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A desktop gadget is a software widget, or a small application, that is designed to sit on a user's desktop screen in much the same way that apps reside on smartphones and tablets. Typically, desktop gadgets perform simple functions, such as displaying the time or weather.
Desktop gadgets are one way for end users to personalize their desktops. As with any user-installed applications, desktop gadgets can pose a security risk. In a Windows environment, an IT administrator can modify settings with Group Policy to restrict the use of desktop gadgets.