Operating systems

The top 10 Vista sidebar gadgets

Deb's desktop

I love the Vista sidebar. I know many people think it's a waste of space, and Windows 7 does away with it altogether and just lets the gadgets float on your desktop wherever you want them (something you can already do with individual gadgets in Vista by detaching them from the sidebar). But whether they're lined up neatly down the side of my desktop in a bar or scattered around, I think gadgets are cool and useful. In fact, I have 20 of them running on my Vista desktop -- some on the bar and some detached and arranged on my own pseudo-sidebar near the bottom of my 24-inch monitor, as shown here.

Ed Bott recently shared his favorite gadgets with us in his blog, but while I agree with Ed that most (not all) of the gadgets Microsoft included in Vista are not very exciting, my favorites (except for one) are different from his. Of course, your favorites may not be the same as mine or Ed's, depending on how you use your computer and what information you like to have at your fingertips. If you're looking for ideas, you can check out the ones I find myself using most.

Note: This gallery is also available as an entry in our 10 Things blog and as a PDF download.

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

18 comments
Compusavy
Compusavy

Hello! can anyone send me the like to download the currency gadget shown here? or send me the link at proservices@aol.in With best wishes, Muralitharan A S Industrial and Risk Consultant

mynameised
mynameised

"Unfortunately, I couldn't find a version of the same gadget for quad-core computers, so I use one called mCPU that does the same thing." I tried that one but I like iStat Combo better. It is sleeker, monitors 4 cores of a processor and allows you to choose a different color for the bar graph.

g_schaack
g_schaack

This is a good multimeter sidebar gadget. Once you get by the learning curve, it can be very useful. I found it at "The Hobby Lounge". You must sign up to download it. Check it out at http://thehobbylounge.com/forum/index.php. I am sure you will be impressed. Gary

german_nieto
german_nieto

Thanks. These are almost a year old and do not has news.

tecnobuho
tecnobuho

Deb: for looking a well done imperial/metric converter, go to the HSBC bank page; they have a free small software that does such duties Spanish: HSBC Convertidor de Unidades or give me a link so i can send it to you Arturo Ruiz Chetumal,Mexico

drhemm3
drhemm3

Yes I think it is very good only 1 thing I run XP pro with a sidebar on the right side and would like to install 2 of your Gadgets but do not know how can you help me please David Hemming

FiOS-Dave
FiOS-Dave

I also like the "Eject CD" gadget. it is especially useful on my laptop, where the eject button is hard to find! I just discovered that it will also eject a disk in my external drive as well!

sdc01
sdc01

Try 'All CPU meter' by Addgadget.com.

chrissiesargent
chrissiesargent

really cool gotta get some of those myself thaks Deb.

fanjet
fanjet

Cute but cluttery. Great if you're using them all like a few times a day, otherwise, find a web page!

kskaronea
kskaronea

A few years back I wrote a unit converter for many types of conversions. I think its time to resurrect some code and look at designing some widgets :-)

amj2010
amj2010

put your task bar what normally sits on the bottom of your screen and move it to the left, then you'll get another perspective of your desktop. the sidebar is on the right side of it and put all your shortcuts in a map on your desktop and call it My shortcuts.. now you'll a windows vista supremo, no wee seven needed! it is that easy.

twickersmx
twickersmx

never mind Vista/ use opera browser /magnificent widgets including one giving your metric conversion/ and incorporated webmail / Vista as you indicate will be left with windows 7

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

There's a date on the original article. Check it before you read, not afterward.

trohland
trohland

Hi Debs, thanks for the information however we need to name the gadgets names :)

kskaronea
kskaronea

A few years back I wrote a unit converter for many types of conversions. I think its time to resurrect some code and look at designing some widgets :-)

timo
timo

For an easy unit converter that is not a sidebar gaadget try Microsoft's Calculator Plus, works great and handles a lot of conversions.