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Windows Vista included a Sidebar and Gadgets you could display on your desktop. If you've lost your Vista sidebar gadgets we'll get them back.

How do I restore Windows Sidebar to my computer? I use Vista.

Windows Vista sidebar gadgets appeared as a separate application only in Windows Vista. It annoyed many people (myself included), and was often turned off almost immediately.

What if you want it back?

Not a problem. It's actually quite easy to do. I'll look at that and how to manage the gadgets in it as well.

Windows Sidebar Properties

Start in Control Panel:

Windows Sidebar Properties in Vista's Control Panel

Double click on Windows Sidebar Properties and the answer to your question should be fairly clear:

Windows Sidebar Properties

Make sure that "Start Sidebar when Windows starts" is checked, and it'll reappear when you next start Windows.

If you'd like to start it immediately, click on the Start menu, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Sidebar and it'll start right up.

Gadget Management

If the Windows Sidebar is running, you can see the list of running gadgets by clicking on "View list of running gadgets" in the Sidebar's control panel app:

Windows Sidebar Gadget List

Here you can remove any gadgets you don't like.

To add gadgets right click on the Windows Sidebar icon in the notification area:

Windows Sidebar management menu

Click on Add Gadgets... and you'll get the interface for doing just that:

Windows Sidebar add gadgets

Sidebar in Windows 7?

From the online help:

What happened to Windows Sidebar?

Windows Sidebar isn't included in this version of Windows. Instead, you can display gadgets on your desktop.

Just right-click on an empty area on your desktop and click on Gadgets.

Article C4599 - November 17, 2010 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

2 Comments
Rezwan
November 23, 2010 6:19 PM

Is there anyway to show gadget on Windows vista without the sidebar (just like Windows 7)? A third party application maybe?

Not that I'm aware of. I think that's exactly why the Windows 7 gadget interface was revamped.
Leo
24-Nov-2010

Jonathan
November 25, 2010 7:12 AM

Thanks Leo, for this as well as other good advice. I turned mine (Vista sidebar) off as well, but there was one feature I liked and wanted to get it back.

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