We can all agree that the more accessible an item is, the easier our lives become. And Windows gave us this level of comfort with Windows Desktop Gadgets. But this happiness was short-lived as it was discontinued after Windows 8.
But do not be dismayed because this article has all you need to know about bringing back widgets to your Windows 11 desktop. Keep reading to find out! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Desktop Gadgets, they are handy widgets that greatly enhance one’s capability.
They were also called the Windows Sidebar in Windows Vista as they were chained to the sidebar. But Windows 7 allowed more freedom as they could now be moved anywhere onto the desktop. For now, third-party tools are the way to add desktop widgets to Windows 11.
And this is how you do it!
Here’s how you can place the Clock widget For Windows 11:
- Through Widget Launcher
- Using Windows Desktop Gadgets
- Through 8GadgetPack
- Using Rainmeter
Okay, But Why Do I Need Windows Widgets?
Still not convinced that Windows Widgets was a worthwhile invention? How does having all the information you want to be displayed right before your eyes sound?
Well, that’s exactly what Windows Widgets did.
- Whether it be time, weather, important notes, to-do lists, or even technical data like CPU Speed, Windows Widgets has your back covered. Many would consider them mini-apps on your screen (Cute, right?).
- The best part is you can furnish your desktop with these widgets however you like, but usually, it is preferred when they are at the right-hand side bottom of your screen.
- You can also blend them into your desktop background and conceal them behind your main application. Sounds great.
But Windows 8 saw the last of this innovation. You can no longer access information with as much ease as before. Goodbye to having your time and news feeds displayed on your desktop. All hope wasn’t lost.
Live Tiles in Windows 8 achieved a similar outcome, but they were only accessible when the Start menu was visible. Windows 11 inherited this feature and upgrades such as enhanced notifications and Cortana.
But when you think about it, it makes sense why Windows would have wanted to do away with widgets. One of the changes that led to this outcome was substituting the desktop with a Start screen. But as Windows 11 was brought back with a dominant desktop, we could access tools such as widgets again.
Was It Necessary For Microsoft To Do Away With Widgets?
In short, yes. For the best, Microsoft had to suspend the use of widgets. This was due to security reasons as the users’ privacy was being compromised.
Due to some unresolved vulnerabilities in gadgets, there was a possibility of Remote Code Execution taking place.
Remote Code Execution allows a hacker to gain entry into your system. Microsoft had come to the following conclusions regarding the unsafety of Gadgets. They are :
- There are chances of Vulnerabilities being present in some Gadgets.
- If not careful, people could be tricked into installing a Gadget that could harm their device and provide access to hackers.
The consequences include a hacker gaining complete access to your PC. This means that the admin of your system is no longer you.
The hacker can create openings that allow other harmful viruses to enter your system. Therefore you will no longer be able to operate your system, and all your stored data is now easily accessible.
A quick fix was to disable the Windows Sidebar feature to prevent users from using Gadgets till a permanent solution was found. But once Windows 8 was released, people realized that the Desktop Gadgets were done away with by Microsoft.
So Is It Safe For Me to Use Windows Gadgets Now?
Yes! It is now safe for users to utilize the Gadgets feature without compromising their security.
The vulnerabilities have been corrected, so you no longer have to worry about attackers gaining access to your data. Ready to enhance your productivity by making use of widgets?
Here’s how you can do it.
The following tools will enable you to add widgets to your Windows 11 system and help you to experience their utility:
- Widget Launcher
- Windows Desktop Gadgets
Confused about how to use these tools to access Desktop Gadgets? Keep reading to find out!
Accessing Gadgets in Windows 11 through Widget Launcher
Widget Launcher can be installed on your Windows 11 desktop from the Microsoft store. Compared to other widget applications, the widgets in Widget Launcher have a look and feel to them that complements the Windows 11 design.
And rest assured, Windows Launcher is not complicated to use, and it will give you an idea of how desktop widgets and gadgets were implemented in Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Follow these few simple steps to get started :
1. Head over to Microsoft Store and search for Widgets Launcher. Install the application.
2. After the installation is complete, run Widgets Launcher.
3. Choose the widget you would like to use from the many options.
4. Place the widget in a location comfortable to you on your Windows 11 desktop.
And there you have your very first widget!
If you want to remove your widget, you must hover over it and click on the X button. This is similar to how widgets and gadgets operate in Windows Vista and Windows 7 systems. You can also head over to the Setting cog to personalize your widgets.
For example, the Widget Launcher Windows 11 clock widget will show you an option to select your location.
The weather widget also utilizes your location data to display the local temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius format based on your preferences. The free application includes in-app purchases for accessing a wider pool of desktop widgets in Windows 11.
Some of these include widgets that display news, images from your gallery, your internet speed, and more. It can be noted that the previous releases of the app did not allow individual widgets and gadgets to be placed on the desktop.
This had led to unsatisfied customers giving poor reviews.
Accessing Gadgets in Windows 11 through Windows Desktop Gadgets
Windows Desktop Gadgets is another way to add desktop widgets to Windows 11 systems. Many people use it as it takes less space in your device and is easy to use.
Another feature of Windows Desktop Gadgets is that they can be utilized in multiple languages. This is done by adding them to the installation wizard.
Follow these few simple steps to get started :
1. After downloading the application’s ZIP file, ensure that you unzip DesktopgadgetsRevived-2.0.exe from it.
2. Now, double-click the unzipped file to proceed with the installation.
3. Once you have finished the above steps, head to your desktop and right-click on it. Select Gadgets from the displayed options.
4. You will observe that gadgets have been enabled in Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization. You can now include them on your desktop simply by clicking and dragging your selected widget to your desired location.
After you have performed the installation, it is easily observed that Windows Desktop Gadgets have taken the place of the initial gadgets.
You can further personalize your gadget by clicking on the settings cog icon. Some changes that can be made are to change the size or configuration of the gadget as per your preference.
Accessing Gadgets in Windows 11 through 8GadgetPack
It is also possible to install and utilize widgets in your Windows 11 system using 8GadgetPack. It is a free application that doesn’t occupy much space in your system.
To start using 8GadgetPack, head over to their website and download the MSI file by clicking on the link on the right side of the page.
Follow these steps to continue with the installation :
1. Once you have located the MSI file, double-click on it to proceed with the installation.
2. Now launch the application.
3. Right-click on the desktop and choose the gadgets option.
4. Click and drag the widget of your choice onto your desktop.
As we know, the Windows Sidebar in Windows Vista restricted the usage of widgets in the sidebar. 8GadgetPack includes a similar sidebar, but you have the freedom to choose the positioning of your gadgets.
You will find many similarities between 8GadgetPacket and Windows Desktop Gadgets, but the main one is that they both adhere to the original Gadgets experience in Windows Vista.
And yes, an options screen enables you to customize your widgets as per your liking. You can change the color, position, data, and other features.
Once you are satisfied, get ready to achieve more than ever with the help of your newly acquired gadgets.
Accessing Gadgets in Windows 11 through Rainmeter
If you are looking for something more modern than the style of the old-desktop gadgets, Rainmeter is right up your alley! Rainmeter is a widely-used open-source tool that helps you to customize your desktop.
In addition to its many features, Rainmeter helps to display various details regarding many topics on your Windows 11 desktop using widgets.
These include displaying time through a clock widget, live statistics of hardware components in your system, weather forecasting information, etc.
It covers everything the old generation of gadgets covered but in a much more fashionable way.
If any of the above mentioned methods work well for you, feel free to use them. Rainmeter is just another application in your arsenal that offers new widgets and more stuff for you to explore.
But one thing to remember is that Rainmeter is not always the best option if productivity is your foremost goal, as configuring it is time-consuming.
Any changes made must be kept to a minimum. Illustro, the default theme of Rainmeter, displays the widgets at the top of your desktop along with other features to make it easier for you to use.
Another option is to use Win10 widgets that come as a bundle with Rainmeter 4.0.
Live A Simpler Life Now With The Help Of Widgets In Windows 11
Now that you know how to install widgets on your Windows 11 desktop, what’s stopping you from using them? Give it a shot, and you’ll be surprised how useful they can be.
Some ways that widgets come in handy are :
- Maintaining track of time across different time zones to help you coordinate meetings and phone calls
- Displaying statistics of various hardware components in real-time
- Making plans based on displayed weather information
We have third-party apps to thank for allowing us to utilize features that are not by default in our systems. The sky and your creativity are the limits. Now thrive!!
What Were Some Classic Gadgets From Windows 7?
Some of the most well-remembered and loved gadgets from Windows 7 were as follows: Calendar, Analog Clock, Currency, News Feed Headlines, Weather, Sticky Notes Widget.
Apps Or Gadgets? What Should I Use?
Gadgets offer more features than apps, so it is recommended to go with gadgets. Some of the shortcomings of apps are :
– Reduced functionality as compared to gadgets
– It cannot always be resized as per our requirements
– Cannot stay on the top and remain visible to us at all times
Therefore many users prefer to use gadgets rather than apps.
Which Of These Widget Apps Is The Most Recommended?
While any of the abovementioned applications can be used to add widgets to your Windows 11 desktop, 8GadgetPack has repeatedly established itself as one of the best in the market.
It is one of the highest-rated applications with many satisfied customers. 8GadgetPack also allows the user to remove the unnecessary gadgets in the pack, which is one of its most appreciated features.
What Are Some Other Widget Gadgets For Me To Explore?
The applications mentioned on this list are just a few of many third-party apps that can be used to experience widgets on your Windows 11 desktop. Some of the other famous gadgets are :
2. Win10 Widgets
3. Gadgets Revived
5. Windows Live Tiles