Miss Gadgets & Widgets On Windows 8? Here’s How You Can Get Them Back

Chris Hoffman 08-04-2013

gadgets for windows 8Microsoft removed gadgets, the desktop widget feature introduced in Windows Vista, from Windows 8. Microsoft would prefer you use live tiles 7 Windows 8 Niggles Resolved Windows 8 has a number of features that can be annoying to experienced users of the traditional Windows desktop. From adding a Start menu to disabling the bulky ribbon, noisy live tiles, and unnecessary lock... Read More on the new Start screen to get information – but what if you want to see this information on your desktop? Whether you don’t like the new Start screen and are trying to avoid using it by installing a third-party Start menu Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Windows 8 brought down the axe on the Start Menu. This is a feature that no one paid special attention to for years but its untimely demise has caused all sorts of despair. Not only... Read More or you just miss the gadgets, you can get them back with a third-party program.


Both of these programs just install the gadget files Microsoft removed from Windows 8, so you’ll get the same gadget features you had on Windows 7 The Windows 7: Ultimate Guide If you are afraid to upgrade from Vista or XP because you feel it is completely different to what you are used to, you should read this new guide. Read More and Windows Vista. These aren’t third-party knock-offs.


There are two applications you can use to install desktop gadgets – we prefer 8GadgetPack. It has an easier installation process and includes more gadgets. Just download 8GadgetPack and run the installer. After running the installer, you’ll see the familiar Windows Sidebar containing gadgets. You can drag and drop the gadgets onto your desktop if you prefer them there.

You can also right-click the sidebar and select Close Sidebar if you want to get rid of that sidebar and only use gadgets on your desktop.

gadgets for windows 8

You’ll also see the familiar Gadgets and Show desktop gadgets options when you right-click on your desktop, so you can close the gadgets and then get them back easily. It works just like it did on previous versions of Windows that included support for gadgets.


widgets for windows 8

8GadgetPack includes a variety of gadgets, including clock, weather, calendar, sticky notes, and slideshow widgets. There are gadgets for monitoring your computer’s battery power, CPU usage, GPU usage, hard drive info, and processes. There are widgets that watch Gmail, keep an eye on any POP3 email account, read RSS feeds How RSS Feeds Work In Simple Terms [Technology Explained] Read More , and watch eBay auctions.

There are shortcuts for safely removing drives, accessing your recycle bin, and launching apps. 8GadgetPack currently comes with 45 gadgets in all.

widgets for windows 8



We also tried Gadgetarian, just to make sure we were recommending you the best Windows 8 gadget solution. Gadgetarian works, too – like 8GadgetPack, it’s just installing the same gadget files that Microsoft removed from Windows 8.

However, Gadgetarian has no advantages over 8GadgetPack, only disadvantages. Instead of providing an easy graphical installer, you have to copy files to your C:\Windows\System32 folder and run an install script as administrator. Once it’s installed, you’ll only have 14 gadgets to play with – a far cry from the 45 included with 8GadgetPack.

If you were curious about alternatives, consider your curiosity sated – 8GadgetPack is the best.

Gadgets vs. Live Tiles

Microsoft now considers gadgets a security risk. Gadgets are actually just programs that run on your computer and, like other desktop programs, have access to your entire system. This is why they can monitor your CPU These Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps Could Save Your Hard Drive Overheating is a leading cause of hardware failure. But heat can also make your computer slow. Use one of these apps to monitor and control the temperature of computer components. Read More and running processes – things that live tiles just can’t do. People could end up downloading malicious gadgets while looking for more gadgets for their computer.


Windows 8’s solution is live tiles, which are linked with modern apps – they can only be installed from the Windows Store Simply Install Apps And Games In Windows 8 One of the key benefits of the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the addition of the Windows 8 Store, absent from the previous Windows 8 Developer Preview. This new tool streamlines the process, allowing... Read More . Like modern apps themselves, live tiles can’t access your entire system and can’t do bad things outside of the application, just display information on your Start screen Make Windows 8 Sexier With These Background & Theme Tweaks Does your Windows 8 system look too bland with the default settings? You can customize it in a variety of ways, changing a variety of backgrounds and colors -- whether on the Start screen, lock... Read More .

Unfortunately, live tiles can’t appear on the desktop – you’ll have to switch to the Start screen to view live tile information, as the Start screen can’t appear in “Snap mode.” They’re also just less powerful, so you certainly can’t monitor your computer’s resource usage with a live tile. There are still good reasons why you might want to use desktop gadgets in Windows 8, and we can all be happy that we have choice – no matter how much Microsoft tries to remove it from us 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] The traditional desktop is still around in Windows 8, and it’s probably the best Windows desktop yet (aside from not having a Start menu.) But Microsoft is setting it up for the kill. The writing... Read More .

gadgets for windows 8

Getting More Gadgets

Note that you can no longer download gadgets from Microsoft’s website, so you’ll have to use the the ones that come with the gadget program, download gadgets from third-party websites, or install gadgets you have backed up. Be aware that gadgets are just like other programs, so you should only download and run gadgets from trusted sources or your computer could be infected with malware The Complete Malware Removal Guide Malware is everywhere these days, and eradicating malware from your system is a lengthy process, requiring guidance. If you think your computer is infected, this is the guide you need. Read More .


If you are seeking out gadgets, be sure to exercise the same caution 7 Common Sense Tips to Help You Avoid Catching Malware The Internet has made a lot possible. Accessing information and communicating with people from far away has become a breeze. At the same time, however, our curiosity can quickly lead us down dark virtual alleys... Read More you would when downloading and installing any other program. They can be a bit hard to find now that Microsoft has shut down what was previously the official place to get them.

Do you still use gadgets, have you embraced live tiles, or do you prefer a third-party desktop widget solution? Leave a comment and share your favorite solution!

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  1. Photobarb
    February 17, 2017 at 12:01 am

    I'm a photographer and want back the Windows 7 gadget or similar that allows me to have a mini (approx 2" X 3") slideshow of my pictures running whenever laptop is turned on. I get to randomly view great vacations, people and wildlife on a random basis. It also allows me to preview and make a copy of those special shots to include in a printed calendar. Suggestions?

  2. Frank Summers
    April 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    The failure of Gif creators to enable a single Gif execution...the failure of W7 to enable the storage and display of Gifs...the failure of the Windows Sidebar Gadget to incorporate a Gif within the Sidebar Gadget's slideshow...the failure of W7's Sidebar Gadget to display pics (let alone, Gifs) within a second between each other (or less)...has ended my continued use of Microsoft...period! I'm now moving onto the Purism Librem 15 laptop...wherewith, the dictates of Microsoft, don't matter!

    • James
      February 6, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      This is so powerfully dumb. Displaying a gif is not a funtion, and not a reason to choose one OS vs another.

      "I will never buy Chevy again because the hubcaps are now aluminum vs nicer looking plastic". You may care about the issue, but please don't pretend it matters.

    • Nick
      February 23, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      "I am here today to tell you that I am officially leaving. That's right I am gone. Don't bother begging me to stay because I am so gone."

  3. Unurbold Jigmeddagva
    March 13, 2015 at 1:19 am

    After using win8 for 1 years. I bought Windows 7. 8 on desktop is just so annoying

  4. Nina S
    October 4, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I prefer to use the “Gadgets Revived” package because it has intergation
    with Control Panel and search. No one of mentioned installers provide
    such option. Also, that project has very huge gadgets gallery. Gadgets

  5. glace
    July 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    8gadgetpack takes up so much memory! I compared it to Xwidgets running on my computer and 8gadgetpack takes up 5 times the memory with even fewer gadgets running. Definitely sticking with Xwidgets.

  6. Angi G
    April 10, 2013 at 4:39 am

    This was one of the first things I did when I installed Win8! My favorite gadgets are the Network Monitor II and the All CPU Meter. I was really glad that I kept a backup copy of my 2nd favorite, the Weather Channel gadget! Because it's nowhere to be found anymore! Great article!

    • BillG.
      June 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

      I downloaded the 8-Gadgets and got a ton of crapware and advertising ... clicking OFF all that crap I got nothing but an empty OpenIt application which I then proceeded to UnInstall from my computer!

      I want a simple gadget application NOT Crapware and Advertising!

  7. Manuel Guillermo L
    April 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I use gadgets all the time to monitor everything on my PC. Nothing beats the convenience of moving your mouse to the corner of your screen and taking a peek at everything that's happening.
    While looking for nice gadgets, which showed enough information within a small space, nothing beats this site:
    These are the best gadgets I have found to watch your CPU, GPU, memory, battery, etc.
    I just thought that more people need to know about these little-known gadgets.

  8. null
    April 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I never used the gadgets, so I don't miss them in Win 8.

  9. Clyde Atwood
    April 9, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Thanks for the info. I just upgraded to W8 and really didn't get the feel of the new interface. Nice job!!!

  10. null
    April 9, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I just want a gadget/widget that will show me my Bank and/or PayPal balance.

  11. Carlos Ramirez
    April 9, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Does anone else thinks that Windows 8 is basically a Windows 7 skin? Or idk for sure how to explain it. Like it seems like a rainmeter thing but they took out the gadgets and start button.

    • null
      April 9, 2013 at 1:46 am

      You would think so if this site is your only source for news.

      Win 8 is more like Win 7 on steroids. Everything you loved about 7 is there and improved on top of the addition of allot of new desktop features like File History, new file management, better dual monitor support, more keyboard shortcuts, faster more efficient use of resources, new backup and recovery modes, a refresh system now, the list goes on..

      • Carlos Ramirez
        April 9, 2013 at 2:50 am

        I know windows 8 is better then windows 7. Especially with the security and performance has increased a lot. Just I was using it the other day on my laptop and just compared it to windows 7 and it just seemed like that but I do know they are both two different OS with there own features

  12. Brian Matthews
    April 8, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    All I seem to read nowadays is 'How to make Windows 8 back into Windows 7' What with replacing the start button and gadgets... Think I will just stick to Windows 7 and then I don't get the problems. Thanks for a great article Chris.

    • null
      April 9, 2013 at 1:50 am

      Depends where and what you read. Hating MS is the coolest thing a blogger can do these days lol

      Anyone trying to make Win 8 like Win 7 is missing the point entirely. MS did NOT remove the start button...all they did was make it full screen and made it easier to find the programs on your pc.

      Anyone remember looking through jump list after jump list just to find a program in Windows XP? Not fun.

      Vista introduced the notion of start menu indexing, press start and start typing. Win 7 improved it and now Win 8 improved it further while adding a new gui.

      Once you understand what the Metro GUI is, you can then grasp what MS has been trying to do since Vista in a post XP world (xp is/was a gold standard in OSes so makes sense to try to improve it)

      • ravenclawwit
        April 11, 2013 at 1:17 am

        People are allowed to not like Windows 8. A lot of people don't, and it's not just because they want to be "cool". It's an OS designed for touchscreens and mobile devices that Microsoft is trying to force on desktop users. If you don't like the way this site covers it, maybe stop reading?

    • TheRedBaron
      September 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      people are allowed to think windows 8 isn't all that bad. A lot of people like it, and not just because they want to be "edgy". It's an OS designed for a traditional desktop if you can unplug your butthole and relent to a little bit of change. In the end it is just as easy to use as long as you don't try to use it the same way you used windows 98.. "This car sucks! It doesn't even have a place to attach my horses!" If you don't like the way null expressed it, maybe stop reading?

      After a month of using Windows 8, I can do everything just as fast and easily as I did on any other version of Windows. Do I have to do some things differently? Yeah. Do I have to make some changes to customize it? Yeah. Do these changes stop me from doing what I want/need to do in order to move on with my life? Yes.

      So, does it matter? NO!

    • TheRedBaron
      September 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      oops. typo, I meant "No." to the second-to-last question, but I can't edit it..