The Windows Desktop Gadgets (called Windows Sidebar in Windows Vista) is a widget
engine for Microsoft Gadgets, with program name sidebar.exe. It was introduced with Windows Vista, in
which it features a sidebar anchored to the side of the desktop. Its widgets, called Gadgets, can perform various tasks, such as displaying
the time and date and showing the CPU usage.
Windows Desktop Gadgets contains mini-applications or Gadgets which are based on a combination of Script and HTML. They may be used to display
information such as the system time and Internet-powered features such as RSS feeds, and to control external applications such as Windows Media
Player. Gadgets can run "docked" in the sidebar or they can "float" anywhere on the desktop. It is also possible to run multiple instances
of a gadget simultaneously.
Windows Vista ships with eleven gadgets: Calendar, Clock, Contacts, CPU Meter, Currency Conversion, Feed Headlines, Notes, Picture Puzzle, Slide
Show, Stocks, and Weather. Several other gadgets available during the Vista beta such as App Launcher, Feed Viewer, Number Puzzle, Recycle Bin
and Egg Timer were removed. Windows 7 adds a Media Center gadget and removes the Contacts, Notes and Stocks gadgets. Desktop Gadgets were
included in the developer preview and consumer preview of Windows 8, but removed from the Release to Manufacture version. Windows Sidebar is not
available on Microsoft Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, or 2012.
Microsoft retired the Windows Live Widget Gallery in late 2011 when developing Windows 8. In subsequent months
when vulnerabilities were publicized concerning exploitative Gadget apps, Microsoft recommends to current users to disable the Sidebar and
discontinue using Gadgets.