Microsoft Killing Desktop Gadgets in Windows 8?

If you haven't seen it already, Microsoft has cleaned house in regards to its online desktop gadgets library.

The company originally launched this feature with the release of Windows Vista, and, for a long time, the library Microsoft built over the years was huge thanks to internal developers and third parties. Now they're all mostly gone save for 29 of what the company seemingly considers "Greatest Hits." Even the Xbox Live Avatar widget is gone, replaced with the Avatar360 clock.

"Because we want to focus on the exciting possibilities of the newest version of Windows, Microsoft no longer supports uploading new gadgets. But that doesn't mean you can't still get gadgets. The most popular and highest-rated gadgets are still available on this page," the gadget page officially reads towards the bottom.

For gadget developers, Microsoft points out that they can now "use your HTML5 and CSS3 skills to build Metro-style apps for Windows 8 Release Preview. To get started developing Metro style apps, go to Windows Dev Center."

That leads us to the current report issued by Win8China. The site claims that it has obtained the latest internal build of Windows 8 -- 844x -- and that it contains no references to desktop gadgets in the control panel or desktop mode. Currently gadgets are supported in Windows 8 Consumer and Release Preview editions.

Desktop gadgets were originally required to be docked (or contained) within a special sidebar in Windows Vista. Visually this feature was removed in Windows 7, allowing gadgets to float on the desktop or be attached to the left or right side of the screen. However all gadgets are still owned by the sidebar.exe process, as seen in the Process tab of Windows Task Manager.

Typically the mini-apps are based on HTML and obtain information from web feeds. Based on Microsoft's information on the gadgets webpage, the company is merely moving up to HTML5 and CSS3, turning "gadgets" into "apps" with a Metro-based theme. Does this mean sidebar.exe is finally being phased out? Guess we'll find out this fall.

  • boiler1990
    Why would you want gadgets when Metro has live tiles?
  • drwho1
    I have never use gadgets.
    Then again Windows 8 is in itself a big gadget, which along the lack of the START button missing (this was not a gadget) although Microsoft might have think so, might be the stupid "reason" why it was removed.

    Long live Windows 7!
  • Marco925
    why not just kill the whole brand name and call it microsoft tiles? since they seem to have killed the windows part of windows
  • drwho1
    boiler1990Why would you want gadgets when Metro has live tiles?
    why would anyone want "metro"?
  • daglesj
    It's just another way to reduce the functionality of the 'legacy' Desktop so folks move to living 100% in Metro land.

  • eddieroolz
    Well Live Tiles are kind of like Gadgets, but for a company that screams "DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS!" it doesn't seem wise to ditch the hard work your developers have created over the last 5 years.
  • SmileyTPB1
    Just more proof that MS has decided that the customers needs to be pushed in a new direction even though the customer feedback on the new direction "No, we don't like that.".
  • danwat1234
    Any hacks yet to disable metro on the latest beta?
  • CaedenV
    Only gadget I use is the weather, and I have a few instances open for where I and my family live. Metro Weather is a good replacement for this, the other gadgets I have tried over the years were never used longer than a week with the exception of the EVE Online gadget that let me know how my character was progressing.

    All told Gadgets were a poor copy of Widgets, but they felt they needed to compete with apple even though hardly any apple users use widgets to begin with.
  • dulwichdik
    I have a shut-down gadget on the desktop on win 8, as far as I know it is just a collection of command line scripts to execute the different options, does this still run on the sidebar exe route? I choose hibernate so on reboot I am straight back onto the desktop.