Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets

In Windows Vista, there was a new feature called Windows Sidebar. This contained Gadgets, small information tools enabling you to organise information that you want to access quickly without cluttering your work place. It was both innovative and entertaining.


The sidebar features on the right-hand side of your desktop. You can populate it with gadgets available in the Gadget List window.


Problems with Vista’s Sidebar and Gadgets

While it was a fun thing to add Vista’s Sidebar and Gadgets to your desktop, its main disadvantage was that it took up valuable real estate. This is not to say you couldn’t uninstall it.

You can temporarily remove the Sidebar from your Desktop. This illustration shows you how.


What are the Gadgets?

Desktop Gadgets are practical mini applications, offering information at a glance and providing easy access to frequently used tools. Gadgets keep you in touch with the world.

For example, you can add a gadget that displays the weather. Once connected to the Internet the weather gadget’s information is updated regularly. The Feed Headlines gadget displays the latest news headlines. There are many gadgets available.

These are the Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets. Most of the Gadgets are the same as they were in Vista but there are two new ones.


Installing Windows 7 Gadgets

There is a similar set of Gadgets available in Windows 7. Gone are Notes and Contacts from Vista’s set being replaced by UBD Radio (an Internet connection) and Windows Media. These two gadgets can be a bit of fun.

However, with Vista’s  Sidebar relegated to the dustbin of history, Windows 7’s Desktop Gadgets are now more flexible, you can place them anywhere around your screen.

Personally, I find the most useful gadgets to be the Clock, the Weather and the Calendar.

Now, let set about finding some gadgets.

  1. Right click on a blank area of the desktop.
  2. In the pop-up menu, select Gadgets.
  3. This opens the Gadget window.
  4. Select the gadget you want.
  5. To install the gadget, right click on it and in the pop-up menu, select Install.choosing
  6. Your newly selected gadget appears on your desktop.
  7. While the Gadget window remains open, you can add more gadgets.
  8. When you have finished, click the Close button.Extra Gadgets


After loading your gadgets your Desktop will look something like this.

Finished Desktop

Removing Unwanted Gadgets

If you need to remove a gadget here’s how you go about it:

  1. Move your mouse pointer onto the gadget to be removed.
  2. On the right of the gadget a small toolbar appears. It contains three buttons. The top button, the X button, closes gadget.
  3. Click the X button.Removing gadgets

Customizing Gadgets

When you add the Weather gadget, by default, it is set to New York. This is fine if you live there.

new york weather

To changet to your locality, follow these steps:

  1. Move your mouse pointer onto the Weather gadget.
  2. A small toolbar appears on the right.
  3. In the toolbar, select the spanner button.
  4. This opens the Options window. Here you can make some adjustments:
  • Search for your location
  • Set the Temperature

Adjusting weather

We’ll start with the location.

  1. In the “Select current location” box, type in your town and country.
  2. In the “Show temperature in” section, choose Fahrenheit or Celsius.
  3. When finished, click the Ok button.
  4. Your Weather gadget set to your location apears on the Desktop.


Re-sizing the Weather Gadget

Now when you load the Weather gadget, it’s pretty small. Here you’ll learn how to re-size it. Not only is is bigger and easier to read but it contains more information.

  1. Move your mouse pointer onto the Weather gadget.
  2. A small toolbar appears on the right.
  3. In the toolbar, select the Arrow button.
  4. This re-sizes the gadget showing greater detail.Resizing weather

    Winding Up

Now there are numerous things you can do with these gadgets but to finish off by tinkering with the clock settings.You can make these changes by accessing the toolbar and using the spanner button.

Here you can change the clock’s face, change the clock’s name, change the time zone and add a second hand to the clock. The illistration below shows you where these changes can be made.

Clock options

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15 Responses to Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets

  1. Majority September 27, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Gone are Notes and Contacts? why? i need the notes and contacts!! for me is more usefull than a radio!!

    • Mustafa Mohamed September 28, 2009 at 11:12 am #

      Regarding the Notes gadget, you can use “Sticky Notes” provided with Windows 7. Just type its name in the start menu’s search bar or “%windir%system32StikyNot.exe”.

      And as Sean mentioned earlier, you can use the “Get more gadgets online” link in the Gadgets window.

  2. Sean Higgins September 27, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    if you click on “get more gadgets online” it will take you to a place where you can choose from over 3500 gadgets. most are useless junk, but there are some good ones like the weatherbug and gmail notifier. also the cpu meter and network meter are two of my favs!

  3. Anonymous September 27, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    “It was both innovative and entertaining” – Innovative? Not in any realm! A certain OS with a fruit for a logo has had their own version of these for years, Microsoft – as with most of their “new and innovative” things – completely lifted this idea from Apple.

    • Name September 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

      stfu troll!

      • Anonymous September 27, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

        Truth hurts doesn’t it? 😉

  4. Jason September 27, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    I use very little gadgets, but the ones that I do use are very helpful. What I would love is a banking gadget that could sync to my bank account and display my balance and the last few transactions. I imagine that security could be an issue with something like this, but it would be very useful. Anybody know of anything out there like that?

  5. hello September 28, 2009 at 7:29 am #

    Neither apple nor microsoft Created gadgets… Yahoo (i think) came up with this in the name of yahoo Widgets for windows XP!

  6. Ignorance kills this world November 15, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    Building on Hello;’s comment, it was indeed neither apple nor Microsoft that came up with this concept. It was Konfabulator (later acquired by Yahoo).

    Both copied the idea.. make sure you get your facts right before stating them.!_Widgets

  7. sebastian January 16, 2010 at 6:51 am #

    here a great google gadget

  8. MissBMoon May 2, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    then how do I instal some gadget that isn’t in Wondows official page of gadgets???

    for example… I wanna install this gadgets

    How can I do it???

    • MissBMoon May 8, 2010 at 10:04 am #

      Please… help me T_T

  9. Yonanto December 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    My windows calender gadget doesn’t show the date after i drag it to my desktop, anyone knows what happens? I would more appreciate if anyone wants to give me the solution in my email.

    • Yonanto December 17, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

      many thanks :p

  10. Windows 7 January 13, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    You are not talkin here Language Translator gadget “The Language Translator gadget is a usefultool if you need to translate text. It can handle fifty-four different languages and has a wide variety of uses.”

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