Add a System Utilities Gadget to the Sidebar in Windows 7 and Vista

If you use a various Windows utilities often, such as the Registry Editor, the Control Panel, Administrative Tools, and the Command Prompt, there is a sidebar gadget, called Control Panel (not to be confused with the Windows Control Panel), available for Windows 7 and Vista that makes accessing these utilities faster and easier.

Download the Control Panel gadget from

To install the Control Panel gadget, extract the file you downloaded and double-click on the .gadget file.

Installing the Control Panel gadget

If the Desktop Gadgets – Security Warning dialog box displays, click Install.

NOTE: Even though the dialog box says the gadget comes from an unknown publisher and does not have a valid digital signature, it is alright to install it. We have tested the gadget and had no problems with it.

Desktop Gadgets - Security Warning dialog box

The Control Panel gadget displays on the desktop with two columns of buttons allowing easy access to various Windows utilities.

Control Panel gadget on desktop

If you are using Windows XP, there is a way you can install this gadget. See our article about how to use Windows 7 and Vista Gadgets in Windows XP. Note, however, there are some links on the gadget that will not work in Windows XP because this gadget was designed for Windows 7 and Vista and some utilities may not be available in Windows XP or may not be located in the same place. For example, when we clicked the Win Backup button on the Control Panel gadget on the Windows Sidebar for XP, the following dialog box displays. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Cannot find the Win Backup executable file

Now, you have one-click access to many Windows utilities. The Control Panel gadget even allows you to easily access the Run dialog box, in case you don’t want to add it to your Start menu or if you prefer using the mouse to access utilities rather than keyboard shortcuts (Windows Key + R for the Run dialog box).

by Lori Kaufman

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