No More Gadgets?
Microsoft got rid of desktop Gadgets due to a security concern. I’ve never had a problem with Gadgets from Microsoft. I think the real risk would most likely come from third-party publishers whom you may or may not be able to trust. Nobody can make these types of decisions better than you.
What are Gadgets?
I like Gadgets. Gadgets are little utilities like clocks, calendars, news feeds, weather feeds, and so on, that offer a real-time stream of data.
As you can see, I have three Clock Gadgets– one for my time zone, one for Jim Hillier in Australia, and another for Marc Thomas in Argentina. It’s very handy to see what time it is on the other side of the globe, at a glance. For example, a quick look and I know it’s going on midnight in the Land of Oz and ringing Jim’s phone right now would probably not be in my best interests. You’ve seen his picture, right? He’s happy in that one. 😉
Even though I can look out my window, I like knowing what the weather is doing or going to be doing, hence, a Weather Gadget.
The Calendar is there to help my tired old eyes; having a nice big calendar there instead of having to squint to see the date in the System Tray is a big help to me. Ah! I see that it’s Patch Tuesday. Don’t forget to update your Windows computer!
You’ll also notice a tiny little light-blue timer in the above image. This is not a Gadget, per se, but a little count-down timer that I have installed. It reminds me to take a break once in a while. I lose track of time while at the computer and can easily sit there for hours. I know I should do something radical from time to time like actually standing up and walking around a bit. Maybe even stretching if I’m feeling particularly eccentric.
The sharp-eyed among you will have also noticed some links to the really important stuff on my computer.
No Gadgets, Has Windows 8.1
You won’t find Gadgets on the new Windows 8.1 operating system. I missed the cute little buggers and I’m going to show you a very easy and free way to get them back.
Enter 8GadgetPack. This is a free utility that will bring Gadgets back to Windows 8.x. It offers 52 Gadgets spread over three ‘sheets’ sorted in alphabetical order. Once installed, a simple right-click on your desktop will now offer Gadgets in the context menu and making that selection will bring up the above window. Just like the good ol’ days…
Double-click on the Gadget of choice, set up its options to suit your tastes, position it wherever you like, and you’re done. Easy as pie.
Note: Not all the included Gadgets are from Microsoft. You can drop-down the Details Panel to get more information about each Gadget. There is also a click-able link that will take you to that Gadget’s web site, plus a list of gadgets and their respective sources included on 8GadgetPack’s home page.
You can download the latest version at the 8GadgetPack Web site.
This is Freeware that brings back some of the desktop functionality and eye-candy that can make computing so much fun. It also makes the Desktop a much more interesting place.