How to Add and Configure Windows 7 Gadgets

October 29, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Windows 7 comes equipped with a great set of additional tools to increase your productivity and enhance your desktop area. They range from a clock to a currency valuation monitor, and can be positioned and removed at will.

They are gadgets, unobtrusive desktop features that are there to help you get the most out of Windows 7.

Along with the included, standard gadgets, a whole host of others are available from the Microsoft website. We’re going to take a look at adding and adjusting the featured gadgets, as well as downloading additional ones from the web.

Selecting Windows 7 Gadgets

Windows 7 Ultimate comes with the following gadgets:

  • Calendar
  • Clock
  • CPU Meter
  • Currency
  • Feed Headlines
  • Picture Puzzle
  • Slide Show
  • Weather
  • Windows Media Center

These gadgets can be accessed and activated by right-clicking on an empty portion of your desktop and selecting Gadgets. Simply double-click or drag the gadget in question in order to send it to your desktop.

With the gadget selected and in place, you can do various things with it. Hover your mouse over the gadget to see the default options – a small toolbar will appear, with which you can remove the gadget by clicking X, drag it around, or alter the size. Some Windows 7 gadgets have other capabilities, depending on their purpose; for instance, the Feed Headlines gadget will display RSS feeds that you have added to Internet Explorer, and the number of feeds displayed can be accessed by the settings icon on the toolbar, represented by a spanner.

Similarly, the Weather gadget requires your current location to be entered, while the Currency gadget just needs you to change what is displayed in the two drop down menus.

With the Slide Show gadget, you can select an images folder to play from, while the Windows Media Center gadget gives you access to your music collection. CPU Meter will let you keep an eye on your processor and RAM usage, while the Calendar gadget simply displays today’s date.

If all of this isn’t enough for you, there are more gadgets for you to choose from online!

Downloading Windows 7 Gadgets

To get your hands on Microsoft’s huge supply of gadgets, visit windows.microsoft.com, or click the Get more gadgets online link on the gadgets window.

Note that not all of these are Windows 7 gadgets; some were designed for use in Vista, and while they should work on both systems, there are a few that might have problems.

Adding a new gadget is easy – first, browse through the available list, perhaps using the sidebar categories to choose the one you want. Check the description to ensure that it is suitable, and compare the reviews and ratings by other users with your own expectations.

When you have found a gadget you think will meet your needs, click the Download button. Next, follow any onscreen instructions requesting that you verify the download; this is something that is required for third party tools.

When you click on Install, Windows will ask you if you want to open the file with Windows 7 Desktop gadgets – agree to this, and then use the Install button to add the new gadget to your desktop.

The gadget will also be added to the available selection in the Gadgets menu, so you can disable it and restore it to your desktop at will!

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