Desktop gadgets were useful widgets that could be added to the Windows Vista and Windows 7 desktop to improve productivity. They’re long gone, but don’t worry—you can add desktop widgets to Windows 10 using these third-party tools.
Hold On, What Are Windows Gadgets?
It might seem difficult to appreciate ten years later, but desktop gadgets were popular at the time. Capable of displaying the time, weather, sticky notes, and even CPU speed, these widgets were essentially mini apps that could be positioned around the desktop (mostly down the right-hand side, however). They would also hide behind your main apps, acting as if part of the desktop background.
Pretty useful, right?
Unfortunately, with the arrival of Windows 8, these widgets were abandoned. Suddenly, you couldn’t instantly see what time it was in your Hong Kong office, or get RSS feeds on the desktop. Instead, this sort of information was combined into live tiles on Windows 8, and to a lesser extent, Windows 10.
Fortunately, with the return to a dominant desktop on Windows 10 (as opposed to the Start Screen-first approach of Windows 8), gadgets and similar tools can be restored.
Security Vulnerabilities Killed Windows Gadgets
A key reason why Microsoft opted to drop Gadgets from later versions of Windows was security related.