Windows Desktop Gadgets

What Does Windows Desktop Gadgets Mean?

Windows desktop gadgets were mini applications available in Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 versions and based on the platform of CSS, HTML, XML and JavaScript. The widgets were capable of performing different tasks like time and date display, controlling external applications, RSS feeds, etc. Windows desktop gadgets were discontinued and retired after the Windows 7 version as Microsoft reported serious vulnerabilities and security threats with these gadgets.

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Techopedia Explains Windows Desktop Gadgets

Windows Vista and Windows 7 came with preloaded widgets such as a calendar, feed headlines, slide show, CPU meter, clock, weather monitor, etc. Widgets were designed to work well with their specific area and tasks. Windows desktop gadgets were available in a sidebar for the Windows Vista version but were configured to be placed anywhere on screen for the Windows 7 version. Along with this, from the Windows 7 version onwards, Windows desktop gadgets were provided with the ability to be resized and the settings to be modifiable. They were running by default in the Windows Vista versions, which reportedly made the boot-up time slower, but this feature was removed from the Windows 7 version. All the Windows desktop gadgets ran in a single sidebar process, and some of the gadgets took up system resources. They had the ability to instantiate any installed ActiveX objects that were enabled through Internet Explorer.

With administrator approval, the gadgets ran with standard user privileges. Windows desktop gadgets were useful for giving information to the user and were easily accessible. These gadgets were considered as a way to personalize the desktop as most of them were visually more appealing than the default one.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.