How To Bring Gadgets Back to Your Windows 8 Machine

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Some of the most regularly visited stories on this site are related to gadgets.

No I do not mean the tech devices we all love to get but software gadgets that you run on your Windows based machine.

When Windows Vista came out it introduced a sidebar that could hold gadgets that provided various functionality such as picture viewers, CPU usage, RSS feeds, clocks, etc.  That same sidebar feature continued in Windows 7 but you no longer had the shadowy box from the Windows Vista version and you could continue to place gadgets on your desktop.

There was a thriving gadgets development market and Microsoft hosted them on a site to make them easily accessible.  After Windows 7 came out that site was shut down and a limited number of gadgets were made accessible at the Windows Customization site however, that page is no longer available.  The push was to get folks to develop apps for the new Windows 8 operating system instead.

Despite these changes, as I mentioned earlier, it is still a popular search phrase that brings folks to WindowsObserver.com.

Although Microsoft has dropped support for gadgets in favor of Windows Store Apps there is still a small community out there who maintains these gadgets and I just came across a site that makes it possible to install some of these gadgets on Windows 8.  In the process of finding this 8GadgetPack site I also discovered my favorite gadget developer from the Windows 7 days, AddGadgets.com, is still very active in maintaining their popular gadgets.

The basic premise of 8GadgetPack is that it installs the original gadget program files on Windows 8 and adds the ability to install gadgets not pre-packaged with the 8GadgetPack. The 8GadgetPack is developed and maintained by Helmet Buhler. Now his name might ring a bell and if you are wondering from where – look back to about four years ago when he uncovered a vulnerability within the Windows Kernel that Microsoft was able to fix.

Installation of the 8GadgetPack is quick and easy and when you start it up things will look very familiar from your days on Windows Vista and Windows 7:

8gadgetpackscreenshot

The sidebar can be turned off and on plus the gadgets can be placed anywhere on your desktop. If you are on multiple monitors you can select which one the sidebar gets displayed on by default and the Right Click menu also has the Gadgets option on it just like in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

The 8GadgetPack not only contains the original Windows default gadgets but many other popular ones.  Currently there are 42 gadgets included in the program including ones from my favorite gadget developer AddGadgets.com.

So if you are looking to restore some gadget capabilities to your Windows 8 machine – this just might do the trick.

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One thought on “How To Bring Gadgets Back to Your Windows 8 Machine

  1. I was reminded that you should be careful using these gadgets on a tablet device as they can drain your battery quicker than normal usage. This package can not be used on the Microsoft Surface RT because it is not able to load legacy software. However, it could feasibly be installed on x86/x64 based devices – so just be cautious on the battery impact.