Customize Windows Sidebar

You can customize Windows Sidebar by hiding it, keeping it on top of other windows, adding and removing gadgets from it, detaching gadgets to place them on the desktop, and more.

Windows Sidebar
Windows Sidebar
Show all

To open Sidebar

  • Open Windows Sidebar by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Windows Sidebar.

Tip

  • You can also open Windows Sidebar by clicking the Start button Start button, typing sidebar in the search box, and then pressing ENTER.

To locate Sidebar

  • Right-click the Sidebar icon‌ Windows Sidebar icon in the notification area (at the far right of the taskbar), and then click Open.

    Note

    • You can't change the width of Sidebar. However, you can detach gadgets from the Sidebar and place them anywhere on the desktop:

      • Right-click the Sidebar icon Windows Sidebar program icon, and then click Exit.

To close Sidebar

Closing Sidebar won't close detached gadgets that are on your desktop.

  • Right-click Sidebar, and then click Close Sidebar.

    To open Sidebar again, right-click the Sidebar icon Windows Sidebar program icon in the notification area (at the far right of the taskbar), and then click Open.

To exit Sidebar

Exiting Sidebar closes Sidebar and all gadgets. It also removes the Sidebar icon from the notification area.

  • Right-click the Sidebar icon Windows Sidebar program icon, and then click Exit.

To always keep Sidebar and gadgets on top of your windows

You can keep Sidebar and any detached gadgets that are on your desktop on top of your open windows. If open windows are maximized, they will automatically lock against Sidebar.

  1. Open Windows Sidebar properties by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Windows Sidebar Properties.

  2. Select the Sidebar is always on top of other windows check box, and then click Apply.
    – or –
    Right-click a detached gadget, and then click Always on Top.

To add a gadget

You can add any installed gadget to Sidebar. If you want, you can add multiple instances of a gadget. For example, if you are keeping track of time in two time zones, you can add two instances of the Clock and set each accordingly.

  1. Right-click Sidebar, and then click Add Gadgets.

  2. Double-click a gadget to add it.

To change the display order of gadgets in Sidebar

  • Drag a gadget to its new position in Sidebar.

To place a gadget on the desktop

You can detach gadgets from Sidebar and place them anywhere on the desktop.

  1. Right-click the gadget you want to detach, and then click Detach from Sidebar.

  2. Drag the gadget to the location you want on the desktop.

Notes

  • To move the gadget back to Sidebar, right-click the gadget, and then click Attach to Sidebar.

  • The size of gadgets as they appear in Sidebar is fixed. However, many gadgets resize themselves slightly larger when detached from Sidebar and placed on the desktop.

    1. Right-click the gadget you want to detach, and then click Detach from Sidebar.

    2. Drag the gadget to the location you want on the desktop.

To remove a gadget from Sidebar

  • Right-click the gadget, and then click Close Gadget.

To restore a gadget

If you removed a gadget from Sidebar and want to add it back, follow these steps:

  1. At the top of Sidebar, click the plus sign (+) to open the Gadget Gallery.

    Add Gadget button
    Add Gadget button
  2. Browse to the gadget you want to restore, right-click the gadget, and then click Add.

Tip

  • To restore or move a gadget, you can simply drag the gadget where you want it.

To search for gadgets installed on your computer

  1. At the top of Sidebar, click the plus sign (+) to open the Gadget Gallery.

    Add Gadget button
    Add Gadget button
  2. In the Search box, type the name of the gadget you want to find. As you type, the list of gadgets will narrow to the closest match.

Tip

  • You can narrow your search further by clicking the arrow to the right of the search box and selecting one of the items in the list. For example, clicking Recently installed gadgets will narrow the search to gadgets installed in the past thirty days.

To change an individual gadget's options

  • Right-click the gadget you want to change, and then click Options.

Note

  • Some gadgets might not have options.

To uninstall a gadget

  1. At the top of Sidebar, click the plus sign to open the Gadget Gallery.

    Add Gadget button
    Add Gadgets button
  2. Right-click the gadget, and then click Uninstall.

Note

  • If you uninstall gadgets that came with Windows, you can restore them to the Gadget Gallery by following these steps:

    1. Open Windows Sidebar properties by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Windows Sidebar Properties.

    2. Click Restore gadgets installed with Windows.

To move Sidebar

You can move Sidebar to the left side of the screen or to a different monitor if you are using multiple monitors.

  1. Open Windows Sidebar properties by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Windows Sidebar Properties.

  2. Under Display Sidebar on this side of screen, select which side of the screen you want.

  3. Under Display Sidebar on monitor, select the monitor you want.

To place Sidebar on a different monitor

If you have two or more monitors, you can place Sidebar on any one of them.

  1. Open Windows Sidebar properties by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Windows Sidebar Properties.

  2. Under Display Sidebar on monitor, select the monitor you want.

To bring gadgets to the front using a keyboard shortcut

  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key+SPACEBAR.

To tab through gadgets using a keyboard shortcut

  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key+G, and then continue pressing G to cycle through the gadgets.