Use Windows 7 and Vista Gadgets in Windows XP – Part I

For those of you who like Windows 7 gadgets but are still using Windows XP, we have previously written about a way to install some gadgets in Windows XP (see our post, Get Windows 7 Gadgets in Windows XP). However, that tool, Windows 7 Sidebar for XP, only allows you to use the gadgets that come with the tool. You may have found some gadgets you like that are meant for Windows 7 or Vista and want to add those specific gadgets to Windows XP. We found a method for doing this using Windows Sidebar for XP.

NOTE: This solution is not recognized by Microsoft and the procedure is rather involved. We will go through the process step-by-step in this two-part series of posts; however, we recommend you create a system restore point before proceeding with the steps in these posts. See our post, How to create a system restore point manually in XP, for instructions on how to do this.

Download Windows Sidebar for XP from

Make sure you install Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or higher before installing the components for Windows Sidebar for XP.

Install Alky for Applications

The first component to install is Alky for Applications. This program is a plug-in for Window XP SP3 users allowing them to run Windows Vista applications on their computers, such as the Windows Sidebar to use Windows Vista and Windows 7 Gadgets.

You will find the Alky for Applications installer file in the Alky For Applications folder in the main folder that is created when you extract the downloaded file. Double-click on the Installer.msi file.

Running the Alky for Applications installer

The Welcome screen displays. Click Next.

Alky Setup Welcome screen

The End-User License Agreement screen displays. Read through the agreement and select the I agree, I will not sell or modify this software check box. Click Next.

Alky License Agreement

The Destination Folder screen displays. If you want to install Alky for Applications to a different location other than the default location listed in the edit box, use the Change button to select another location. We recommend you accept the default location. Click Next to continue.

Destination Folder for Alky

There are some Vista-specific features of Alky for Applications that require a Windows Vista Product Key to work. Windows Sidebar for XP will run without a product key, but if there are other Vista-specific features you want to use, such as Windows Inkball, you must provide your valid product key. Select the Bind to product key check box, indicate the location of the Windows Vista install partition or media drive letter, and enter the Windows Vista Product Key. See the PDF manual included with the Alky for Applications installation file for more information.

We did not enter a product key as we only plan to use the Windows Sidebar for XP application. Click Next to continue.

Alky Product Key for Vista

The Ready to Install screen displays. If you want to change any of the settings, use the Back button. Otherwise, click Install to continue with the installation.

Ready to Install Alky for Applications

The progress of the installation displays.

Installing Alky for Applications

Alky for Applications then displays the progress of the updates being made to your system.

Alky is Updating Your System

When the Complete screen displays, click Finish to close the Alky for Applications Setup.

Alky Installation is complete

We recommend you reboot your computer before continuing with the installation of the Windows Sidebar.

Install the Windows Sidebar

Once Alky for Applications is installed and you have rebooted your computer, you are ready to install Windows Sidebar. To do this, double-click the Windows_Sidebar_Installer.exe file in the main folder for Windows Sidebar for Windows XP.

Running the Sidebar Installer

The Welcome screen on the setup wizard displays. Click Next.

Windows Sidebar Setup Wizard Welcome screen

Read through the License Agreement and click I Agree.

Sidebar License Agreement

Select the optional components you want to install with the Windows Sidebar. We selected all the optional components. Click Next.

Selecting components of the Windows Sidebar to install

On the Select some final options screen, select Start Windows Sidebar when Windows starts if you want the Windows Sidebar to start automatically when you log in to Windows. You can also Add Windows Sidebar Settings to the Control Panel, making it easy to access the options for the Windows Sidebar. Click Install.

Windows Sidebar final options

The progress of the Windows Sidebar setup displays.

Windows Sidebar Installation progress

When it says Completing installation, click Next.

Completing installation of Windows Sidebar

Once the installation is done, the Completing the Windows Sidebar 6.0 Setup Wizard screen displays. If you want Windows Sidebar to start as soon as you close the setup wizard, select the Run Windows Sidebar 6.0 check box so there is a check mark in it. Click Finish to close the setup wizard.

Completing the Windows Sidebar setup

The Windows Sidebar opens and displays on the right side of the Windows XP desktop.

Windows Sidebar with default gadgets

Close a Gadget

Some default gadgets are displays when the Windows Sidebar opens for the first time. If you want to close any of these gadgets, right click on the desired gadget and select Close Gadget from the popup menu.

Closing a gadget

A confirmation dialog box displays making sure you want to close the gadget. Click Close Gadget if you still want to close the selected gadget.

NOTE: If you made any changes to the settings for that gadget (as we will discuss later in second part of this series of posts), those changes will be lost.

Confirmation dialog box for closing a gadget

Add a Gadget from the Gallery

To add a gadget from the gallery that comes with the Windows Sidebar, click the plus button at the top of the sidebar.

Opening the Gadget Gallery

The Gadget Gallery displays. To add a gadget to the sidebar, select the desired gadget, right-click on it, and select Add from the popup menu.

Adding a gadget from the gallery

To close the Gadget Gallery, click the X button in the upper, right corner of the dialog box.

Closing the gallery

Wrap Up

This was the first post in a two-part series about using Windows Sidebar for XP to use Windows 7 and Vista gadgets on your Windows XP desktop.

In this post, we covered installing Alky for Applications and the Windows Sidebar, closing gadgets, and adding pre-installed gadgets from the gallery.

Stay tuned for Part II, where we will cover moving gadgets, getting more gadgets and adding them to the Windows Sidebar, changing settings for gadgets and for the Windows Sidebar, deleting installed gadgets, and exiting the Windows Sidebar.

by Lori Kaufman

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