How to move Gadgets in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 without snapping them to a grid

In Windows 7, when you try to move desktop gadgets to re-arrange them, they snap relative to each other's position or to the screen edge. Windows arranges them automatically to align them to a grid. However, if you have some Gadgets which have a plenty of empty space in between and you want pixel-perfect accuracy to position them, here is a simple trick which you can use to override the snapping behavior. You will then be able to place any Gadget exactly where you want, even close to each other.


If you drag Gadgets too close to each other, they will look like this:
default distance
Now try the same but hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard while you are dragging the Gadget. You will notice that as long as the SHIFT key is held down, Windows allows you to freely position them anywhere around without snapping them at fixed distance from each other or from the screen edge.
custom distance
It is sad that Microsoft removed Gadgets from Windows 8 citing pseudo security reasons, the real reason being that they wanted to push Live Tiles on you. Gadgets are no more unsafe than Desktop apps. Live Tiles on the Start screen are offered as the replacement for Gadgets, however they are far less flexble than Gadgets in numerous ways. You must switch to a full screen environment to see Live Tiles, whereas with Gadgets, you were able to position them anywhere, show only a particular Gadget always on top of another window, or bring all of them to the top with a single hotkey. Gadgets were a better solution than Live Tiles and could have been extended. If you miss Desktop Gadgets in Windows 8.1, this article might be of interest to you: Get Gadgets back in Windows 8.

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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.

3 thoughts on “How to move Gadgets in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 without snapping them to a grid”

  1. There were real security vulnerabilities.

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