Desktop gadgets in Windows was introduced by Vista, and it is there in Windows 7 as well. By default the gadgets appear on the sidebar, but they can be dragged to anywhere on the screen.
Both Vista and Windows 7 have several useful built-in gadgets like clocks, weather, RSS feed widget etc. But if you are still on XP (don’t worry, more than 50% of people who use personal computers prefer XP), and are wondering how to get these gadgets on your desktop, then read on.
Also on Guiding Tech
This article talks about two tools that help you add a variety of desktop gadgets to Windows XP.
UPDATE: Both the tools we talk about in this article – Yahoo Widgets and Google Desktop – are no longer available. One of our readers suggested a third-party tool called Desktop Sidebar. We haven’t tried out yet but from what it looks like on its homepage it provides many gadget and widget options for XP users. You may want to check that out.
1. Yahoo! Widgets
Yahoo! Widgets(update: Yahoo Widgets has been discontinued) is a free application for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It can display widgets on the desktop, just like the Gadgets feature in Windows 7. Though the stable version was released more than two years ago, the widgets still work.
When you first launch the program, it will pop up several widgets to get you started, including the weather, digital clock, calendar, and much more. You can right click on each widget to control display or configure preferences, or manage them in the dock (which was showed at the right hand side of screenshot above).
Like Windows 7 gadgets, you can move the widgets to anywhere on desktop, and keep them on top of other windows.
Check out Yahoo! Widgets to get more exciting stuff.
2. Google Desktop
Google Desktop (Update: Google Desktop has been discontinued) is another great tool to get some gadgets working on Windows XP. You can enable the feature in the installation by checking “Sidebar with Gadgets” section.
While Yahoo! Widgets uses “Dock” to manage the widgets, Google Desktop uses the “Sidebar” to display them. You can lock or unlock the specific gadget from sidebar, and use the Toggle Expanded View for more details of gadgets.
Right click on the taskbar Google Desktop icon and select “Add Gadgets.” You should be able to choose and install more powerful and useful gadgets.
Sidebar Gadgets is just one of the features of Google Desktop. It also provides better file search on the computer and much more.