Remember the sidebar gadgets from the Vista/Windows 7 era? Microsoft ended up removing the sidebar and gadgets from subsequent Windows versions because of some perceived security risks. I loved those gadgets and immediately went looking for an alternative and was fortunate to come across the free 8 Gadget Pack which allows users to choose from a range of gadgets to display on their desktop.
8 Gadget Pack
8 Gadget Pack is freeware that supports both Windows 10 and 11. Once installed, it behaves in the exact same way as the original Vista/Windows 7 gadgets. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and you’ll see that a “Gadgets” option has been added to the menu:
Clicking that option will open 8 Gadget Pack’s selection window consisting of three pages of gadgets totaling 62 in all:
Simply double-click a gadget to add it to the desktop. Gadgets can be dragged and dropped around the desktop to display in any position you want. My favorites are the CPU/RAM meter, calendar, and analog clock:
Each gadget has its own hidden menu which is revealed with a mouseover and includes an “X” to remove the gadget plus, in some cases, a spanner icon that opens an options menu when clicked. The clocks, for example, include options to set different time zones, display the second hand (analog only), and apply different names to multiple clocks:
Other gadgets, such as the weather gadget and clipboard gadget are similarly customizable.
- More info and direct download: 8 Gadget Pack Home Page
One Minor Issue
Each time a new Windows build or major feature update is installed, which is not all that often, the process will remove the gadgets. But fear not my friends, on the desktop you’ll see a new shortcut to “Repair 8 Gadget Pack”. Double-click that new shortcut and the gadgets will be restored in the blinking of an eye. Too easy!