Desktop gadgets were useful widgets that could have been added to Windows Vista or Windows 7 to increase productivity. These desktop widgets are long gone but you can still add them to Windows 10 with this third-party software.
Wait, what are Windows 10 Gadgets and Widgets?
Although it might seem strange to see the popularity of desktop gadgets all these years later, they were once very popular. These widgets could display the time, weather and sticky notes as well as the CPU speed.
Desktop gadgets can be placed around the desktop like any Windows application, but preferably down the right-hand side. They could also be hidden behind your main apps and act as part of the background.
It’s pretty useful, right?
These Windows widgets were unfortunately abandoned with Windows 8’s arrival. Instantly, you could not see the time in Hong Kong or access RSS feeds from your desktop. This information was instead combined into Windows 8 live tiles. Windows 10 continued this trend with the integration of Cortana and improved notifications.
In hindsight, it makes sense to drop Windows desktop widgets from Windows 8. The desktop was eventually replaced by a Start screen. With Windows 10’s return to a dominant desktop, widgets, gadgets and other similar tools are possible.
Microsoft killed Windows Desktop Widgets and Gadgets.
Microsoft dropped Windows Gadgets following Windows 7 because of security concerns.
Microsoft revealed in 2012 that vulnerabilities in its Gadgets could enable Remote Code Execution. This allows remote attackers to gain access your computer. It also noted:
- “Some legitimate Gadgets… may contain vulnerabilities”
- It is possible to be tricked into installing a “malicious gadget.”
The hacker could use both of these attacks to execute code under your account profile, potentially opening backdoors for malware or even taking over your entire computer. To disable the Windows Sidebar, and the Gadgets of Windows Vista and Windows 7, a fix was made A few weeks later, Windows 8 arrived and the Gadgets vanished.
How to add widgets in Windows 10
These security problems have been resolved for a long time. Hackers shouldn’t be able to limit your productivity. You are now ready to add new widgets to your Windows 10 desktop.
There are four notable tools that allow you to add widgets to Windows 10 and replicate the Windows Gadget experience.
- Widget Launcher
- Windows Desktop Gadgets
Continue reading to find out how to add widgets in Windows 10 using these tools.
Widget Launcher – Get new gadgets for Windows 10
Widget Launcher is available from the Microsoft Store and allows you to place widgets on your Windows 10 desktop. These gadgets are different from other widget tools. They have a modernized look that is compatible with Windows 10.
Widget Launcher is still as simple to use as the desktop widgets and gadgets that Windows Vista and 7 offer.
- Install the app
- Run Widget Launcher
- Click on the widget you wish to use
- Place the widget wherever you like on the Windows 10 desktop
The main app is “closed”, but it continues to run in the system tray.
Just like the Windows Vista widgets you can hover your mouse over any Windows 10 widget to reveal an X button that will close it. A Settings cog may be available to allow customizations. Widget Launcher Windows 10 clock widget allows you to select your location. You can also choose Fahrenheit from the weather widget, which uses your location.
Widget Launcher is free but you can make in-app purchases to purchase additional widget types. These include news feeds, picture galleries, internet speed tests, and many more desktop widgets for Windows 10.
(Please note that older versions of the app did not allow widgets to be placed directly on the desktop. This is why there were some low reviews.
Windows Desktop Gadgets: Get Windows Widgets
Windows Desktop Gadgets is a popular and simple solution. This solution can work with multiple languages. You can add them to the installation wizard.
Use Windows Desktop Gadgets
- Unzip DesktopgadgetsRevived-2.0.exe from the downloaded ZIP
- Double-click to Install
- After you are done, click on the right-click icon to open Gadgets
- You’ll see that gadgets have been added to Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization where you can add them to the desktop by clicking and dragging them into place
Windows Desktop Gadgets can be installed and used as a replacement for your original gadgets. You can resize or configure any gadget by clicking on the cog icon at the corner.
8GadgetPack adds widgets to Windows 10
8GadgetPack, another lightweight option, is also available for free. It allows users to use desktop widgets in Windows 10.
Click the link to use 8GadgetPack. The MSI file can be downloaded via the link at the right-side. Then:
- Double-click on the 8GadgetPack MSI to install
- After completion, launch the 8GadgetPack
- To open the gadget list, click the + link
- Drag your favorite gadget onto your desktop
The gadgets can be placed anywhere, even though the sidebar looks like Windows Vista. 8GadgetPack looks very similar to Windows Desktop Gadgets. Both appear to retain the original Windows Vista gadget experience.
Each gadget has an options screen. You can adjust the screen’s colors, location, or other settings to make your gadget work for you. You should now have a collection of useful Windows 10 widgets that will help you boost your productivity.
Get the latest Windows 10 Widgets with Rainmeter
You have an alternative option if those old-style desktop gadgets don’t appeal to you. Rainmeter is a tool that allows customization of the Windows desktop.
It allows you to add information to Windows 10 desktop via widgets. You can also access a clock and live hardware statistics. Current and forecast weather are just some of the features. Rainmeter can display all the old-style Windows gadgets, but in a more stylish way.
If you are happy with the gadgets choices above, then stick with them. Rainmeter is a new way to create and modify. Rainmeter configuration can take a lot of time if you are looking for Windows widgets that will improve your productivity. Keep your changes as simple as possible, no matter what.
Rainmeter’s default theme illustro gives you all the widgets you need to get started. You can also use Rainmeter 4.0’s stunning Win10 Widgets Set, which is available in a bundle.
What widgets will you use in the Windows 10 App?
You can still install desktop widgets even though Windows 10 ships without them.
Each solution is worth considering and can improve productivity. A clock that is set to a different time zone can prove invaluable for people working together overseas or checking that your aunt in New Zealand has woken up before you call. These weather widgets are available for Windows.
Windows 10 can still support desktop gadgets. This shouldn’t be surprising. Third-party apps can help you restore many “lost” features. Aero Glass software, for example, restores Windows Vista and Windows 7’s glass effect to Windows 10.