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Windows Desktop Gadgets
Windows Sidebar logo.png
A component of Microsoft Windows
Windows Sidebar.jpg
Included with Windows Vista, Windows 7
Replaces Active Desktop
Related components
Microsoft Gadgets, Windows shell

The Windows Desktop Gadgets (called Windows Sidebar in Windows Vista) is a widget engine for Microsoft Gadgets. It was introduced with Windows Vista, in which it features a sidebar anchored to the side of the desktop. This feature was removed in Windows 7, however, gadgets can snap to the side. Its widgets, called Gadgets, can perform various tasks, such as displaying the time and date and showing the CPU usage. Several gadgets ship with Windows, and anyone can develop more gadgets.



Windows Desktop Gadgets contains mini-applications or Gadgets which are based on a combination of Script and HTML. They may be used to display information such as the system time and Internet-powered features such as RSS feeds, and to control external applications such as Windows Media Player. Gadgets can run "docked" in the sidebar or they can "float" anywhere on the desktop. It is also possible to run multiple instances of a gadget simultaneously.[1]

Windows Vista ships with eleven gadgets: Calendar, Clock, Contacts, CPU Meter, Currency Conversion, Feed Headlines, Notes, Picture Puzzle, Slide Show, Stocks, and Weather. Several other gadgets available during the Vista beta such as App Launcher, Feed Viewer, Number Puzzle, Recycle Bin and Egg Timer were removed. Windows 7 adds a Media Center gadget and removes the Contacts, Notes and Stocks gadgets.

Microsoft provides a link to a web site called Windows Live Gallery where additional Sidebar gadgets that have been created by third party clients can be downloaded.


Sidebar originated in a Microsoft Research project called Sideshow (not to be confused with Windows SideShow.) It was developed in the summer of 2000, and was used internally at Microsoft.[2] It had many similarities to current desktop gadget software, including a clock, traffic reports, and IM integration.

The Sidebar appeared in "Longhorn" (Windows Vista) builds as early as September 2002, and was originally intended to replace the notification area or Quick Launch toolbar in Windows, but these plans were scrapped after the Longhorn "reset" in mid-2004.[3]

The Windows Sidebar was rebuilt for and began to appear in Windows Vista builds in the second half of 2005, some reviewers and Macintosh enthusiasts have pointed out the Sidebar's similarities in form and function to Konfabulator (now Yahoo! Widget Engine) and the Dashboard widget engine first included with Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X v10.4, which had been released a few months earlier. It should be noted that Windows Sidebar originally appeared in Longhorn long before Yahoo! Widgets and OS X Dashboard made their first debut.

In Windows 7, Windows Sidebar was renamed Windows Desktop Gadgets, and the sidebar itself is not present.

See also


External links



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