I'm not going to lie: I LOVE WINDOWS GADGETS. Being informed about my system status (CPU / RAM / bandwidth / storage usage, running processes, etc.) has become a critical element of my daily routine. I'm a data junkie and it makes me feel more empowered.
So you can imagine the quiet dismay I had when as a company, we chose to "remove all Windows Gadget functionality" out of Windows 8's desktop. I mean, seriously. I thought this was one of the most glorious functions we got with Windows Vista and now it was going down the tubes.
Turns out that the nice people at BPlaced, makers of the free 7Sidebar (a 3rd party sidebar we got rid of when Windows 7 was released) have struck again, this time by providing a FREE tool that essentially ADDS WINDOWS GADGET FUNCTIONALITY BACK INTO WINDOWS 8. They've released a gadget hosting sidebar similar to 7Sidebar and it works gloriously. And it's, again, completely free.
Even cooler: It comes with a set of 31 tested, reliable gadgets. All in one downloadable package. So go grab it. Do it now.
WAIT - DIDN'T MICROSOFT GET RID OF GADGETS BECAUSE OF A SECURITY RISK?
Yes, this is true. Illicit gadgets could supposedly bypass some of the security protections within Windows 8 making untrusted gadgets a point of risk. So instead of changing the development framework of Windows Gadgets - which had been shutdown more than a year ago, with the development team scattered to the four winds - Microsoft chose to simply eliminate the technology for Windows 8.
Again, this may sound unreasonable however remember that there was no new development occurring for Windows Gadgets, and as much as it pains me to say it, there's technically no real future in the gadget framework. Windows Gadget functionality appears to be getting replaced by Windows 8 Live Tiles, with the tiles providing similar functionality as we transition to Modern-style applications in Windows 8.
That being said, I still LOVE Windows Gadgets & the risk around Windows Gadgets (as I understand it) revolves around new, unknown gadgets - not existing ones with good reputations as being safe and reliable. So what's the harm is keeping them around if you find them useful? Right?