The concept of desktop gadgets has been around for quite some time, and Microsoft officially introduced them in Windows Vista to much fanfare. Desktop gadgets offered the ability to view various information at a glance, play mini-games, and more. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to kill this beloved feature after Windows 7, citing security reasons.
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Starting with Windows 8 and beyond, Microsoft began to heavily push Live Tiles instead, which are supposed to offer similar functionality. But one of the drawbacks is that you'd have to access the Start menu or Start screen before you can access the tiles. Another concern is that since Live Tiles run in a more restrictive environment, they are less useful for some purposes, such as monitoring system information.
So what are users of Windows 10 supposed to do if they still want to use desktop gadgets? Well, some clever developers had the same questions and came up with some nice solutions. In this guide, we will cover the top two free solutions to bring desktop gadgets back to Windows 10.
Method #1: Windows Desktop Gadgets
Windows Desktop Gadgets is a free solution that will help to bring back the Windows 7 desktop gadgets that you loved to modern versions of Windows, including Windows 10.
Installation is quick and easy—just follow the simple on-screen instructions and you should be up and running in less than a minute.
Once installed, simply right click on the desktop to access the gadgets from the context menu. Or you can access them from the control panel, under the Appearance and Personalization section.
You will see that now you have access to the classic desktop gadgets.
Of course, if you want more gadgets, simply click on Get more gadgets online in the gadgets window. Alternatively, you can manually visit the page yourself.
Method #2: 8GadgetPack
Another free solution is 8GadgetPack. Originally made for Windows 8 (hence the name), it will still work with Windows 10.
Once again, the installation is pretty straightforward, just follow the on-screen instructions.
By default, 8GadgetPack comes with more gadgets out of the box, with over fifty included.
8GadgetPack also can be accessed from the Desktop context menu and the Control Panel as well.
In addition, 8GadgetPack has a configuration utility which will allow you to disable auto-running of gadgets, change the size of gadgets, reset gadget settings, and more.
8GadgetPack will also allow you to add custom gadgets using .gadget files. But be careful in adding these custom gadgets by verifying that they are from a trusted source and are clean of malware, which was the reason Microsoft removed them in the first place.
While it's highly unlikely Microsoft will bring back gadgets in an official capacity, using Desktop Gadgets Installer or 8GadgetPack will help to resurrect desktop gadgets in Windows 10.
Which of these programs did you use to bring back gadgets? Let us know in the comment section below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.
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then, it's safe to use desktop gadgets this way? won't be any security issues?
Yes it's safe using either of the two programs mentioned in the article..
Just be careful when downloading gadgets from other sources.
thanks, i just miss the all cpu meter ;)
The local gadgets work in Win10, but none of the gadgets are able to connect to the internet - so the weather gadgets, etc., are not useful.
David, unfortunately Microsoft shut down the ability for the gadgets to connect to their servers to retrieve data, so not much can be done to resolve that specific issue ...
Ah, thanks, that explains my weather app dieing, though another weather app seemed to be working still.
I just did the Nov. update because I got tired of the nagging, did it totally kill sidebar from working now? I can't get it to launch. I'll reboot and try to reinstall if it still doesn't. I miss my system meters.
edit: ah, yeah, reinstalling sidebar fixed it. Now I just need to track down all my gadgets again, sigh. Thanks MS. Eh, nevermind, the 8gadget pack is the easiest way to go, it has all the gadgets I wanted anyway. I'm finding some weather apps still work, I had to fight with the MSN one, but it's showing me my weather now. I wish Weather Meter worked though.
I have installed the Method #1: Windows Desktop Gadgets on my pc and some of the gadgets dont work like the weather....how do I uninstall this from my laptop?
Randye, if you want to delete a specific gadget, there should be a delete option for the gadget itself. If you want to delete the whole program, then just head over to the Control Panel and uninstall programs as usual.
Surprised there is no mention of Rainmeter. It is free, has many gadgets, can connect to the internet, and is fully customizable.
8Gadget is compromised with ransomware. It should be removed form the list. Bitdefender has warned me several time that 8gadget.exe was attempting to encrypt files. I have since removed 8gadget from my system and have not had any more issues.
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