Windows Vista and Windows 7 support mini-programs called gadgets that offer information at a glance and provide access to frequently used tools. Gadgets are displayed as part of your home screen, often in a Gadgets Sidebar.

For example, a gadget can provide an on-screen time-of-day-clock, a calendar, a DJIA stock market RSS feed, or a drag-and-drop destination for printing digital photos. Other popular gadgets can include your cpu, storage, and network usage information. Microsoft Windows includes a basic set of Gadgets for Vista and for Windows 7. Many other gadgets including games can be found by browsing the internet. Older Microsoft operating systems such as XP don’t normally support gadgets.

Gadget installation methods vary somewhat depending upon the operating system. Before adding a gadget to your desktop, it must first be loaded (or downloaded) onto your computer.

To install a gadget in Windows Vista for the first time, click the Start button, then Programs, then Accessories, and finally, Windows Sidebar. Once the sidebar appears on the screen, click the + sign at the top to display, select, and install the gadgets you desire.

The location and appearance of your sidebar can be adjusted by use of Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and Windows Sidebar Properties.