How to Bring Desktop Gadgets Back to Windows 10
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Remember desktop gadgets Top 7 Coolest Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets You Have To Use Top 7 Coolest Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets You Have To Use Gadgets are always cool to have. They add functionality to your desktop and generally make your life easier. Last but not least, they help you express your individuality. Read More ? Of course you do – you probably miss them, even now. They were the small desktop tools that displayed your current CPU speed, or the time in another country, little widgets that you could drag around and place where you wanted.

Introduced in Window Vista and discarded in Windows 8, Microsoft decided that these tools were not required in the era of live tiles, and so gadgets were dropped. Unfortunately, gadgets also introduced an attack vector for hackers, which Microsoft had to issue a patch for. These days, however, that vulnerability is fixed.

Hold On, what Are these “Gadgets”?

Whether you’ve forgotten about gadgets, or were simply unaware, here’s a brief explanation. With the arrival of Windows Vista, there was a move towards desktop-based mini apps, along with browser-based mini apps. The latter could be seen in the much-missed iGoogle Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle If you’ve not yet heard, Google plans to pull the plug on iGoogle in November 2013 in addition to a few other services like Google Video and Google Mini. Though the company have yet to... Read More and on Mac OS X in the shape of “widgets” How To Run Widgets On Your Desktop In Mountain Lion [Mac OS X] How To Run Widgets On Your Desktop In Mountain Lion [Mac OS X] Relegated to a separate desktop since Lion, developers seem to have abandoned the Dashboard in favor of making apps for the iPhone. That doesn't mean there aren't still useful widgets, though. If you like widgets,... Read More .

Users of Windows Vista and Windows 7 were able to add their desktop gadgets to the sidebar, a panel down the right-hand side of the desktop (invisible in Windows 7) where the gadgets could be placed.

Various information could be displayed on your desktop with these tools, from the time and current weather, to your CPU speed (you can fix this if it’s too high How to Fix High CPU Usage in Windows How to Fix High CPU Usage in Windows If your computer fans frequently hit top speeds, it's a sign that your CPU is fully loaded. Simultaneously, your computer may slow down. That's annoying, especially if you're not actually doing anything. Read More ) and any RSS feeds you were subscribed to. All in all these were very useful options that supported a particular desktop-focused way of working, and it was quite a surprise when they were dropped completely (rather than redesigned and made more secure).

Windows 10 has already proved successful as a combination of Windows 8 and Windows 7, merging the live tiles with the Start menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu The Windows 10 Start Menu combines classic elements with modern tiles. Tiles can add a lot of creative freedom. We'll give you tips and reveal tricks for customizing the entire Start Menu to your preferences. Read More (which has been restored) and making the desktop productive once again. Fans of the desktop gadgets will be pleased to know that we now have ways to restore the gadgets. Here we look at a trio of options.

Windows Desktop Gadgets

Probably my favorite solution, if only because it is so straightforward and light on resources, is Windows Desktop Gadgets. Compatible with Windows 8.x and Windows 10, this solution is designed to work with multiple languages, which can be added in the installation wizard.


The DesktopgadgetsRevived-2.0.exe must be extracted from the downloaded ZIP file before running, and once installed, traditional Windows Vista/7 style gadgets can be accessed by right-clicking your desktop and selecting Gadgets.


You’ll see that gadgets have been added to Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization (see our guide to Windows 10 settings How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide The Windows control panel is on its way out. Its replacement, the Settings app, has received a significant upgrade in Windows 10. We'll reveal all its secrets for you. Read More for more information on personalization settings), and you can add them to the desktop by clicking-and-dragging them into place.

This is essentially a replacement for the original gadgets, and just like those you can click the tool icon in the corner to open settings, enabling you to resize and alter settings in the gadgets. Like 8GadgetPack, this is essentially the original Windows Desktop Gadgets, repackaged to run with Windows 10, with the same options for adjusting, dragging, and discarding the gadgets.


Another lightweight option, 8GadgetPack is free and enables users to run gadgets in Windows 8.x and Windows 10.

To use 8GadgetPack, visit the link and download the MSI file via the link on the right-side of the page, and install it. Various options are available with this tool, which you can reach by pressing Windows key + Q and typing “8GadgetPack” to search for and launch the tools box.


Here you can add gadgets, alter the gadget size and even Uninstall if you’re not happy with this solution.

Adding Your Gadgets

Both apps use the old Vista/Windows 7 method of adding gadgets.

muo-windows-w10-desktopgadgets-8gadgetBegin by right-clicking the desktop and selecting Gadgets to view the list of available desktop gadgets. All you need to do is double-click your preferred gadget(s) (or drag them from the window to the desktop) to add them to your Windows desktop, where you can drag to position them as desired via the small panel with 12 dots on the right-hand side.

Above this, you’ll find the Tools button, which you use to customize the gadget. In the case of a weather gadget, for instance, you would use this to set your location and preferred temperature measurement.

To discard a gadget, mouse over the display and click the X in the top right corner.

Get Contemporary Desktop Gadgets with Rainmeter

If those screenshots of the old-style desktop gadgets aren’t exactly floating your boat, you have another option. You may be aware of Rainmeter, a tool for customizing the Windows desktop How to Customize Windows 10: The Complete Guide How to Customize Windows 10: The Complete Guide You decorate your office – why not your computer? Find out how to make Windows look just the way you want. Make your computer your own, with free tools. Read More .

Among its various features is the ability to introduce information to the desktop, such as a clock, current hardware statistics, current and forecast weather, and more. Basically, everything that gadgets do, but with considerable style.

Now, if you’re happy with the gadgets options above, then by all means stick with them. Rainmeter opens up a whole new world of stuff to install and tweak, and if you’re purely looking for gadgets to improve productivity you need to be aware. Getting sucked up into this weird and wonderful world of themed, customized desktops The Dark Side of Windows 10: Set a Theme & Change Colors The Dark Side of Windows 10: Set a Theme & Change Colors Windows 10 is so bright, it can cause eyestrain. Setting a dark theme is a simple way to give your eyes a break. We show you how to theme Windows 10 and its most commonly... Read More that display the information that you want, where and when you want it, is going to make your digital life a little bit untidy while you sort out just where and when you want things.

Our guide to installing and using Rainmeter Geeking Out Your Windows Desktop The Non-Geeky Way With Rainmeter Geeking Out Your Windows Desktop The Non-Geeky Way With Rainmeter This "less geeky version of GeekTool" for Windows allows its users to add and display a variety of modules on the desktop such as a clock, the date, CPU load, RSS feeds, and more. Read More will start you off here.

Will You Use These New Desktop Gadget Apps?

So, desktop gadgets can still be added to Windows 10. Who knew? This is great for anyone wishing to relive the halcyon days of Windows 7 (which they might also do by reverting to Aero Glass) and maximize their productivity. For instance, using a clock set to a foreign time zone can be invaluable when collaborating with people overseas, or just checking that your aunt in New Zealand is awake before you call.

Each of these solutions is worth trying, although for simplicity and ease of installation, I prefer Windows Desktop Gadgets. Which is your favorite? Perhaps you know of a solution we haven’t included? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. June
    September 18, 2017 at 2:11 am

    This article is garbage. Took forever to find where the link is and there's no proper step by step instruction.

  2. John Draper
    May 14, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I used this approach for the last few years - with Windows 7 and Windows 10 and it worked well, but now with Windows 10 creator, the program simply will not run. After much research and fiddling around, I have found a program that replaces some of the functionality - Rainmaker. It includes weather, date/time, Network, CPU, memory and more.

  3. D
    January 23, 2017 at 6:11 am

    So, visit "The link" huh? Why not just link it? -__-

  4. Heather
    October 3, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    The new update that was forced through last night completely disabled them. Now how can I get them back??

  5. Soular
    September 13, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    IT shows 2 tabs of Desktop Gadgets in the control panel. Tested on multiple PCs. If you uninstall, one will still remain forever without an icon. Any solutions???

  6. Felicia
    July 25, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Could someone please tell me how get the windows Vista style gadgets for Windows 10?
    I installed the program (exported and installed the whole thing) but I can't seem to find it in settings..
    thank you in advance!! I really miss them...

  7. johnnified
    May 22, 2016 at 4:35 am


    • Christian Cawley
      May 22, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Click the two headings.

  8. GatorGirl
    May 6, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I really miss the Earthquake gadget. I still have it at work because they are not "upgrading" to Windows 10 for at least a year. The one Earthquake widget (or whatever) that I have found in Win10 does not even come close.

  9. Paul M
    April 12, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    With every Windows 10 update the clock gets disabled requiring a reinstall of the program. Only with the latest update, the clock will not work even with multiple reinstalls of the program.

    I'm really starting to hate Windows 10.

  10. Ilya
    March 29, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Where to find this "gallery" of widgets?? Thnx

  11. Moh
    January 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Only gadgets that is officially in windows 10 in the Note gadget.... why can't they do the same with weather and analog clock !!

  12. Anonymous
    September 19, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    One of the reasons that gadgets were dropped in Windows 8 was that there was no security - anything that can be done in Javascript and HTML5 can be done in a gadget (that's all they are, after all).
    While I've downloaded the DesktopGadgetsRevived and the 8GadgetsPack, I've yet to decide if I want to install them on my sole Windows 10 machine, until I can verify these are all "clean."
    I may just decide to install something trusted and continually being updated instead, like RainMeter.

    • ForbiddenUser
      March 21, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Oh please.. Cry about "gadget" security while using a "windows" machine.. If you want "security" you may as well just drop windows all together... Because security is NOT what you are going to get. "Oh I can't have Gadgets... AND.. Security... Pft.. Failed Platform...

      • Anonymous
        March 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

        Yeah, right. Linux is better: OpenSSL (HeartBleed, LogJam). OS X is better: DYLD, Thunderstrike, Thunderstrike 2. At least I have the biggest library of software in the world (most of which doesn't run on Linux or OS X), and monthly security patches. The other OS's rarely get looked at as far as security goes, and most users don't even bother to check for updates; they're happy that "nobody hacks my OS."
        Why are you even reading an article about Windows 10, when you hate the OS? That's pretty hypocritical...
        Oh yeah - "failed platform" = over 100 million devices? Yeah, right.

        • Christian Cawley
          March 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

          Great response, Howard Blair :)

      • Pichel
        April 17, 2016 at 5:52 pm

        You're so wrong it hurts. This is 2016. Windows OS security is very good. Introducing gadgets that provide attack vectors via JavaScript and HTML5 isn't in Microsoft's best interest. It's sad that we can't have nice things, but that's the reality.