Microsoft removed desktop gadgets in Windows 10 in favour of Microsoft Store apps.
However, the Windows Live tiles and Microsoft Store apps cannot fully replace desktop gadgets, and many users who upgraded to Microsoft‘s latest OS still miss desktop widgets.
According to the Redmond giant, desktop gadgets represented a vulnerability that hackers could have used to access users’ computers:
Gadgets are no longer available on our website because the Windows Sidebar platform in Windows 7 and Windows Vista has serious vulnerabilities. […]. Gadgets could be exploited to harm your computer, access your computer’s files, show you objectionable content, or change their behavior at any time. An attacker could even use a gadget to take complete control of your PC.
Although desktop gadgets are no longer officially supported by Microsoft, you can still bring them back to your Windows 10 PC using third-party apps.
However, before installing these programs, you should also take into account Microsoft‘s words of warning and upgrade your computer’s security defences.
When you choose a desktop gadget manager, you will need some basic information about these tools. We will answer such questions as :
- Does it have too many gadgets?
- Is this gadget manager tool spending too many resources on your PC?
- Can you add external widgets to it?
- Do you have to update it manually?
- Can you customize it with skins?
- Where do you can download these desktop gadget tools from?
Let’s start with choosing the best tool which will fit your needs.
|Rating (1 to 5)||Free/Paid||Customizable||Add new gadgets||Automatic update|
Best free desktop gadgets to use on Windows 10
8GadgetPack allows you to use the popular desktop gadgets on Windows 10. The tool was recently updated to work on Windows 10.
The latest version of the app, 8GadgetPack Version 29.0 also brings many bug fixes.
Most desktop gadgets work on the older versions of Windows. Although 8GadgetPack has been optimized for Microsoft‘s newer OS, there are still some gadgets that are not yet compatible with the new versions.
Another advantage is that you can install other gadgets than this one includes, such as Windows Vista or Windows 7 gadgets.
If you don’t use all the gadgets included in the download package, you can simply delete all the extra gadgets.
Speaking of Windows 7, you can keep it indefinitely, along with its gadgets. Check out this guide to learn how.
8GadgetPack includes the following gadgets: 7 Sidebar, Agenda, App Launcher, Calendar, Clipboard, Clock. Control System. CPU Meter. Currency, Reminder, DriveInfo, Drives Meter, Feed Headlines, Glassy CPU Monitor, Google Mail, Mail Checker, MiniRadio, Multi-Meter, My Weather, Network Monitor II, Picture Puzzle, Power Status, Slide Show, Sticky Notes Online, Volume Control, Weather and Webradio Sidebar Gadget.
You can download 8GadgetPack from the app’s official website for free. Also, you can check out the video below for more information on how to install 8GadgetPack.
This tool allows you to download the desktop gadgets of your choice. First, you’ll need to download the Desktop Gadgets installer and then you can pick the gadgets you want to install on your desktop.
The available gadgets are grouped into 19 categories, and each category includes various versions of the same gadget.
The differences are mainly related to app design. For example, you can choose between 10 Calendar versions and 10 Clock versions.
The full list of categories includes Battery, Calculator, Calendar, Christmas, Clock, Counters and Timers, Fun and Games, Mail and IM, Multimedia, Network, News and feeds, MusicRadio, TV, Recycle Bin, Search, Slideshow, System Information, System tools, Utility, Weather.
You can download Gadgets Revived from the app’s official website for free.
Rainmeter is a popular desktop customization tool for Windows. Its main advantage is the huge number of skins available and the ever-growing collection of apps rolled out by the dedicated Rainmeter community.
Rainmeter allows you to personalize your Windows desktop so that you can access useful information at a glance and keep an eye on your system’s performance.
The list of available gadgets is quite rich, including to-do lists, media player, weather information, CPU usage, and more.
Rainmeter version 4.3 was recently launched, bringing stability and performance improvements. Rainmeter 4.0 is still in its beta version, and if you want to be sure the tool runs well on your system, you should install Rainmeter 3.3.2.
You can download Rainmeter from the app’s official website for free.
Win10 Widgets is a desktop customization app developed on Rainmeter’s structure.
This tool promises to take your desktop into the future, allowing you to quickly find the information you need using widgets such as: weather, WiFi, battery, music, and more.
Also, the network activity monitoring will definitely help, but if you want to keep it in check, try one of the bandwidth monitors from our list.
Win10 Widgets works with any wallpaper, any screen size, and uses the Windows 10 accent color you created to adapt to the general design of your system.
As far as the updates are concerned, Win10 Widgets doesn’t have an auto-update system in place, which means you’ll need to regularly search for updates on the app’s website to make sure you’re running the latest version of the program.
“In an effort to improve desktops everywhere and expand the Rainmeter community, I wanted to make this project accessible to casual users that might not know what Rainmeter is or want to spend the hours it takes to cultivate a customized desktop. The idea is that an easy-to-use theme that looks like it’s part of Windows will appeal to people that might not ordinarily use Rainmeter”, says the developer of Win10 Widgets.
You can download Win10 Widgets from the tool‘s official website for free.
Gadgetarian is a tool that allows you to bring your favourite Windows 7 gadgets on Windows 10‘s desktop.
This app is very lightweight, and the installation process is very intuitive, you simply follow the on-screen instructions.
Once the installation is completed, you don’t need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
Right-click on your desktop to enable the context menu and select the Gadgets option to explore what this tool brings.
If you’re not satisfied with a particular desktop gadget, you can easily remove it.
Adding a gadget on your desktop is very easy, simply double click the gadget of your choice and it will appear on your desktop.
It is worth mentioning that Gadgetarian’s role is to enable the Windows native gadget functions, and it doesn’t affect the integrity of the operating system.
You can download Gadgetarian from Windows Live Gadgets for free.
There you go, in case you want to see those lively desktop gadgets back on your computer’s screen, you can use one of these five desktop gadget tools for Windows 10.
If you’ve already tried out some of them, tell us more about your experience in the comments section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.