One thing I like about using Windows [copyright Microsoft, Inc.] is that you can customize and personalize your computing experience. Like adding gadgets to your desktop.
Gadgets are small programs that sit on your Windows desktop. They usually are shortcuts to perform a function, automatically access information, display some control or statistic about your computer, and on, and on , and on. There are so many Windows gadgets that the list currently fills 189 pages on the Microsoft Live Gallery site http://gallery.live.com/ . I use the following gadgets on my desktop sidebar: a news feed, Internet TV access, a monitor of my wireless network, and a set of animated gauges that show how much CPU and memory I’m using.
The gallery of gadgets covers Windows XP, Vista and 7, however, right now the vast number are written for Vista. Each gadget in the gallery contains information on what it does, it’s requirements, a rating, and review comments from users. I recommend you use all this information to choose whether you want to download a gadget. For example, pay close attention to whether a Vista gadget is written for 32 bit or 64 bit Vista. It may make a difference in whether it’ll run on your computer or not.
It’s easy to obtain the gadgets too. To begin with, your version of Vista may have been installed with a sidebar of gadgets for you to choose from. A sidebar is a portion of your desktop that can be displayed on the right or left side and contains icons for the gadgets you choose to put there.
Another way to obtain gadgets is to go to Microsoft Gallery Live as noted above where you can search for gadgets by category, the latest gadgets (What’s New), Top Downloads, or you can scan through the gallery page by page. Right now these gadgets are free…I hope they stay that way.
There are other sites such as http://addgadget.com/ that offer free gadgets for download, but I haven’t tried any of them.
As with any download from the Web, beware that an unscrupulous author could use a gadget to load malware (viruses, bots, etc.) onto your computer. Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and that the source of the gadget is reputable…I consider Microsoft as a reputable source.
Gadgets are a good source of free applications which will save you time, entertain you, or at least make your computing environment a bit more colorful. Give them a look and see if you like any of them.
Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.