The 7 Best Windows 7 Gadgets

windows7gadgets5   The 7 Best Windows 7 GadgetsNo one really liked the Windows Sidebar when it arrived with Windows Vista. Most enthusiasts saw it as nothing more than cheap rip-off of Mac’s Dashboard with less overall functionality. In response, Microsoft polished up the concept and introduced a proper gadgets platform in Windows 7.

Unlike the sidebar, gadgets in Windows 7 are actually very useful. Unfortunately many people overlook this feature, instead going or a platform like Google Desktop. Having used both Google Desktop and Windows 7 Gadgets, I have to say that gadgets have some advantages. They feel much smoother than Google Desktop’s alternative. The selection is more limited, however, so let’s take a look at some great Windows 7 gadgets.

Three Useful Meters

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System monitors are nice to have on your desktop. They offer you the ability to keep an eye on your computer’s resources in real time, which lets you keep an eye out for any strange spikes in the usage of your computer’s resources. These spikes are usually no problem, but on occasion they can alert you to the existence of malware or simply a program that you installed and then later forgot about.

There are three great, related system monitor gadgets available for Windows 7. These gadgets are called CPU Meter, Network Meter, and Drive Meter. CPU meter monitors processor usage by displaying a graphic of processor usage and also status bars for each processor core. This gadget also monitors RAM usage. The network monitor displays IP addresses and keeps track of both uploads and downloads. The drives monitor displays all connected hard drive and their capacity.

Of course, there are many system monitor gadgets you can choose from. What makes these things stand out from the crowd, however, is their interface. Each has a very clear, easy to understand aesthetic that conveys maximum information in minimal space. This aesthetic is the same across all three gadgets, as well (the gadgets are made by the same developer) so your desktop doesn’t look like a hodge-podge of unrelated gadgets.

Facebook and Twitter Explorer

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Facebook and Twitter Explorer are, like the monitors above, two related gadgets created by the same developer. In this case, however, the gadgets deal with the most popular social networking websites.

The purpose of these two gadgets is the same. Both Facebook and Twitter are frequently updated by users, and you may also add messages to both. Facebook and Twitter explorer act as simple desktop interfaces for this functionality. This means that you don’t have to have a browser window open in order to keep up to date on Facebook and Twitter updates.

The Twitter Explorer is functional enough that you may no longer have much need to visit the Twitter website. The Facebook Explorer gadget is also functional enough when it comes to status updates, but it doesn’t let you browse or add friends, play Facebook games, or access any of Facebook’s other pages.

SkypeGadget

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If you use Skype a great deal you may, like me, become a little bit frustrated with the program’s interface. I personally find Skype’s interface to be far larger than it really needs to be, and while the new ability to access Skype status through a Jumplist in Windows 7 is nice, it doesn’t address the fundamentally bloated interface.

Because of these complaints, I found SkypeGadget to be very useful. SkypeGadget serves as a more compact front end to Skype, making it possible to use Skype without having to deal with the normal Skype interface. SkypeGadget lets you view your contacts, make calls, and begin IM conversations with them. I love having the ability to view my contacts without a huge Skype window on my desktop.

My only complaint with the gadget is the inability to place Skype phone calls to “real” phone numbers due to the lack of a numberpad. Hopefully this will be addressed in a future release.

Doppler RadLoop

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Weather gadgets are a bit played out, but that is mostly because they all tend to do the same thing, displaying estimated current weather conditions and perhaps a forecast of some kind. That’s alright, but the problem is that the information isn’t always useful. Let’s say, for example, that you want to ride your bike down to a coffee shop. A weather gadget that simply says the forecast is for scattered shows doesn’t help you much because it can’t tell you if a shower is really near your area or not.

For that, you need to take a look at a weather radar, and that is why Doppler RadLoop is so useful. Doppler RadLoop provides real-time radar information for your current location. This lets you actually take a look at the current weather conditions and make a better decision. If a big blob of red is showing up in your area, you best stay home.

There are a few weather gadgets for Windows 7, but Doppler Radloop works the smoothest. IF you need to keep a track on current weather this is the best way to do it.

Get Your Gadget On

I think some people shy away from Windows 7 gadgets because of the poor taste left in their mouth by Vista Sidebar. Give them a second chance! These are some very useful Windows 7 gadgets, and the often times work better than gadgets available on other platforms.

if you know of any other interesting gadgets, please add them in the comments.

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22 Comments -

0 votes

D.C.

Highly recommended:
Binary Sense’s HDDLife (or O&O DiskStat), D-Eye, Pandora Radio, TweetZ, TwitDeck, Wolfram Alpha

0 votes

Aibek

I second PandoraRadio and HDDlife

0 votes

D.C.

Highly recommended:
Binary Sense’s HDDLife (or O&O DiskStat), D-Eye, Pandora Radio, TweetZ, TwitDeck, Wolfram Alpha

0 votes

Cameron Summerson

My favorite system monitor gadget is simply called “System Monitor.” It show CPU, RAM, Battery, Network Name, time, and IP. You can show/hide each one. Very simple and nice looking.

0 votes

Some One

StockBoard is one of my favourites, for monitoring stock prices right on your desktop. Best feature is that it gets price updates from Yahoo! Finance – so it practically works for stocks and currencies across the globe.

0 votes

David

Im usually a year or 2 behind on latest Windows OS but this article may have changed my mind. Good article.

0 votes

Supergeek13579

all of these gadgets should work in windows vista as well. they just need to be in the side bar and not on the desktop

0 votes

Anonymous

It is not true, in Vista (SP1) you can put gadgets all over desktop too. Just drag them where you want and hide sidebar…

0 votes

Mpselm

I highly recommend Shrimp7. It puts Facebook, Twitter, and Friendfeed in one Gadget. I have also used the sidebar tool for Ebay, and gadgets for the MLB, NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football that allows you to follow one team. I am still on the search for a good sports gadget.

0 votes

Farshad Sadri

I strongly suggest AccuWeather.com widgets. There are three main versions available for widows categorizing by their detail level they provide. The main feature for was the accuracy and broad (I mean big broad) weather report for almost anywhere in the world even in remote areas I’ve seen separate district reports of cities which makes it perfect. It’s really simple & by one click you can get instant enormous information.
check it at http://www.accuweather.com/dow
PS: I totally adore it & suggest it personally to people & friends, no commercial interest, just to acknowledge good work! ;)

0 votes

Rick

For System Monitors – I use “System Monitor II” because it adds the core temperature to the display, and you can add or remove certain bits of info you may or may not want displayed.

I run a quiet pc with a front mounted fan control, with the fan turned way down to keep it nearly silent, so watching the temperature is important for me.

0 votes

Rick

For System Monitors – I use “System Monitor II” because it adds the core temperature to the display, and you can add or remove certain bits of info you may or may not want displayed.

I run a quiet pc with a front mounted fan control, with the fan turned way down to keep it nearly silent, so watching the temperature is important for me.

0 votes

» Carlos M ?

nice post thanx

0 votes

Sethvk

Use Internet options in the control panel for any version of windows

0 votes

Kkmudgle

i use system uptime gadget. which shows me the exact time of current session. Very useful for me. As i am a computer addict.

0 votes

Kkmudgle

digitalclock is also great for making your desktop beautiful. it is one of my fav.

0 votes

Calvin_d_2000

If interested in monitoring your system add “Top Processes” to the list – It’ll help point which programs are using most of your processor. “Neptune Digital Clock” is the best
clock, it includes a calendar. Oh, and if you half a nVidia graphics card try “GPU Observer”.

0 votes

Calvin_d_2000

If interested in monitoring your system add “Top Processes” to the list – It’ll help point which programs are using most of your processor. “Neptune Digital Clock” is the best
clock, it includes a calendar. Oh, and if you half a nVidia graphics card try “GPU Observer”.

0 votes

Deekukou23

Is Network Monitor gadget compatible with Windows 7 because on the main page of this gadget sys req. is vista & i have Win 7 & which i noticed after download & now it seems can’t open it, so is there any similar gadget for win 7 as well???
Thanx

0 votes

Chris

yes it is compatible with windows 7. I am using it right now

0 votes

Deekukou23

Is Network Monitor gadget compatible with Windows 7 because on the main page of this gadget sys req. is vista & i have Win 7 & which i noticed after download & now it seems can’t open it, so is there any similar gadget for win 7 as well???
Thanx

0 votes

Sfkfan

There’s some excellent ones here: http://www.uniquewg.com