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?

By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.