haven't checked to see if the option exists but the ability to limit installation to a gadget whitelist would make more sense to me.

williams
williams

There are too many people who get off on telling others what to do and I for one am totally against giving these people any ammunition whatsoever. Any proposal to ban things should be first subject to a simple risk assessment; i.e.what is the size of the problem and what is the risk (of not banning)? If both of these are low then a ban is a waste of time and will probably be counter productive. I personally think that a good management philosophy would be to give staff a list of rules, remove all restrictions and let everone know that random sampling of activities will take place with rule breakers faced with dismissal

awgiedawgie
awgiedawgie

"Ban the banners!" Excuse me - if you're proposing a ban on banners, then you are in effect banning yourself. I wish you the best of luck. And those people who "get off" on telling others what to do - they're called "The Boss." "...give staff a list of rules..." Hello!? That's telling them what to do, isn't it?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...give staff a list of rules, ... rule breakers faced with dismissal" If that isn't banning, what do you call it?

grayknight
grayknight

rules are about what actions are allowed and which are not allowed. Not which apps can or cannot be instaled. So a rule would be: no streaming of non-work related material. So you can run a media application, just can't stream content all day.

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