Those who’ve been using Windows for a while probably remember that Desktop Gadgets came and went during the Windows Vista and 7 era. A desktop gadget is a handy little applet of sorts that remains constantly visible in a fenced-off area on the desktop called “the sidebar.” MS did away with them officially on July 10, 2012 when a security advisory warning against remote code execution was issued. Though the security warning still stands, I’ve yet to find a credible report of any exploits against desktop gadgets. Thanks to Helmut Buhler’s work to forward port these applets, 8GadgetPack remains viable and valuable to this day. Here’s what my sidebar looks like this morning:
Why 8GadgetPack Remains Viable and Valuable
Looking at these gadgets, I hope you can understand why I find them so useful. They permit me to easily view things I always want to know. That is, CPU Meter (bottom item) constantly shows system, performance, and resource consumption info. Also Network Meter (top item) does likewise for network connectivity, upload/download speeds, and addressing. I also like the middle item – named “Control System.” That’s because it provides easy, push-button access to shut down, restart, logout and other OS controls. I use RDP often. Sometimes, I want to restart the remote PC I’m accessing. Thus, easy one-click access to such functions is a real Godsend.
The program’s developer (Helmut Buhler) also offers a large collection of gadgets. That’s good: they’re no longer directly available from Microsoft, as they closed the Gadget Gallery down in 2016. You can still find 49 different gadgets through the program’s built-in “Add Gadgets” function. I don’t mess around with this much any more. I’ve found what I like and I’m sticking to it. But there are plenty of options for others to investigate, if they’re so inclined.
I find these three gadgets sufficient for my needs. They’re incredibly helpful when I’m working with Windows programs, updates, or repair or clean-up activities. In fact, they provide insight when something makes the OS slow, balky, or unresponsive. The two “Meter” gadgets can usually tell me enough about what’s going on that I can quickly and easily decide if I need to terminate active jobs or start troubleshooting activities, as is occasionally the case.
Is 8GadgetPack Right for You?
My friend and business partner in Win10.Guru, Kari Finn thinks I’m crazy to use these old-fangled gadgets. But I find them suitable for keeping track of my PC’s health and well-being, in much the same way that I use the instrument panels in my cars. If you share this inclination, you may want to try 8GadgetPack out for yourself, too. Besides the various items that I myself use, you may find other things that also meet your needs for constant, always-visible information on your own Windows PC(s).