How-To Geek

Run Windows Sidebar Gadgets Without the Sidebar

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Did you know that you can drag sidebar gadgets to the desktop, and then Close the sidebar? This tip might be obvious to many of you, but judging from all the emails I get on the subject, I felt that I should write an article about it anyway.

All you have to do is just drag the gadgets off the sidebar onto the desktop, and put them anywhere you want.


Now right-click anywhere on the clear part of the sidebar, and choose Close Sidebar.


You’ll notice that the gadgets continue to run on the desktop. You can even customize them via the options and set the transparency to blend in better with the desktop.


Remember that you can use Win+Space to bring them to the foreground if you want.

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 07/6/07

Comments (8)

  1. John

    I tried this tip, if you open the task manager and look up process the sidebar is still running and consuming 15,268k.

  2. The Geek

    You are correct, the process is still running in the background, which is to be expected.

    The main thing is that it isn’t wasting space on the screen anymore. =)

  3. Daniel

    hmmm, i’d rather quit the sidebar altogether to free up the already 60-70% constantly occupied RAM. Google desktop is more handy for me – but i use it on my XP desktop rather than my Vista Basic notebook which’d slow it down and contribute to more rapid battery loss.

  4. Nathan

    Yes, but then gadgets won’t start after rebooting. They will appear after rebooting if you choose “Start Sidebar when Windows starts” but then you have to close an empty Sidebar.

  5. Blackie

    Good option when running two screens with the sidebar on the left (not the default position on the right hand side).
    Installing a new icon on the desktop will put it under the sidebar where it can’t be accessed without closing it down and moving the icon and turning the sidebar back on
    2 down, only 25 more anomalies to work out :)

  6. Ahmed

    Well, I thought about it but I never tried until I read your article, I actually wonder if its intentional or its a flaw, but if it IS a flaw, I wish they never fix it!

  7. cbxfd

    Problem with this “tip”: You can’t get the “small version” of the gadget

  8. Spacegold

    I just did it and now I wondering how to get the sidebar back if I want it.

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