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.

An independent developer "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 go to PainteR. No one from Winaero is associated with this installer.

Download Desktop Gadgets for Windows 8.1

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

62 thoughts on “Desktop gadgets and sidebar for Windows 8.1”

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 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.

    2. So Ian, I take it you are a lawyer who has the right to interpret the laws and the contract(s) between Microsoft and me? And as an attorney you, therefore, have the right to give us legal advice?

      I also take it, by your assertions, that you are also a law enforcement officer of some sort which gives you the right to enforce copyright, intellectual rights and other applicable laws? Or you are a duly appointed representative of an injured party who’s client has suffered in some way from this posting? This capacity also gives you the right to demand that this thread and software be removed?

      If you reside in the United States and are not a member of the Bar Association in any state, then you may be guilty of practicing law without a license. Such a crime does carry penalties, however I can not advise you on your guilt or innocence nor the possible penalties you may suffer from if you commit such a crime. I have no idea what laws other countries may have regarding this activity.

      If you are not law enforcement nor a duly appointed agent, then SIT DOWN, SHUT UP AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!
      If you don’t like the software DON’T DOWNLOAD IT. but DON’T TREAD ON ME!!!
      Just smile, and live as you wish to live and respect my right to do the same!

    3. Thank you for the advice, but I do not believe that a takedown is necessary. I believe that Mr. Tkachenko is fully aware of his potential violations of the law, but that is his choice and one that we admire for it gives us the ability to have that which has been denied to us due to coprporate interest to do so. After all, a little gadget software shan’t hurt anyone, right? It’s not like we’re dealing drugs.

      But I am thankful for your legal notice – it’s consoling to know my legal standing when using such software.

  3. 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.

  4. Here I have one that still works.


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

      1. 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. > 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. 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.

    4. That’s just scare language. Any hacker can hack any computer that has SOFTWARE running (not just ‘gadgets’)… if it has hackable flaws or backdoors …MS discontinued gadgets because they could -not- control the software/distribution and were worried that hackers would distribute bad gadget software just like they can distribute other free software on the Internet. Gadgets are no more vulnerable than other software… you DO have to trust the source of your gadget software though, that they are reputable vendors and not malware distributors.

  6. 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.

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

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

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

    “Detected Windows Sidebar Files!
    Instalation canceled.”

    Any help?

  10. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  11. Hi,
    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 ,

  12. 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

    1. If you get this error , and cant see anything in program files even if hidden files are activated… Windows is playing tricks on you :) (its a protected system file)

      Enter : C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\ into your explorer path and poof! magic :)

      ALSO you can untick “Hide protected system files” in folder options :)

  13. 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.

    1. you’re OBVIOUSLY not listening to him…he already said that THERE IS NOTHING LISTED IN THE PROGRAMS LIST for this
      I actually have the exact same problem…it says there are Sidebar files in the Program Files folder…HOWEVER, there is actually nothing in there at all…not in program files OR program files(x86)…and before you ask yes I have ALL files showing, including hidden ones…nor is there anything at all related to sidebar in the Programs and Features list for me to remove, and in fact, when I search my pc for ANYTHING Sidebar or desktop gadget related, there is nothing to find, other than the DesktopGadgetsRevived 2.0.exe file…that’s it

      1. Let me show you a piece of code?

        SidebarExecutable := ExpandConstant('{pf}') + '\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe';
        if FileExists(SidebarExecutable) then
        MsgBox('There are some Sidebar files in the '+ExpandConstant('{pf}')+' folder. ' #13'Please uninstall the Sidebar package already installed on your PC and then try again.', mbcriticalerror, mb_Ok)

        I am sorry, but I don’t believe in miracles. If the installer says you have C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe/C:\Program Files(x86)\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe, then you have it. There is no other option.

  14. 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. 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. 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. 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 :)

  15. 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. 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. 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. 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)

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

  17. 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.

    1. How did you get it to work with 8.1? It installed, opens fine, clocks works great but the weather does not :(
      They say cannot connect to service.


  18. Hello,
    When I try to install on Windows 8.1 Professionnel 64-bit (6.3, Build 9600) get this following error : “Detected Windows version is not supported. Installation canceled.”

    How I can install this software on my computer.



  19. I’ve noticed that most people misinterpret the security risk of the gadgets resulting in their removal from Win8. None of the gadgets that come pre-installed on Win7 or those made by Microsoft for post-install download were actually threats. The only threat of security breach from the gadgets was from 3rd party downloads. Because gadgets were HTML based, most required an internet connection to function properly, but if a hacker were to obtain access to the HTML file that the gadgets read from, they could potentially do some serious damage to your system because they would literally be able to execute any action possible through HTML coding. There’s an easy way around this threat for gadgets that did not need real-time info (such as a weather gadget). Windows Firewall allows for a manual disconnection of any program from the internet. As a fail-safe, most gadgets download the most recent HTML file in case internet connectivity is lost, so they will still operate without an internet connection. Disabling specific gadgets that don’t require real-time information on the Windows Firewall will block potential threats while allowing the gadget to function normally. That being said, the gadget needs an internet connection for its initial startup so that it can gather the information it needs to run, then can be prevented at any time from accessing the internet. Just to clarify for those who are less tech-savoy: an HTML file is what holds all of the information needed for your web browser to display any web page; each page having its own unique HTML file. Here’s an analogy if it helps: Page = HTML file; Book = website; Library = internet. the gadgets program uses HTML files to display any information that your specific PC wouldn’t know, making gadgets as safe as the servers that host the HTML files for that gadget. Basically you should only truly trust a gadget if its HTML file is being hosted by Microsoft or another big-ticket software company.

  20. Forget it, do not install it, affects the stability of the system messes up the Windows registry and could contain malware.

  21. AMD Phenom II 8600D triple-core 2.3GHz
    ASUS M4A785-M AMI bios 1101, 6GB DDR2
    Powercolor AMD/ATI 5450 1GB DDR3
    Windows 8.1 64-bit (up to date, including IE 11)

    I have Core Temp 1.0 RC6 64-bit running on the desktop: all good.
    I have installed (and reinstalled) the Core Temp 2.7 gadget.
    When I enable it on the desktop, the “- Core Temp -” black box
    appears, but it only displays, “Load library error!”

    If this requires that I install Core Temp or Core Temp Gadget
    with Admin privileges, please tell me how. If the problem is
    something else, please tell me what. If my setup is incompatible,
    I can get along fine with just the Core Temp 1.0 RC6 64-bit info.

    Thank you for what I’m sure is a good program, once I install it correctly.

    Sincerely in Christ,

  22. As expected the weather and currency gadgets do not function as in Win 7 and Vista (just stopped working), although I know they do (at least the weather) strangely on some PC’s.

  23. Had no idea how annoying it was not having the time on my second monitor. Thank goodness foe this DL. Sanity saver thank you.

  24. Works well on win8.1 and win 10 preview, I use clock , clipboard manager and weathercenter and all works fine, it was difficult to find a weather app that works fine so I recommend this one…

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