Windows Vista

Sidebar and Gadgets


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Gadgets are easy-to-use mini programs that give you information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools. Windows Sidebar helps you to organize your gadgets.

As you use your computer to access information, perform tasks, and interact with software, you may at times feel like you're facing information overload. You have to open a web browser just to check the weather, open an application to view your calendar, and open a calculator program just to add up a few numbers. Now, with Windows Sidebar and its associated mini-applications called gadgets, the specific information you need is at your fingertips.

Windows Sidebar

Windows Sidebar is a pane on the side of the Microsoft Windows Vista desktop where you can keep your gadgets organized and always available. Windows Sidebar makes great use of the space on widescreen monitors and also works smoothly on standard displays.

You can easily customize Windows Sidebar to suit your preferred location—always on top or resting below maximized windows. If you don't want to keep your gadgets docked on the Windows Sidebar, you can simply move them off, hide the sidebar, and place them anywhere on your desktop.


Gadgets are mini applications with a variety of possible uses. They can connect to web services to deliver business data, weather information, news updates, traffic maps, Internet radio streams, and even slide shows of online photo albums. Gadgets can also integrate with other programs to provide streamlined interaction. For example, a gadget can give you an at-a-glance view of all your online instant messaging contacts, the day view from your calendar, or an easy way to control your media player. Gadgets can also have any number of dedicated purposes. They can be calculators, games, sticky notes, and more.

Windows Vista comes with an essential set of gadgets to get you started, and you can easily download more from an online gadget gallery. This gallery hosts gadgets from a wide variety of developers and publishers and offers an extensive selection to meet your specific needs.

To open Sidebar

• Open Windows Sidebar by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Windows Sidebar.

To keep Sidebar visible at all times, you must set it so that other windows won't cover it.

To keep windows from covering Sidebar

Because of the space Sidebar requires, this option works best if you're using a large or wide-screen monitor or multiple monitors.

1. Open Windows Sidebar properties by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Windows Sidebar Properties.

2. Select the Sidebar is always on top of other windows check box.

3. Click OK.

need more help -> using Sidebar and Gadgets...

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