Windows 7 Tutorial

Where is the sidebar in Windows 7? Are gadgets gone in Windows 7?

Here are two common questions for Windows Vista users who upgrade to Windows 7: "Where is the sidebar in Windows 7?" And: "Are gadgets gone in Windows7?" The first question is answered in this tutorial, and the second is "No" - gadgets have not been removed from Windows 7!

Among the changes from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is the absence of Sidebar - so, where is the Sidebar in Windows 7? Are gadgets gone? No! Windows 7 includes gadgets, or "desktop gadgets" as they are now called, but you no longer need the Sidebar to place your gadgets. If you remember, Windows Vista allowed you to "dock" (place) gadgets on the Sidebar, but you could also make a gadget "float" above the desktop, outside the Sidebar.


Welcome to desktop gadgets without Sidebar in Windows 7

Where is the Windows 7 Sidebar gadget holder? So, without Sidebar, how do you access gadgets?

Sidebar-less gadgets in Windows 7 The change in Windows 7 is that you no longer need (or can) dock gadgets on the Sidebar: instead, Windows 7 lets you make the gadgets visible anywhere on your screen, and they are visible when you minimize your windows; by default though, gadgets are still aligned on the right of your screen, where the Sidebar used to be, the topmost being the first gadget added, and so on.

The removal of the Sidebar in Windows 7 does not come as a standalone change: Windows 7 introduces a feature called "Aero Peek", which allows you with a single mouse movement, to hide all opened programs and reveal your desktop's content - along with, you guessed it, all your gadgets!

In a sense, Windows 7 brings you the best of both worlds by allowing you to have gadgets, without taking ~15% of your screen with a Sidebar.

Keeping your gadgets organized without Sidebar

Windows 7 lets you freely place your desktop gadgets anywhere you want them on screen, but helps you keeping them organized by "snapping" them into place when you move them (drag them with your cursor) near the right of your screen, where the Sidebar used to be.

Tip: you can download a free Sidebar gadget for Windows 7 from Microsoft's online gadget gallery. Please see our Windows 7 Sidebar tutorial. It will look just like the old Sidebar! To see how to get other gadgets in general, see our download and install new gadgets tutorial.

Desktop gadgets that ship with Windows 7

Gadget Gallery in Windows 7 Like Windows Vista, Windows 7 ships with "built-in" gadgets: these are the clock gadget, the calendar gadget, and the weather gadget, all pictured in the screenshot above (on the right).

Other free gadgets that come with Windows 7 include the CPU Meter, Currency (converter), Feed Headlines, Picture Puzzle, Slide Show, and the Windows Media Center gadget (not included in all editions of Windows 7).

Hardware-related gadgets

Some computer manufacturers may also include on your PC gadgets created to help you manage your hardware, like a video card or sound card. This do not ship with Microsoft's version of Windows 7, but are added later on in customized versions of Windows for companies like Dell, HP, etc.

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