Windows

How do I... Add and customize sidebar gadgets in Microsoft Windows Vista?

By Mark Kaelin

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic blog post and download.

Microsoft added sidebar gadgets to the Windows Vista interface with the intention it would enhance the overall user experience. However, the gadgets that actually ship with Vista do not exactly fill that promise. But, as it happens so often, users, developers, and the generally ingenious have filled the gap with a plethora of gadgets, widgets, and gizmos, one of which, at least, is sure to add a desired function to your desktop. This How do I... shows you how to find and add Windows Vista sidebar gadgets to your desktop interface.

Now, I usually lead the pack in my contempt for anything that further clutters my desktop, but many of these gadgets are actually useful. They provide access to functions that normally remain hidden behind menus and folders. If the objects sitting on my desktop perform a useful function they cannot really be considered clutter, can they?

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.

6 comments
Shrike49
Shrike49

Re How do I... Add and customize sidebar gadgets in Microsoft Windows Vista? The Blog & Download Links Are broken -

tanguansan
tanguansan

I like the Sidebar and some of the ingenious gadgets. Recently, I experienced a weird behaviour with the Vista sidebar. It just disappear from my desktop, and no matter how I try to rerun the program, it does not appear. There is no error message from the OS. My system is Centrino Duo with 2GB memory.

pi6us
pi6us

Try to use MS office shortcut bar instead...

rgeiken
rgeiken

Be sure to install gadget that shows you ram and processor core usage. If you have a dual or quad core, it can look pretty impressive, and you can see the value to having the extra cores. Sometimes all 4 of the cores on my Intel Q6600 quad core are in action. I sure do love the quad processor, and it is nice to see the system parameters that can affect system performance. Right now I am using 1438 meg. of 3325 meg. available. For all it's failings, I sure do like Vista, and am sure that in the near future they may fix some of them. Nothing right now that keeps me from completing things that I want to do. Windows Defender is a Pain in the A**, but I guess that it is just trying to do it's job as Microsoft sees fit!!!!!!