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Fix: Gadgets displaying broken in Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 with IE11

If you are using gadgets on Windows 8.1 or on Windows 7 with IE 11 installed, then you may face a strange issue: Gadgets do not show correctly; they appear to be broken or corrupted. The issue occurs because of Internet Explorer 11 if you are using a custom DPI setting (above 100%). It is possible to fix the broken gadgets and make them work with any DPI setting. Let's see how.

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This is how the CPU Meter gadget looks like - with broken rendering:
Gadgets are broken
To fix the broken gadget, follow the instructions below:

  • Close the broken gadget. Alternatively, you can kill the sidebar.exe process using Task Manager.
  • Navigate to the folder where the broken gadget is stored on your PC. It can be one of the following locations:
    C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets
    C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets
  • Locate the gadget's folder. In the case of the CPU Meter gadget, it is C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets\CPU.Gadget
  • Inside the gadget's folder you should locate the gadget.xml file. There can be several gadget.xml files, for every UI localization language supported by your gadget. In the case of the CPU Meter gadget, the required file is located in the en-US folder.
  • Open the gadget.xml file with Notepad and find the following text:
    (autoscaleDPI)(!--_locComment_text="{Locked}"--)true(/autoscaleDPI)

    Change it to:
    (autoscaleDPI)(!--_locComment_text="{Locked}"--)false(/autoscaleDPI)
    gadget_xml

  • Save the gadget.xml file to Desktop. Then copy and replace the destination gadget.xml with your fixed version.
  • Edit the gadget.xml files in all other language folders.

That's it. Now add your gadget again to the Desktop; it should show properly.
fixed cpu gadget

It is really unfortunate that Microsoft does not fix Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 to address this problem. Besides, many users are using Gadgets on Windows 8/8.1 as well and they do not even have the choice of avoiding IE11. Fixing every Gadget manually is a tedious process but works.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Fix: Gadgets displaying broken in Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 with IE11”

  1. If you are going to reinstall Windows, or want the same gadgets on a different computer, but don’t want to go to all the bother of downloading, and configuring them do this. Copy this folder: “C:\Users\YOUR NAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar” and store it somewhere, such as a thumb drive, or OneDrive or Dropbox. Install the gadgets with the Gadgets Revived program, and then put that folder back. Right-click on your desktop, select gadgets, and they will all magically appear just as you had them before. Remember to say YES to overwrite the ini file as you are copying over!

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