Welcome to the second part of this 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 discuss 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.
Make sure you have downloaded and installed Windows Sidebar for XP and followed the steps in Part I prior to following the steps in this post.
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.
Move a Gadget
You can order your gadgets on the sidebar however you would like. To move a gadget, move your mouse over the gadget until some buttons become available on the right side of the gadget. There is an X button, which is another method of closing the gadget. Below the X button is a button with a grid of squares on it. Click and hold that button while moving the gadget to reposition the gadget to another location on the sidebar.
Get More Gadgets
The main benefit of Windows Sidebar for XP is that you can add most Windows 7 and Vista gadgets you can download to your sidebar. You do not have to only use the gadgets that come with the program. To get more gadgets, open the Gadget Gallery as described earlier in this post. Click the Get more gadgets online link in the lower, right corner of the Gadget Gallery dialog box.
The Microsoft Vista online Gadget Gallery web page opens in your default browser. Choose a gadget you want and download it. For this example, we chose to download the MultiSearchIt gadget, which provides multiple ways to easily search the web from your desktop.
You may see the following dialog box when you click Download for the chosen gadget. If you decide you can trust the gadget, click OK. We downloaded and installed the MultiSearchIt gadget with no problems.
Install Gadget Extractor
To be able to add a downloaded gadget to the Windows Sidebar, you must install the Gadget Extractor program included in the compressed file you downloaded and extracted. To do this, double-click on the Gadget Extractor.msi file in the Windows Sidebar for Windows XP main folder you extracted.
The Welcome screen on the setup wizard displays. Click Next.
The Select Installation Folder screen displays. If you want to install Gadget Extractor to a different location other than the default location listed in the edit box, use the Browse button to select another location. We accepted the default location. Click Next to continue.
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.
Once the installation is done, the Completing the Gadget Extractor Setup Wizard screen displays. Click Finish to close the setup wizard.
Use Gadget Extractor to Install a Gadget
To start Gadget Extractor to install a gadget you downloaded, double-click the Gadget Extractor icon on the desktop.
The Please Select A Gadget File To Extract dialog box displays. Navigate to the location where you saved the .gadget file you downloaded. Select the .gadget file and click Open.
A dialog box displays telling you that the gadget was successfully extracted. Click OK to close the dialog box.
The gadget you extracted is added to the Gadget Gallery. Open the Gadget Gallery as described in the first part of this series of posts. Right-click on the new gadget and select Add. The gadget is added to your sidebar.
Change the Settings for a Gadget
To change the settings for a gadget, move your mouse over the gadget. If there are settings that can be changed for that gadget, a wrench button displays right below the X button on the right side of the gadget. Click the wrench button.
As an example, you can change the Background and the Opacity for the MultiSearchIt gadget. Click OK when you are finished changing the options for the gadget or Cancel if you don’t want to save the changes you made to the settings.
Delete an Installed Gadget
There is no way to delete a gadget you added to the Gadget Gallery within the gallery itself. To delete an installed gadget, open Windows Explorer and navigate the following folder:
C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Shared Gadgets
NOTE: If you installed the Windows Sidebar to a different folder, navigate to the Shared Gadgets folder within the folder you specified.
Select the folder that matches the name of the gadget you want to delete and delete that folder from within Windows Explorer. The next time you open the Gadget Gallery the gadget will no longer be available.
Set the Properties of the Sidebar
In addition to setting properties for gadgets on the sidebar, you can also set properties for the sidebar itself. To do this, right-click on the Windows Sidebar icon in the system tray and select Properties from the popup menu.
If you want the Windows Sidebar to start when you log in to Windows, select the Start Sidebar when Windows starts check box. Customize the location of the Windows Sidebar using the options in the Arrangement box. If you have multiple monitors, you can even specify on which monitor you want to display the Windows Sidebar. You can also view a list of the gadgets currently running by clicking the View list of running gadgets button in the Maintenance box. Click OK when you are finished making your changes.
Exit the Sidebar
To close the Windows Sidebar, right-click on the Windows Sidebar icon in the system tray and select Exit from the popup menu.
A confirmation dialog box displays to make sure you really want to exit the Windows Sidebar. This dialog box also provides another opportunity to have the Windows Sidebar start when Windows starts. If you want to turn on this setting, select the Start Sidebar when Windows starts check box. Click Exit Sidebar if you still want to exit the Windows Sidebar or Cancel if you don’t.
In this post, we covered 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.
In Part I of this series, we covered installing Alky for Applications and the Windows Sidebar, closing gadgets, and adding pre-installed gadgets from the gallery.
Now, those of you who can’t upgrade to Windows 7 and Vista, or don’t want to, can enjoy a lot of the convenient gadgets available for Windows 7 and Vista. There may be some gadgets that don’t work with Windows Sidebar for XP, but a good amount of them will.
If you are having problems with Windows Sidebar for XP, see the FAQs.
by Lori Kaufman