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Disable User Installed Desktop Gadgets in Windows 7

When you’re the administrator of a shared computer, you might want to disable certain features. Today we look at how to disable Desktop Gadgets that a user installs, or how to disable them all together.

Note: This method uses Local Group Policy Editor which is not available in Home versions of Windows 7.

User Installed Gadgets

A user installed gadget would be one they install from another location on their own. For example, here we take a look at a user account who has two gadgets included in Windows 7 installed. And also two they installed themselves from the Microsoft site.

sshot-2010-01-19-[12-35-39]

In this example we look at disabling gadgets the user installed, but keep the default gadgets that came with Windows 7. Click on Start and enter gpedit.msc into the search box and hit Enter.

gpedit_start

Now in Local Group Policy Editor navigate to User Configuration \ Windows Components \ Desktop Gadgets then double click on Turn Off user-installed desktop gadgets.

5gadget

Now just Enable the setting, click Ok, then close out of Local Group Policy Editor.

6gadget

For the change to go into effect, you’ll need to log off all users then back on the machine. When the user goes back into their account they will only see the two default Desktop Gadgets showing, and the ones they installed will be gone.

2gadget

If they try to install them again, they will get the following message.

3gadget

Of course they will still have access to the default Gadgets that come with Windows 7.

4gadget

Disable All Desktop Gadgets

You might want to disable all gadgets, including the ones that came with Windows 7. To do that, just go into the same place in Local Group Policy we were at in the steps above, but this time Enable Turn off Desktop Gadgets.

7gadget

Again you’ll need to log off all users and log back on for the changes to take effect. Now when a user tries to access the Desktop Gadgets Gallery they’ll receive the following message.

sshot-2010-01-18-[21-54-57] 

If you don’t want users messing around with any Desktop Gadgets, or just want to allow access to the ones included with Windows 7, this is a good way to get restrict them.

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 01/19/10

Comments (1)

  1. whall

    One thing that would also be helpful is knowing how to push desktop gadgets to users via Group Policy. For example, for every netbook I set up for remotes, I want a pre-set number of gadgets set up, which is made up of a combination of pre-installed gadgets and ones I as administrator have downloaded to the server.

    The gadgets help them see if the network is connected and if the VPN is running, plus the latency to the corporate office. That way they know if things are running slow, they know what to look at first – cpu, memory, latency to the internet in general (4.2.2.1 as example), latency to corporate office, and latency to a server in the corporate office, assuming VPN is up.

    So what I want to do is just create the new computer, join it to the domain, and when those users log in, I want the gadgets to automagically get installed and configured based on defaults.

    Do you know how to do that?

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