iTunes gadget (Windows Vista iTunes Sidebar Gadget)
iTunes gadget for Windows sidebar — For an increasing number of people (using Windows Vista or not), iTunes has become the one-stop application for music, audiobooks and podcasts. While iTunes can be minimized to the system tray, you are then left with the tedious right-click to control tracks.
Using iTunes in "Mini Player" mode will often end up being on top of a scrollbar or important portion of the window below it. There comes the iTunes gadget, or iTunes Sidebar gadget (available for both Windows Vista and Windows 7).
Use the iTunes gadget to control iTunes from Windows Vista's Sidebar
The iTunes gadget, developed by ShaunNZ and distributed for free, supports playing or pausing the current track, skipping to the previous or next track, and a useful, optional auto-update feature.
Without turning on the auto-update option (disabled by default), the iTunes gadget will only update the current track information when you explicitly click to skip to the next or previous track. If your PC is strong enough to run Windows Vista, it will be able to handle auto update without a problem.
Note that, if you are closely watching the iTunes gadget while iTunes starts playing another song, you may notice that the iTunes gadget still displays the previous song: this is normal, and not a problem with either your copy of iTunes or the gadget. This is simply a lag due to the current interval the iTunes gadget waits before checking with iTunes on current song playing: fortunately, you can customize the iTunes gadget:
Configure the iTunes gadget settings and options
When your mouse cursor is above the iTunes gadget, click on the wrench icon to access its options: since most tracks are 2-3 minutes long, setting the gadget's auto-update interval to a minute (60 seconds in the input field).
The iTunes Sidebar gadget becomes much more than a controlled play head: it now tells you which track is playing without having to open iTunes, which can now stay in Windows Vista's system tray.
With the iTunes gadget installed and running, the only time you now really need to open iTunes' main window is to switch to another playlist: rating and other useful track-related commands are still available by right-clicking on the iTunes icon in the system tray.
"One or more applications are using the iTunes scripting interface"
When exiting iTunes, you may see a message that reads "One or more applications are using the iTunes scripting interface. Are you sure you want to quit?" iTunes displays this message because it detected a third party application connecting to it; this is because the iTunes gadget is currently running. (And this is the same message you get when exiting iTunes why Firefox runs with the FoxyTunes add-on ("plugin"). If you click Quit, iTunes will exit and the iTunes sidebar gadget will basically become useless; to keep iTunes running, click Don't Quit.
Conversely, you may find yourself in the case where the iTunes gadget (now available to both Windows Vista and Windows 7) no longer controls iTunes: this kind of hiccup can easily be remedied either by simply restarting iTunes, or by closing the iTunes gadget from the sidebar and restarting it (by adding it back to the sidebar from the Gadget Gallery application). If the problems you are having with the iTunes gadget persist, while iTunes functions properly, the easiest solution will probably be to uninstall the iTunes gadget altogether, and re-install it from the official download website.
As always with programs and gadgets, not just the iTunes gadget, only install software from websites and/or companies you trust: while gadgets like the iTunes gadget have limited "permissions" compared with regular applications (iTunes for example, is a full-fledged application, unlike gadgets), they could still pose some security problems if you don't use your best judgment when installing new programs (or gadgets, in this case). Search engines like Yahoo! will often warn you of malicious sites:
Showing iTunes as taskbar toolbar
Without using the iTunes gadget for Windows' sidebar, it is possible to display an equivalent to iTunes' mini player as a toolbar inside the taskbar (also true for Windows Media Player). A separate tutorial explains how to display iTunes in the taskbar in Windows Vista.
To learn more about iTunes, please visit our iTunes tutorial.up ↑