Use gadgets in Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8
8GadgetPack makes it possible to use gadgets on Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8.
Note: 8GadgetPack isn't fully compatible with the upcoming Anniversary Update of Windows 10 yet. Some gadgets (i.e. the clock) don't show up. As a workaround, you can select Startmenu -> 8GadgetPack Tools -> Make gadgets smaller. However this will make your gadgets look tiny, depending on your screen.
Version history How-to
- 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.
- Windows 10 updated and automatically uninstalled 8GadgetPack!
Older versions of 8GadgetPack wern't compatible. Just reinstall the current version and everything should work.
- Win+G on Windows 10 is assigned to the game bar. But I want to use it to access my gadgets!
Version 15 and later lets you override the shortcut to use it for gadgets. You can control this option in the 8GadgetPack Tools menu.
- 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 works on Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10. 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. Even with the sidebar 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. Right-click on it and select options to do so.
- 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 (8GadgetPack Tools) which fixes several bugs and allows you to change various 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, didn't Microsoft remove 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.
Quote from Microsofts official statement to this: "How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability? An attacker would have to convince a user to install and enable a vulnerable Gadget." (source)
- 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, some 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. There are also some gadgets that work on Windows 7 / 8, but not on 10, most notably Network monitoring gadgets (but the ones in 8GadgetPack all work).
- I already installed an older version of 8GadgetPack. What do I have to do to upgrade?
Simply download the current installer and run 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.
Try to download and run 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.
You can also try this:
- Hold shift and right-click on the MSI file.
- Select: "Copy as Path"
- Press Win+X and select "Command Promt (Admin)"
- In CMD, right-click and select Paste, hit Enter and try to install again.
And if that's not helping contact me and don't forget to mention the error message.
- The uninstaller doesn't work!
Please download and start this removal tool to fix this. (Also check the question above)
- Some error message appears when I try to open gadgets!
Some gadgets require the .NET Framework to be installed. Try this: Press Win+X, select control panel, search for "Turn Windows features on or off" and select everything with ".NET" in its name. Press OK.
- I am running AVG anti-virus and gadgets don't start or there appear errors!
The Identity protection sometimes blocks this software without even notifying. You can verify that 8GadgetPack doesn't contain any viruses on VirusTotal and then follow these steps to add an exception for 8GadgetPack:
1. Double-click on the AVG anti-virus tray icon in the bottom right area.
2. Select "Options", then "Advanced settings...".
3. Select "Exceptions"
4. Click on the "Add Exception" button.
5. Click the "Exception Type" drop-down menu and select "Application or File".
6. Copy and paste the following text into the textbox and press "OK".
C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Sidebar\8GadgetPack.exe
7. Repeat the steps 4-6 with the following texts:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe
C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\8GadgetPack.exe
C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe
8. Click "OK" to apply the new setting. Click "Yes" if Windows asks permission to save the change.
(Note: The entries for the x86 version are neccessary even if you only use the 64-bit version.)
- A gadget doesn't seem 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 under C:. Open a Command Promt as Admin (Right-click on the startbutton 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 horizontal 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 stored, press Win+R and paste the following text: "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets" and hit Enter. 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 on your harddrive this way.
- 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.
- How do I install a gadget?
Double-click on the .gadget file. If that doesn't work, try to reinstall 8GadgetPack.
- Gadgets don't run at startup. What to do?
Go to start, select 8GadgetPack Tools and disable and then enable Autorun there. If that doesn't work, try to reinstall 8GadgetPack.
- Can I choose the installation directory?
No, due to technical reasons 8GadgetPack will always install in these directories: (assuming C: is the system-drive)
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.
- I want to have multiple rows of gadgets. Is that possible?
Yes! Simply add the gadget "7 Sidebar" multiple times and arrange the gadgets how you want.
- Can I use the keyboard to access the gadgets?
Yes! Press Win+G to show the gadgets and to switch between them. Use Tab to switch between gadgets that are docked to a sidebar.
Get notified about updates via
- 2016/06/14: Version 19.0 released.
Fixed a bug in Clipboarder that caused it not to start up correctly. Fixed some bugs in the installer. Made it easier to disable the window-manager if activated by mistake. Fixed bug in DriveInfo gadget that caused high cpu and memory usage over time. Fixed an autorun issue. Improved compatibility with upcoming Anniversary Update of Win 10. Changed default Weather gadget to My Weather. Improved gadget shutdown performance. Updated several gadgets.
- 2016/01/22: Version 18.0 released.
Fixed a transparency bug in 7 Sidebar. An errormessage "gadgets are not responding" shouldn't appear anymore. Updated several gadgets.
- 2015/12/04: Version 17.0 released.
Fixed an issue with the flyout of the Microsoft Feeds Gadget. Improved performance of the Glassy Network Monitor. Fixed a bug that caused the sidebar to be white. Also the transparency can now be enabled in high contrast mode on Windows 8 and later. Added a workaround for a bug that caused the gadgets to be always on top temporarily when you press Win+D, then open a Modern app on Windows 10. Fixed a hang in 7 Sidebar that occured on Windows 10 when explorer.exe hangs and the window-manager was open. Fixed a bug that caused the clock to display its hands off center. Made the gadget "Remove Drive Safely" high-dpi compatible and fixed a bug in the gadget that caused high-cpu usage over time.
- 2015/10/31: Version 16.0 released.
The default-theme of the clock is now crystal clear in high-dpi configurations (up to 200%):
Left is the old, right the new clock on 125% dpi.
Added a workaround for an issue that occured on Windows 10 Insider that caused high cpu usage and prevented some gadgets to open. Added the Sticky Notes gadget by Microsoft that was included in Windows Vista as an alternative. Removed the Microsoft weather gadget from the package. It is extremly unreliable and there are plenty of alternatives included.
Clipboarder now lets you search the internet for a copied text with a single click. Added a How-to on this page. Improved HUT Time Gadget. Updated some gadgets.
- 2015/08/30: Version 15.0 released.
Improved Windows 10 support. Created a new icon to fit Windows 10 style:
(if installed on Windows 7 or 8 it will keep the old icon). Win+G now works in Windows 10 to switch between gadgets. (You can disable this in 8GadgetPack Tools if you want to use the game bar). 7 Sidebar now adjusts its style to the Win10 taskbar. The window-manager in the sidebar now supports the new virtual desktops in Windows 10 and hovering over a thumbnail to peek into a window works again. Fixed a crash that occured when using flyouts in certain gadgets (e.g. Launch Control). Added high-dpi support for these gadgets: Custom Calendar, Digiclock, Launch Control and My Weather. Added an option in 8GadgetPack Tools to disable/enable the sidebar (because many people don't seem to realize that it is just a gadget).
- 2015/05/29: Version 14.0 released.
Added on option to 8GadgetPack Tools that allows to change the size of gadgets. Improved Windows 10 support. Added a fix that makes the Microsoft weather gadget more reliable. Added MSN Weather alternative. Improved DPI scaling with some gadgets. Fixed a bug in the CPU Gadget that occured on Non-English systems.
- 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.
First you need to download the installer (the link is on the top right of this page) and open it. This window will appear:
Click on Install.
And here you click on Yes.
After a while (it can take some minutes) the installer will be complete and you need to click on Finish.
These three default gadgets will appear on the right side.
Click on the plus symbol on the top right to see all available gadgets.
Here you can add a gadget to your desktop by double-clicking on it.
If you move your cursor above a gadget you can drag it around your desktop. It doesn't need to stay on the sidebar. There will also appear some buttons next to the gadget. Click on the X to close a gadget or on the wrench icon to access its options.
The options of the clock gadget allow you to enable the second hand or to change the timezone.
The next gadget is a clipboard manager. Here I copied the installer file and then the name of the file. Clipboarder will display everything you copy to the clipboard. By clicking on an element you make it the current clipboard. This way you can select older clipboards and paste them into other applications. You can also open a clipboard directly.
The options of Clipboarder allow many possibilities. You can use the shortcut Win+C to select an older clipboarder (works well together with Ctrl+V).
The options of the last gadget, the weather gadget, allow you to change the city.
You can also right-click on the sidebar. If you don't like the sidebar you can close it there. You will still be able to use the gadgets. Click on options to change the behaviour of the sidebar.
Here you can, for example, click on the first checkbox to make the sidebar always visible. This way you have your gadgets always in sight. A disadvantage is though, that the close button of maximized windows isn't on the top-right corner anymore. To fix this you can put the sidebar on the left side.
Alternatively you can enable the second checkbox on the view tab.
Here is a maximized video player and you can close it by using the X on the top-right of the screen. Of couse this will work for non-maximized windows as well.
You can access some advanced options by right-clicking on the X. For example you can add a preview of the application to the sidebar.
This way you can keep track of some applications on the side. You can hover with your cursor over the preview to peek into the window, just like in the taskbar. Right-clicking on the preview gives you some options as well.
There are several weather gadgets included.
Right-click on a gadget allows you to change its opacity. You can also access some general options about gadgets by selecting 8GadgetPack Tools: