Windows Vista Tutorial

Customize your Sidebar gadgets in Windows Vista

This tutorial teaches you how to access Sidebar gadget options and customize any gadget in Windows Vista. Each Sidebar gadget, whether shipped with Windows Vista or downloaded from a third-party creator, offers access to its settings, if they were designed by the gadget creator.

We dedicated separate tutorials for some of the most popular Sidebar gadgets in Windows Vista, and cover their options configuration in detail: these include the built-in clock gadget, calendar gadget, and weather gadget, as well as the third-party iTunes gadget.


Configure gadgets' options in Windows Vista

Sidebar gadget without options Accessing gadget options in Windows Vista Moving your mouse cursor over a Sidebar gadget in Windows Vista will reveal the gadget's "mini toolbar", which contains at least a Close button, to hide the gadget, and a "grabber", to move the gadget around or outside the Sidebar (although most gadgets can be moved by simply clicking and dragging on their surface area). Notice that the calendar gadget (left) does not have an Options button, where as the Clock gadget does. This simply means that Microsoft has not built options to let you customize the gadget in the first place.

Customize Sidebar Gadgets

Customizing a Sidebar gadget's settings To view or change the options of a customizable Sidebar gadget, click on the Options button, represented with a wrench icon. It will open the gadget's configuration screen. In the screenshot below, Windows Vista's bundled Clock gadget contains several options: you can choose between 8 looks for your clock, assign it a name or a time zone independent from the operating system time, and choose to display or hide the second hand.

Customizing Windows Vista's Clock gadget

Again, not all Sidebar gadgets in Windows Vista can be customized: settings are only available if the gadget creator allowed for optional configurations.

Extending functionality and customization settings of existing gadgets

In many cases, gadgets are "signed" by their creator, and a contact email address is commonly supplied as well: so, if you want functionality in a gadget that is not currently available, you can simply email the gadget programmer and ask for this extra functionality: Windows Vista gadgets (and Windows 7 gadgets for that matter) are rather simple programs to develop, and adding new customization options and settings in a gadget may be only a matter of minutes for their programmer. Don't be shy! If you use a specific gadget all the time, let the programmer know, and kindly ask for the update: nice words accompanying any request will always be appreciated!

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