Sidebar gadgets have been created that can keep track of how Windows Vista is using your hardware resources and link to 3rd party tools providing you a shortcut to getting information online. Only thing is, if you have a smaller monitor you may find the sidebar a little crowding and using precious screen space. Truth is it was meant for those with a widescreen lcd display so you can keep it running in the foreground. If you ever decide you want to permanently disable the sidebar watch my video tutorial here.
Anyhow, don't worry its not so bad for those with a regular monitor too. Below I have picked some of the best FREE Windows Vista Sidebar gadgets available. Not every gadget comes from Microsoft directly. Actually some of the best ones I have found elsewhere.
By the way in case you didn't know, here are the windows shortcut keyboard combos for using the sidebar:
- Windows key + spacebar - Select Sidebar and bring all gadgets to the front
- Windows key + G - Cycle through Sidebar gadgets
- Tab - Cycle through Sidebar controls
Multi Meter (D) is a dual core version that shows you the usage for dual core systems.
The Multi Meter Includes also a Memory usage status.
The WebGuide Gadget allows you to connect to local Media Center or a remote WebGuide server. It allows for full access to the program guide, search, recorded TV and scheduled Recordings. You can even stream live TV when connected to a WebGuide server.
Mini Inbox 3.0 - Your Inbox messages on your sidebar. Read your email from the sidebar via a flyout. You don't even need to have Outlook open!
Hobby Lounge - Memory/Core , and hardware usage, very nice set of gadgets.
Torrent Wrangler - Torrent Wrangler V2 is a powerful sidebar gadget that allows you search 5 popular torrent trackers with one click.
Calculator -The first ever Vista calculator gadget released on the Live Gallery.
Recycle Bin - This gadget adds the recycle bin within the gadgets. You can directly view or delete the content of the basket. Drop any items you want to delete onto the basket.
The Magic Folder - The Magic Folder is a gadget that helps you categorize and move files. When you drag a file to the gadget it will look at the file extension and place Document files (like doc, xls, ppt, etc) in the Document folder.
System Control - Aside from the normal Shutdown, Restart, Lock, and StandBy (Hibernate), you can Switch User, Log Off, Task Manager, Run Window, and Command Prompt.
Sidebar Themes are also available to customize the look.
Take a look here for a list of themes for the sidebar.
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