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Windows Vista: 10 Things – Maximizing Sidebar Gadgets

Many PC OEMs ship Windows Vista computers with Windows Sidebar enabled, usually only displaying the simple clock, photos and RSS feed gadgets. You may’ve found that they install their own home-grown gadgets to show off additional features or apps installed on the PC, or as sales tools for other products. You may even have turned off the Sidebar because you already have a clock in the systray and you use other ways to check RSS feeds.

If so, you’re missing out, as there’s a Windows Sidebar gadget for almost anything you might want: PC utilities, music, messaging, traffic reporting, searching or just a quick game can be yours with a click of the mouse. If you haven’t taken the time to explore gadgets beyond those loaded by default, take a minute to right-click the Sidebar and select ‘Add Gadgets.’ From there, click ‘Get More Gadgets Online’ — you’ll find over 1000 different gadgets available for download.

There are still other ways to find gadgets: visit the Microsoft Gadgets Gallery, Windows Live Gallery and Code Project for hundreds more. In addition, you’ll find links to resources for developers and a way to submit your own gadgets for others to use.

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned Windows Sidebar and accompanying gadgets: MS held a contest challenging developers to create new gadgets to do any number of things. And in January during the consumer market launch of Windows Vista we kept readers updated as to our whereabouts as we toured the East coast of the US in a branded bus. Brandon even found a gadget that alerts users to changes in targeted airfares on Expedia’s site!

We have a gadget we use internally to train employees in fielding and responding to customer feedback; it’s called the “Dear Steve” gadget, and it displays anonymized contents of emails our customers have sent directly to Steve Ballmer with their personal product feedback. This is what it looks like on the Sidebar:

…and here it is maximized on the desktop:

Windows Sidebar is definitely worth another look.

Microsoft, Windows Vista, 10 Things, Sidebar Gadgets, Gadgets, Tips and Tricks, Knowledgebase

Source:? Windows Vista Team Blog

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