Sunday, September 27, 2009

Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets

In Windows Vista, there was a new feature called Windows Sidebar. This contained Gadgets, small information tools enabling you to organise information that you want to access quickly without cluttering your work place. It was both innovative and entertaining.


The sidebar features on the right-hand side of your desktop. You can populate it with gadgets available in the Gadget List window.


Problems with Vista’s Sidebar and Gadgets

While it was a fun thing to add Vista’s Sidebar and Gadgets to your desktop, its main disadvantage was that it took up valuable real estate. This is not to say you couldn’t uninstall it.

You can temporarily remove the Sidebar from your Desktop. This illustration shows you how.


What are the Gadgets?

Desktop Gadgets are practical mini applications, offering information at a glance and providing easy access to frequently used tools. Gadgets keep you in touch with the world.

For example, you can add a gadget that displays the weather. Once connected to the Internet the weather gadget’s information is updated regularly. The Feed Headlines gadget displays the latest news headlines. There are many gadgets available.

These are the Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets. Most of the Gadgets are the same as they were in Vista but there are two new ones.


Installing Windows 7 Gadgets

There is a similar set of Gadgets available in Windows 7. Gone are Notes and Contacts from Vista’s set being replaced by UBD Radio (an Internet connection) and Windows Media. These two gadgets can be a bit of fun.

However, with Vista’s Sidebar relegated to the dustbin of history, Windows 7’s Desktop Gadgets are now more flexible, you can place them anywhere around your screen.

Personally, I find the most useful gadgets to be the Clock, the Weather and the Calendar.

Now, let set about finding some gadgets.

  1. Right click on a blank area of the desktop.
  2. In the pop-up menu, select Gadgets.
  3. This opens the Gadget window.
  4. Select the gadget you want.
  5. To install the gadget, right click on it and in the pop-up menu, select Install.choosing
  6. Your newly selected gadget appears on your desktop.
  7. While the Gadget window remains open, you can add more gadgets.
  8. When you have finished, click the Close button.Extra Gadgets

After loading your gadgets your Desktop will look something like this.

Finished Desktop

Removing Unwanted Gadgets

If you need to remove a gadget here’s how you go about it:

  1. Move your mouse pointer onto the gadget to be removed.
  2. On the right of the gadget a small toolbar appears. It contains three buttons. The top button, the X button, closes gadget.
  3. Click the X button.Removing gadgets

Customizing Gadgets

When you add the Weather gadget, by default, it is set to New York. This is fine if you live there.

new york weather

To changet to your locality, follow these steps:

  1. Move your mouse pointer onto the Weather gadget.
  2. A small toolbar appears on the right.
  3. In the toolbar, select the spanner button.
  4. This opens the Options window. Here you can make some adjustments:
  • Search for your location
  • Set the Temperature

Adjusting weather

We’ll start with the location.

  1. In the “Select current location” box, type in your town and country.
  2. In the “Show temperature in” section, choose Fahrenheit or Celsius.
  3. When finished, click the Ok button.
  4. Your Weather gadget set to your location apears on the Desktop.


Re-sizing the Weather Gadget

Now when you load the Weather gadget, it’s pretty small. Here you’ll learn how to re-size it. Not only is is bigger and easier to read but it contains more information.

  1. Move your mouse pointer onto the Weather gadget.
  2. A small toolbar appears on the right.
  3. In the toolbar, select the Arrow button.
  4. This re-sizes the gadget showing greater detail.Resizing weather

    Winding Up

Now there are numerous things you can do with these gadgets but to finish off by tinkering with the clock settings.You can make these changes by accessing the toolbar and using the spanner button.

Here you can change the clock’s face, change the clock’s name, change the time zone and add a second hand to the clock. The illistration below shows you where these changes can be made.

Clock options

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