Have you ever wondered how to get your Instant Messenger contacts into the Vista Sidebar? Sure, you can use the previously mentioned AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Gadget for Vista Sidebar, but what if you are a fan of the multi-protocol Pidgin client instead?

The solution is a small Windows Sidebar Gadget called Pidglet that interacts with an included plugin for Pidgin. Thanks to our extremely helpful forum member Justin for finding this gadget.

Installing Pidglet

Before installing the Gadget you’ll need to install the Pidgin plugin… if you don’t install in the right order you’ll get some error messages, but don’t worry because it’s simple.

After downloading and extracting the zipfile, you will need to browse down to your Pidgin installation directory, and find the Plugins directory:

C:\Program Files\Pidgin\plugins

Once you are there, then you’ll want to copy the pidglet.dll file into the folder (clicking through the UAC prompts if you haven’t disabled UAC yet)

Now you’ll need to open up Pidgin and go to Tools \ Plugins and enable Pidglet (Note that you need to have a fairly recent version of Pidgin)

Now you can install the sidebar gadget by double-clicking on the Pidglet.Gadget file that you extracted.

If that doesn’t immediately load the gadget, you should be able to use Add Gadgets…

And then drag the Pidglet gadget somewhere on the desktop.

At this point you’ll have a small gadget on your desktop with your Pidgin contacts, and you’ll want to click on the small wrench that shows up when you hover over it:

In the settings dialog you can configure the colors, but more importantly you can change it to show all of the people on your list, or at least more than 4 contacts.

The advanced option lets you specify a custom Pidgin profile folder… most likely you won’t need to bother.

Download Pidglet Gadget for Windows Vista Sidebar


Appears that the original site is down for whatever reason. I’ve put a mirror copy up and you can download it here.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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