Use gadgets in Windows 8 / 8.1
8GadgetPack makes it possible to use gadgets on Windows 8 / 8.1.
- Is it free?
- I didn't really use gadgets previously. Is it really worth installing these?
You should try it. The gadgets included are really useful when working with the PC. Unlike Metro-Apps gadgets can access useful system-information. The included Clipboard-Manager gadget for example will highly improve your productivity. With the Sidebar gadget, you can make the gadgets visible while working with maximized windows. Monitoring network traffic, setting the volume with one click and having an analog clock visible all the time are things you don't want to give up once you get used to it.
- The gadgets look very tiny, especially on screens with high resolutions. Can they be made bigger?
Windows 8.1 (and Windows 7 with Internet Explorer 11 installed) introduced a bug that prevented gadgets from scaling properly according to the DPI-setting. In version 13 I was finally able to find a workaround that fixes this. You just need to upgrade to solve this. You can even configure a custom scaling by using the registry files found in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Sidebar\8GadgetPack".
- What are the requirements?
This is supported on all versions of Windows 8 / 8.1, except Windows RT. Administrative rights are required to install.
- Does it work on Windows 7?
Yes! Version 12 and higher can be installed even on Windows 7. Windows 7 already does have gadgets by default, but this program gives you an easy way to install many high-quality gadgets. It can also bring the gadgets back in case they were disabled or uninstalled. In case you don't like 8GadgetPack you can uninstall it and still use the gadgets provided by Windows 7.
- Why is there a sidebar? Windows 7 didn't have one.
This is actually just a gadget to help you keeping the gadgets organized and visible. You can right-click on it and select "close sidebar" to do so. The gadgets can still be moved onto the desktop as you like. Or you can even add more sidebars by adding the gadget "7 Sidebar". This is especially useful when working with multiple monitors. You can also make the sidebar appear automatically when touching the border and customize its design.
- Will 8GadgetPack install some crap on my PC?
No, the installer will only install the original Microsoft files and set the neccessary registry entries to make the gadgets work again. The only addition is a small tool which allows you to uninstall all Non-Microsoft gadgets and delete all gadget settings. There is also an uninstaller included which removes everything the installer added. I could make quite some money by adding adware to the installer, but I'm sure you appreciate it that this installer is clean.
- Aren't gadgets unsafe? Afterall, Microsoft removed them for a reason?
Gadgets can contain viruses like any other software. Despite the warning when installing a gadget people seemed to think that it is safe to run any gadget (e.g. like it is to view a website). That is not the case. Opening a gadget is as dangerous as it is to run an .exe file. But this is not a security hole. If an attacker wanted to access your computer, he'd need to convince you to open his prepared .gadget file. As long as you trust the source of the gadgets you install and you use anti-virus software you should be safe. You can read on Microsofts official statement to this here.
- Will I be able to install gadgets other than the ones included?
Yes, when 8GadgetPack is installed you can open and install .gadget files made for Windows Vista or Windows 7. But be careful, gadgets can contain, just like other programs, viruses or trojans.
- Will all gadgets work that worked on Windows 7?
No, quite a lot of gadgets don't work or are unreliable on Windows 8. This is mostly because of Internet Explorer 11 which the gadgets internally rely on. 8GadgetPack already uses some tricks to workaround some problems but if you have issues with a gadget you better contact the author of the gadget and ask him to fix it.
- I already installed an older version of 8GadgetPack. What do I have to do to upgrade?
Simply download the installer again and open it. It will update your installation and even update outdated gadgets automatically. You don't have to uninstall first. All gadget settings will remain.
- There appears some error message in the installer.
First, try to download the installer again and check if the error still appears.
If you have 8GadgetPack already installed and it is not uninstalling you can use this removal tool. It is a small program I made that can remove broken installations, and also removes all gadgets and gadget settings.
If that is not working, try the following: Go to TaskManager > Details > Explorer.exe and click on End Task. Now click on File in Task Manager > type Explorer.exe and check the box below (Create this task with administrative privileges). Now try the installation again.
Now if that's not working either, try to download and run this.
And if that's not helping contact me and don't forget to mention the error message.
- A gadget seems not to be working. What can I do?
The best choice is to contact the author of the gadget. I cannot do much about it (unless I made the gadget), I just ship the original gadgets files to make gadgets working under Windows 8. If it is a Microsoft gadget that does not work you are out of luck. They didn't just discontinue gadgets but also seem to shut down the servers required by the weather, currency and stocks gadget. There are a bunch of alternative weather gadgets included in the pack and dozens of such gadgets can be found on the internet.
- Is there a way to do a silent install?
Yes. First download the installer and save it unter C:. Open a Command Promt as Admin (Right-click in bottom left corner and select it). Then type the following:
msiexec.exe /i "C:\8GadgetPackSetup.msi" /qn /norestart
You can close the Command Promt then. After a while the gadgets option will appear in the desktop right-click menu.
The installer will allow every user on the computer to use gadgets, but the gadgets are not actually shown for a user until they are selected from the desktop context-menu.
- I have a gadget that requires the 32-bit version of the sidebar. What do I do?
The installer does install both the 32 and 64-bit version of sidebar.exe on 64-bit Windows. You simply need to run C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe to run the 32-bit version.
- Is it possible to put the sidebar on top or bottom?
No, sorry. It is often requested, but an implementation would have many problems.
- How can I backup my gadgets, transfer them between PCs or delete them all together?
To access the directory where the gadgets are saved, open an explorer window, click on the top at the address bar and paste the following text: "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets". Each folder there contains a gadget and you can do with them whatever you like. If you screw up, select "Reset all gadgets" in the 8Gadgetpack Tools.
- I just want to have a clock gadget on my desktop and not all this stuff that comes with 8Gadgetpack. Is there some "light version"?
Sorry, the installer system I use doesn't allow this. But you can easily delete all extra gadgets after the installation by going to the folder mentioned 1 question above and deleting all folders inside of it. You save about 40MB by doing this.
- When I click on "Show Desktop" or press Win+D the gadgets disappear!
This is a bug and occurs on Windows 8.1 and when Internet Explorer 11 is installed. Install the new version of 8GadgetPack to fix this. I added a workaround in version 12.
- How do I uninstall/reinstall a gadget?
Right-click on desktop, select Gadgets, right-click on the desired gadget and select Uninstall. To reinstall, download the .gadget file and open it after Uninstall.
- Gadgets don't run at startup. What to do?
Go to start, select 8GadgetPack Tools and disable and then enable Autorun there.
- Can I choose the installation directory?
No, due to technical reasons 8GadgetPack will always install in these directories:
64-bit installation: "C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar"
32-bit installation: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Sidebar"
Non-Microsoft Gadgets: "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets"
On Windows 7 the existing files in these directories are not touched by the installer and will also remain after uninstall.
Get notified about updates via
- 2015/01/31: Version 13.0 released.
Finally added high-dpi support. Gadgets shouldn't appear too small anymore. Added a separate uninstaller tool (here) to fix broken installations. Started to work on Windows 10 support. Most of the gadgets work on Windows 10, but not all. Updated outdated gadgets. Added iBattery gadget and a japanese calendar gadget (only visible on japanese Windows versions).
- 2014/08/23: Version 12.0 released.
Added a workaround to make gadgets stay visible when pressing Win+D or when using the Show desktop button under Windows 8.1. Fixed a bug that prevented access to gadgets by touch. Due to high demand, it is now possible to install 8GadgetPack on Windows 7. Improved startup reliability. Improved multi-monitor support in 7 Sidebar. Updated outdated gadgets and added a new gadget (that I made myself): Glassy Network Monitor.
- 2014/03/26: Version 11.0 released.
Fixed a bug that often caused a crash at startup. Updated outdated gadgets.
- 2014/02/27: Version 10.0 released.
Cleaned up the 8Gadgetpack Tools. Fixed a bug that caused gadgets to appear multiple times in startup tab of taskmanager. Also fixed a bug that caused not to load all gadgets on startup. And another bug that caused "library errors" and errors involving "d3d9.dll" was fixed (this bug was my fault for a change, and not Microsofts). Added skin support in Clipboarder and fixed a bug that prevented it to open clipboards in Modern App Programs. Added a few gadgets and updated the outdated ones.
- 2013/12/11: Version 9.0 released.
Startup is more reliable now hopefully. Added a few gadgets and updated the outdated ones. The sidebar is now not always on top by default and accessible by keyboard.
- 2013/08/22: Version 8.0 released.
Fixed a bug that prevented to start all gadgets at startup. The crash on startup should happen way less often now. Also fixed a bug that prevented the installation of 3rd party gadgets when the temp directory was not on the systemdrive. Added a few gadgets and updated the outdated ones.
- 2013/07/22: Version 7.0 released.
Added Windows 8.1 compatibility. All gadget settings will remain during the update to 8.1 if you install this version. The new Internet Explorer in 8.1 is really buggy in combination with gadgets. It was really a lot of work to workaround that, so I hope you appreciate this. If you have a high DPI setting the gadgets will look smaller on Windows 8.1.
- 2013/05/05: Version 6.0 released.
I hopefully fixed a bug that caused the gadgets to crash at startup or prevented gadgets to show up. Also made autostart more stable. Fixed a bug that prevented flash gadgets to work. Updated outdated gadgets and added a few. Added silent install support (see FAQ).
- 2013/01/20: Version 5.0 released.
Resolved a bug preventing the gadgets to start. Updated a lot of gadgets and added a few. Improved install time and installer compression. Changed the weather gadget that appears on first start-up to WeatherCenter
- 2012/11/13: Version 4.0 released.
Resolved an error message preventing to install when an uninstall previously went wrong. Added several gadgets and updated a few. New users will get a message now that the sidebar is closable and that gadgets still can be moved to the desktop.
- 2012/10/29: Version 3.0 released.
Resolved an error message appearing when opening event viewer. Fixed a bug preventing the installer to work when windows is not installed on C:.
- 2012/08/30: Version 2.0 released.
Added 30 languages. Basically every major language is supported now. The Microsoft gadgets support only 6 languages (Chinese (simplified), English, French, German, Japanese, Russian) though, but they will fall back to English, so you can still use them. Contact me if you want a specific language added.
- 2012/08/23: Version 1.0 released.