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The Windows Vista Sidebar contains small applications that many find handy any, and others just annoying. Turning Windows Vista's Sidebar off is easy.

How do I totally remove the Sidebar (gadgets) from Windows Vista?

My first reaction to this question was "Ah, so I'm not alone."

I've never quite gotten the Windows sidebar. Or the equivalent on the Mac for that matter. Yes they contain cute little gadgets, widgets, or what have you, none of which I ever use, and none that I would want to give up precious screen real estate for.

Fortunately turning it off is pretty easy.

With the sidebar running, you'll see an icon in the notification area of your Windows task bar:

Windows Vista Sidebar icon in the Taskbar Notification Area

Right click on that, select Exit, and you'll get this confirmation message:

Vista Sidebar exit confirmation

Make sure that Start Sidebar when Windows starts is unchecked. Click Exit Sidebar.

That should do it. The sidebar should be off and it should stay off.

I'm not aware of any way to physically remove the sidebar code from your installation of Windows. But aside from taking up a little extra disk space, simply turning it off and keeping it off should have nearly the same result.

Article C3183 - October 16, 2007 « »

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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?

Dave Ball
October 17, 2007 10:07 AM

I just turned the side bar "down" a bit so that I can keep my cute widgets (CPU meters, clock, laptop battery monitor), but they aren't in the way. Just right click on the gadget and you can change its opacity. Dropping the opacity to 60% makes the gadget translucent. This reduces the noise enough that I find them useful.

February 22, 2010 9:35 PM

And what if its not in your notification tray? genious!

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