How-To Geek

Put Your Pidgin Buddy List into the Windows Vista Sidebar

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

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:

image image

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.

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 01/6/09

Comments (19)

  1. Grant

    This is great! I just wish it would focus the right chat window when you double click on a contact. But still very cool.

  2. Donnie

    Awesome, but will this work for the Google Sidebar as well?

  3. jd2066

    Donnie: No, it does not. It would need to be ported to Google Sidebar which would be a nontrvial thing to do due to Google Sidebar having a different XML parser and possibly a different Javascript engine.

    I was able to easily port the gadget to Desktop Sidebar as it has the same or similar Javascript engine and uses the exact same Microsoft XML parser as Windows Sidebar does.
    For anyone who wants this version for Desktop Sidebar I will publish it after I work out two problems (Clicking a contact does nothing and the gadget starts collapsed instead of expanded where it can be seen).

  4. roman

    I really like the sidebar, is there any other messenger you can include there? I don’t use pidgin.

  5. jd2066

    For Windows Sidebar your options are fairly limited, there are some gadgets for Windows Live and Yahoo Messengers listed but many users say they don’t work right. I tried two Windows Live Messenger gadgets and they didn’t work.
    For Desktop Sidebar, it comes with a working Windows Live Messenger gadget and a Miranda IM gadget. There is also an ICQ gadget with it.
    For Google Sidebar, there is a Google Talk gadget at
    For Yahoo Widgets, there is a Windows Live Messenger gadget at

    You may be able to find more online, those are just ones I found with a few quick Google searches.

  6. Ka Hooli seems to be down, is anyone able to host this on a mirror?

  7. AV

    I’m a big fan of Pidgin and the Google Desktop Sidebar – if anyone knows how I can marry the two up – I’d love to hear about it!

  8. SuperAwesomeBlogGuy

    What a handy plugin! Best of the IM bunch, for certain.

  9. Happy Pidgin User

    Brilliant gadget … Just what I was looking for..

  10. Mr A

    So, I’ve been using the plugin for some time now (Windows Server 2008 Ent. w/Vista Aero lushness remotely via Term. Services). I have a fairly large number of contacts (work colleagues – sometimes over 30-40 contacts) so restrict my list to 16 and use the auto-scroll of the plugin.

    One major problem tho. as work colleagues around the world go home, my list updates and entries obviously get removed. BUT, often the number of actually displayed buddies doesn’t fill the box and sometimes I’m left with none showing even though the (xx online) shows more than 16.

    I’m not sure of the exact circumstances why it sometime lasts for ages (a few days!) with what looks like a full list and other times depletes to a few (within a day). Also worth mention is that the list consisted entirely of Yahoo contacts in case it was some multi-protocol/parsing issue.

    The only and really annoying workaround is to click on the Gadgets settings spanner and click ok on the popup box – this seems to reset the list being displayed.

    Can anyone fix this ? is there anyone still supporting the Gadget seeing as Rudism doesn’t seem to even mention Pidglet in his blog site – I went looking again today to see if there was an update.

    Mr A

  11. GhostLyrics

    You might want to add that if not modified this is only going to work for the ENGLISH version of Pidgin. Every other language will just have all statuses set to the “DND” icon.
    To fix this the PLang.js in the Gadget which can be opened by any archiver program (i used 7zip) has to be modified. Here is a link to my modified version which has been fitted to German and modified to work with the skype-protokoll if used with Pidgin.

    Only the PLang.js:
    or the final gadget.

  12. Cyphear

    2 hours of internet searches and nothing. Can’t find the Pidglet plugin for Pidgin anywhere on the internet. I have tried Rudism’s website with no luck. If anyone has a working link to the plugin download can they share it? If not can anyone host the plugin seeing as Rudism isn’t currently hosting it?


  13. The Geek


    I’ve already put up a mirror copy of it… check the bottom of the post.

  14. GhostLyrics

    oh and to be precise: you could’ve searched in the cache of google ;)

  15. Cyphear

    The Geek you are The Man! It was right there in front of my face the whole time.

  16. peacemaker

    joo, may its a great divice but all my contacts are shown as idle, how can I fix it, or even better to me would may fix this.

  17. Ruthe

    Thank you! I was shocked at the limited amount of IM gadgets available for Vista’s sidebar and more disappointed that none were multi-platform. I’ve switched to Pidgin from Digsby just to use this gadget. :)

  18. Macdara

    thanks that is really handy, I am also using “Gmail Counter” on the sidebar so now I don’t have to spend so much time in my Gmail browser tab…

  19. Simon

    Works on XP with sidebar and Pidgin 2.6.5
    Many thanks!

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