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Disable Sidebar / Desktop Gadgets on Windows 7

If you just can’t see the point of the desktop Gadgets included in Windows 7, or even the Sidebar gadgets in Windows Vista, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily disable them with a simple configuration change.

If you are really, really new to Windows 7, the gadgets are accessible via the desktop context menu, and can be dropped anywhere on the desktop you’d like.

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Note: If you are running Windows Vista, you can disable the sidebar there as well.

Disabling Sidebar/Desktop Gadgets in Windows 7

To disable them, simply open up Control Panel and type “features” into the search box. Find the link for “Turn Windows features on or off” and open it.

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Remove the checkbox from Windows Gadget Platform, click the OK button and restart your computer when it’s all done.

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Now the item should be gone from the menu…

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And there won’t be any more gadgets laying around on your desktop.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/19/09

Comments (20)

  1. AK

    What if you want to just disable the gadgets on startup?
    how would you go about that

  2. xrickx

    thanks this deffinately helped
    but I have the same question as “AK”

  3. journey

    Put mouse pointer over gadget you wish to disable, right click it, select “Close gadget” from context menu. It will close immediately. Upon computer restart, the gadget you closed will not come back.

    If you want to close all the gadgets, why not just disable the sidebar per the instructions given above?

  4. john`

    thank you very much for this greate visual steps

  5. SolTzu

    This is no good at all. People want to know how to turn off all the gadgets at once and then turn them all on when they choose, not one by one, or by messing with windows configuration, lol what kind of oddball solution is that?

    Usually windows 7 and vista users have a set group of gadgets they like or sometimes they like to theme their gadgets into certain colors, or a certain look – so the real question is how do you turn off the group of gadgets and turn the group back on without having to do it one by one or turning off the feature completely?

  6. Nicole

    Oh My Gosh! This Helped Me SO much! Thank you! I wanted to see what one of those thisgs:Tablet PC thing was and I couldn’t get rid of it! Thanks! I am bookmarking this website! Thanks again!

  7. What ever

    Run > Msconfig

  8. NURUL

    on clicking the sidebar there is no option of properties…any one can help me??????

  9. Mark

    Thanks!

  10. Dave

    Cheers :)

  11. Jason

    Thank you, now that pesky sidebar is now gone.

  12. kalen

    thanks it helps me..

  13. CHOPPERGIRL

    Yeah, how do you hide all the gadgets all at once, and then reshow them. I don’t want to destroy my gadgets or close them permanently, i just want them to shutdown when I’m playing a video game or video, because they make the video game or video stutter every 1 second. Even when I set sidebar.exe in Windows TaskManger to run at Idle priority.

  14. Anon

    Right click desktop, View, tick or untick Show Desktop Gadgets.

    I wish there was a tray icon to double click to enable or disable vs Right clicking.

  15. s300pmu1

    To show\hide all gadgets at will you just have to kil\restart sidebar.exe process.
    A simple way to do that is by a batch file of the following content:

    tskill sidebar
    if %errorlevel%==1 start sidebar

    Take the above two lines, save them as a “toggle_sidebar.bat”, and upon launching it the sidebar will toggle. You can also assign this bat file to run on a hotkey (I use Ctrl-Alt-NumpadPlus), or a quicklaunch toolbar icon.

    Negatives are:
    - it takes some time to run (about 7 seconds on my machine to start, about 1 to hide)
    - a window for the bat file is displayed while it is running
    - internet-dependent gadgets (weather, e.g.) will initialize on launch (i.e. will need internet access as they behave same way as on computer start – if no internet connection, they won’t update)

    Possible solution would be to rewrite the bat file as a shell script, but I’m kinda lazy and it works for me the way it is.

  16. Mick Rogers

    It helped me as well thanks mate

  17. magpie

    I have the same question as NURUL

    On clicking the sidebar, there is no option called PROPERTIES for the sidebar, or Desktop Gadgets, as windoze calls it.

  18. keepstitchen

    Sidebar stopped working. I followed microsoft suggest to do it manually by going to start, then where it says start search and type sidebar.exe I did that and found the windows sidebar shortcut icon – when I clicked it on nothing happened. I cannot find the words: sidebar.exe to click on it and have it reconfigure and put a new sidebar up. What am I doing wrong?

  19. keepstitchen

    I went back into Programs windows sidebar and found a file in that folder called en-US. I opened that and found sidebar.exe.mui – I didn’t do anything – is this a corrupt file and can take that out and install a new sidebar.exe some how.

  20. Shane

    Thanks… It helped

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