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Desktop gadgets and sidebar for Windows 8.1

As you may have noticed, Desktop Gadgets and Sidebar are missing in Windows since Windows 8 RTM. Personally, I don't miss gadgets since I did not use them. But a lot of people have been missing them. If you can't live without desktop gadgets, there is good news for you: desktop gadgets and sidebar are available for Windows 8.1.

My friend PainteR has updated his unofficial installer which allows you to get gadgets back in Windows 8.1 with just a few mouse clicks.

Windows 8.1 gadgets sidebar

So, follow the installer wizard.

Note that it supports all possible Windows 8 languages,  so you will get gadgets and sidebar's interface with your native language!

Wait for the installer to finish and right click on the desktop after that. You will see the familiar "Gadgets" item in your desktop context menu. Enjoy:

In action:

Before you download

  1. I am not sure that this is legal. Check the license agreement of Windows 7 and Windows 8 before you use this installer.
  2. All credits goes to PainteR. No one from Winaero is associated with this installer.

Download Desktop Gadgets for Windows 8.1

38 thoughts on “Desktop gadgets and sidebar for Windows 8.1

  1. moronish

    Wow thanks I like gadgets and wanted them back.

  2. Tom

    Having a problem getting this to work.
    I’m on Windows 8.1.
    No problems installing.
    When I right-click on the desktop, Gadgets option now appears.
    However, when I select Gadgets, my cursor hourglasses for about 2-3 seconds and then nothing happens.
    Am I missing a step?
    Am REALLY anxious to get Gadgets back into Windows 8.1.

  3. Ian Andrews

    This doesn’t seem to be legal (or allowed by the license agreement). This appears to be an EXACT port of the Windows 7 Gadget functionality. According to the Windows 8 License Agreement: “This license does not give you any right to, and you may not: use or virtualize features of the software separately, publish, copy (other than the permitted backup copy), rent, lease, or lend the software; transfer the software (except as permitted by this agreement), attempt to circumvent technical protection measures in the software, reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software, except if the laws where you live permit this even when our agreement does not.” In normal terms, you cannot take a feature of Windows and use them separate from the version from which it came. In this case, the Gadgets were a functionality of Windows 7. Taking the Gadgets from Windows 7 and using it on Windows 8, where Gadgets are not there at all, is not permitted in the License because they are being used on a non-Windows 7 machine. So this violates the license agreement, and might be a form of piracy. But, this may still be used if you live in a place where laws permit the duplication of the Gadgets, at which point, the law is taken instead of the license in this situation. Mr. Tkachenko, please take this software down. I don’t mean to be rude sounding it if did, but I checked the agreement.

    1. HappyFox

      Is this guy for real ?
      “Please take this software down…” and on and on
      LOL – He checked it !! So now you now !
      Get the hell outa here !
      You dont have to install anything,
      so dont be scared.

      Great to have the sidebar widgets back !
      Thanx a lot.

  4. Emma@Cheap Gadget

    Now a days gadgets are so much popular. From this article I also know the usefulness of gadgets. Because I pass my every time in front of my desktop so those gadgets are very much useful for me.

  5. vtt190

    Here I have one that still works.

    Link: http://gadgetsrevived.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DesktopGadgetsInstaller.zip

  6. hbarudi

    Did you try clicking “get more gadgets online”?



    Microsoft discontinued the gadgets due to security reasons mentioned in those links:

    Any hacker can hack any computer that has gadgets, so they are discontinued.

    For windows 8 use the new Apps, the replace gadgets almost completely.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Everyone knows this.
      And most of people like gadgets. I suspect that primary reason to remove desktop gadgets was tiles promotion.

      1. Ilan Petrovski

        Thank you Sergey for your work! Unfortunately, today we justify our underhanded political and commercial tricks by security reasons and build it into the law. Those who wouldn’t trade in their freedom for their protection became illegal now!

    2. Techland

      > For windows 8 use the new Apps, the replace gadgets almost completely.

      What a piece of rubbish! No tile nonsense can veer replace the perfectly lined-up special tools that I have on the right side of my desktop, and which I use all the time. And I am not taking a bout a stupid clock, wheather forecast or date in big letters. We in the knowing have dedicated tools to display CPU load per core, CPU temperature, RAM usage, currently tranferred data on network and Wi-Fi, HDD surveillance and storage space meters, battery tool to also switch directly between different power states, and so on and so on. All this on a tiny amount of space, always accessible.

      > For windows 8 use the new Apps, the replace gadgets almost completely.

      Read again, you have no clue!

    3. Brent

      Yes I read the TechNet security advisement. It seems very strange to me that MSoft cant make a secure gadget. Makes no sense. I have used them for years on W7 and never had or heard of a problem. My Choice = Ignore.

  7. Aakash Agarwal

    Thanks a lot for this article. I use gadgets daily and keep myself updated daily. This Desktop Gadget for Windows 8.1 is superb today only i’m going to download it.

  8. GK

    Well good news for Gadget fans. Someone has recreated the entire gadget gallery like Microsoft had at http://gallery-live.com/. In fact even the URLs are similar, just replace gallery.live.com with gallery-live.com and download all the gadgets you need.

  9. Bob

    It stopped working after the last update to StartIsBack. Sidebar.exe crashes immediately when started, reporting an appcrash in ntdll.dll.

  10. Erion Renato Franco Pozzobon

    It doesn´t work for me.
    I receive an error message like this:

    “Detected Windows Sidebar Files!
    Instalation canceled.”

    Any help?

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Please uninstall other Sidebar packs you might installed early.
      This will help.

  11. Ralf

    It works good, but there is only 1 bad problem:
    When I click on “show desktop” (to minimize all programs) the gadgets bar will be minimized too and is not visible on desktop background :(

    1. Gaurav Kale

      1. You can use Aero Peek (just hover over bottom right corner) so you see the Desktop and gadgets don’t get minimized.
      2. Press Win+G after pressing Show Desktop to bring the gadgets on top. Win+G also works to bring the gadgets temporarily to the front of other Windows without using Show desktop.
      3. Right click the gadgets and do “Always on top”.

      1. Ralf

        Thx for your suggestions, but:
        1. Aero Peek don’t work for me in Win 8.1. Only the Charms Bar came in front.
        2. It’s not really that what I want. Too complex, have to use shortkey. In Win8 and before the Gadgets won’t be minimized then you click on Show Desktop. Grrr I hate Microsoft…
        3. This is not so good, the gadgets are always on top. I don’t want to see them all the time.

        1. Gaurav Kale

          Aero Peek is off by default on Windows 8. Enable Aero peek from “Taskbar and Navigation Properties”. Check the option: “Use Peek to preview the desktop….”. Alternatively, use Win+M to minimize all windows instead of Win+D. That keeps gadgets showing on the Desktop.

  12. Ralf

    Thank you, that helped me.

  13. Catalin

    Tried the a/m solution , but the installations did not work !
    It says : “Unable to execute file C:\ProgramFiles\windowssidebar\sidebar.exe ”
    I gave-up ! maybe for other more lucky it worked .
    I’ll keep on searching ,

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Hmm, it works for most users.

  14. JG

    Just tried to get the Gadgets to work under 8.1 and I get the following error, I cannot find any uninstall option in Uninstall Program list, can you point me in the right direction please, I need to get some these Gadgets going again.

    There are some Sidebar files in the C:\Program Files folder.
    Please uninstall the Sidebar package already installed on your PC and then try again.

    Many Thanks

  15. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

    Mate, you already have some sidebar installed.
    Installer has found sidebar files and asking to remove them.
    Use Control panel – Uninstall a program to remove it.

  16. Petko Marinchevski

    I have the following problem:

    Installation went perfectly, but when I double click to add the clock gadget nothing happens. sidebar.exe is running according to Task Manager. I double clicked the clock gadget in the window a couple of times and after that double clicked the CPU gauge, and it appeared very messed up, like a text in a grey rectangular box, and it appeared at the bottom, like the clock was there but not visible.

    Anyone have the same problem? Thanks.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Do you have IE11 installed?

      1. Petko Marinchevski

        Yes. How are they both connected?

        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Sidebar’s gadgets are HTML apps.
          It uses IE as the engine for gadgets.
          IE11 replaces that engine and breaks gadgets.
          The strangest thing is that it breaks gadgets suddenly and not on every PC. I read that it breaks gadgets for DPI set above 96.

          1. Petko Marinchevski

            Thanks, man. Very informative answer. My display is 1920×1080, so I guess Windows set the DPI high above 96. No luck for me I guess, I like my DPI as it is.

            Have a nice day. Thanks again for your quick answers.

          2. Petko Marinchevski

            Just one more question.

            If I remove IE11, and install IE10 (I don’t use IE anyway), will the gadgets work with high DPI above 96? Or is that engine you’re talking about deeply integrated in Windows 8.1, and removal of IE11 could have no effect whatsoever?

            Please don’t say that I’ll have to try :)

          3. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

            AFAIK, it is not possible to replace IE11 with IE10 in Windows 8.1

  17. problem

    I have a problem I installed it and work fine but I uninstall it for reason Now when I try to reinstall it,
    It say:
    There are some Sidebar files in the C:\Program Files folder.
    Please uninstall the Sidebar package already installed on your PC and then try again.

    checked the C:zProgram File Folder and found nothing
    what I can to do???

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Also check for C:\program files(x86)\Windows Sidebar
      and C:\program files\Windows Sidebar
      There is a file named sidebar.exe in one of those folders.

      1. Hanna

        Hi Sergey – Thanks for developing this!!!
        I am getting the same problem as the people above “There are some sidebar files in the c:\program files folder. Please uninstall the Sidebar package already installed on your PC”

        However I don’t even HAVE those folders that you are referring to!
        In Program Files and Program Files (x86) there are no folders called Windows Sidebar.

        I really want to use the program! What should I do?!

        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          The installer checks for c:\program files\windows sidebar\sidebar.exe file
          and for
          c:\program files(x86)\windows sidebar\sidebar.exe
          Be sure that you have enabled hidden files to be shown in File Explorer.
          If you use some alternative file manager, like Total Commander, please note that the 32-bit application have NO ACCESS to the native c:\program files folder. Instead of that folder, it will always display the content of c:\program files(x86)

  18. Leigh

    i love those sidebar widgets. Some of them are already installed by my brother. Will be checking out the rest. Thanks! :)

  19. Brent

    Thanks Sergey, I have W8 and IE10 and these apps installed, run, and act perfectly. Just as W7, I couldn’t tell the difference if I tried. If its a choice between 8.1 and IE11 with no sidebar, or W8 and IE10 with sidebar, I will stay with W8 and sidebar. They mean that much to me. I just cant but the security alert, a remote attacker can gain full control over my pc, through windows gadgets?? How could MSoft not be able to patch that on W7. It must just be an excuse to discontinue, and force people to Metro.


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