Desktop gadgets (overview)

Windows contains mini-programs called gadgets, which offer information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools. For example, you can use gadgets to display a picture slide show or view continuously updated headlines. Some of the gadgets that come with Windows 7 are Calendar, Clock, Weather, Feed Headlines, Slide Show, and Picture Puzzle.

To watch a video, see Picture of the Play buttonVideo: Personalizing your PC.

Why use desktop gadgets?

Desktop gadgets can keep information and tools readily available for you to use. For example, you can display news headlines right next to your open programs. This way, if you want to keep track of what's happening in the news while you work, you don't have to stop what you're doing to switch to a news website.

You can use the Feed Headlines gadget to show the latest news headlines from sources you choose. You don't have to stop working on your document, because the headlines are always visible. If you see a headline that interests you, you can click that headline, and your web browser will open directly to the story.

Getting started with gadgets

To understand how to use gadgets, let's explore three gadgets: the Clock, Slide Show, and Feed Headlines.

How does the Clock work?

When you right-click the Clock, you'll see a list of things you can do with the gadget, including closing the Clock, keeping it on top of your open windows, and changing the Clock's options (such as its name, time zone, and appearance).

Picture of right-clicking the Clock gadget
You can right-click a gadget to see a list of things you can do with it.


  • If you point to the Clock gadget, a Close button and an Options button will appear near its upper-right corner.

    Picture of the Clock gadget
    The Clock

How does Slide Show work?

Next, try resting the pointer on the Slide Show gadget, which displays a continuous slide show of pictures on your computer.

Picture of the Slide Show gadget
Slide Show

Right-clicking Slide Show and clicking Options allows you to choose which pictures appear in your slide show, control the speed at which your slide show plays, and change the transition effect between pictures. You can also right-click Slide Show and point to Size to change the size of the gadget.


  • When you point to Slide Show, the Close, Size, and Options buttons will appear near the upper-right corner of the gadget.

    Picture of the Slide Show gadget with buttons
    Some gadgets, like Slide Show, have Close, Size, and Options buttons.
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To change the slide show pictures

  1. Right-click Slide Show and click Options.

  2. In the Folder list, select the location of the pictures you want to display and click OK.


    • By default, Slide Show displays items in the Sample Pictures folder.

To set the slide show speed and transition effect

  1. Right-click Slide Show and click Options.

  2. In the Show each picture list, select the number of seconds to show each picture.

  3. In the Transition between pictures list, select the transition you want and click OK.

How does Feed Headlines work?

Feed Headlines can display frequently updated headlines from a website that supplies feeds, also known as RSS feeds, XML feeds, syndicated content, or web feeds. Websites often use feeds to distribute news and blogs. To receive feeds, you need an Internet connection. By default, Feed Headlines won't display any headlines. To start displaying a small set of preselected headlines, click View headlines.

Picture of the Feed Headlines gadget
Feed Headlines

After you click View headlines, you can right-click Feed Headlines and click Options to choose from a list of available feeds. You can add to the list by choosing your own feeds from the web.

To display a feed in the Feed Headlines gadget

  1. Right-click Feed Headlines and click Options.

  2. In the Display this feed list, click the feed you want to display and click OK.


  • To scroll through the headlines, click the arrows on the lower edge of the Feed Headlines gadget.

Which gadgets do I have?

Before a gadget can be added, it must be installed on your computer. To see which gadgets are installed on your computer, do the following:

  1. Right-click the desktop and click Gadgets.

  2. Click the scroll buttons to see all the gadgets.

  3. To see information about a gadget, click the gadget, and then click Show details.


  • The Sticky Notes program and the Sticky Notes gadget that were available in previous versions of Windows have been replaced in Windows 7. If you used either Sticky Notes or the Sticky Notes gadget in a previous version of Windows and have upgraded your computer, any notes that you had (either ink or text) should be available in the new version of Sticky Notes.

Adding and removing gadgets

You can add any gadget that's installed on your computer to the desktop. 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 gadget and set the time of each accordingly.

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To add a gadget

  1. Right-click the desktop and click Gadgets.

  2. Double-click a gadget to add it.

To remove a gadget

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

Organizing gadgets

You can drag a gadget to a new position anywhere on the desktop.