Is desktop gadget support gone in Windows 8?

The desktop gadget style of app for Windows, first introduced in Windows Vista, may be on the way out for Windows 8. Even though support for these kinds of programs was put into the Windows 8 Consumer and Release Preview builds, newly leaked information claims that the current, but unreleased, versions of Windows 8 have removed support for such programs.

Win8China.com reportedly got a hold of these unreleased Windows 8 builds and claims that support for desktop gadgets is no longer present in the build's control panel. The HTML-based desktop gadgets, sometimes referred to as widgets,  are also not supported in the desktop modes for Windows 8, according to the article.

It's possible that Microsoft sees desktop gadget support as being out of date. Certainly the use of the Metro UI and the Windows Store in Windows 8 could deliver the kinds of small programs that have been available for the desktop gadget developer and user. However, it is odd that Microsoft chose to remove desktop support in Windows 8 now, rather than do it earlier with the launch of the Consumer and Preview editions of the OS.

We have contacted Microsoft to see if they can comment publicly on this report.

Via: The Verge
Source: Win8China | Image via Win8China

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If is gadget out of date what about these right click menus? They still look like Windows 95 ugly grey with line separations and 16px 100 years old icons. That is so up to date. lol

My PC was fast enough, I used as many as I could: PC monitor, Weather&Currency (a two good ones for me) post-its, news feeds, some gadgets that display the latest content on some of my favorite websites (like heads up) etc... they were a lot of fun. Sad to see'em go

Vasya_Vodochkin said,
Wait. Is this a start button? So I don't need to use Win key to get to that nasty start screen?

Its just a 3rd party program, and you can go to the start screen by clicking the lower left corner, it's not that hard to do that...

There goes my calculatorium/ declans japanese word of the day/gpu monitoring/network monitoring... the first two are actually the ones that worry me most.

Arceles said,
There goes my calculatorium/ declans japanese word of the day/gpu monitoring/network monitoring... the first two are actually the ones that worry me most.

The gadgets code is standalone. I'm pretty sure that the requisite DLLs and EXE can be copied from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

excalpius said,

The gadgets code is standalone. I'm pretty sure that the requisite DLLs and EXE can be copied from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

Will have to try this I really do like my gadgets.

The problem is the Resources they consumed and lack of UI consistency, which also has been a problem with other forms of RIA technologies.

Win7 was to have XAML based Gadgets, but the progress of HTML5 left this untouched, with plans to have a unified implementation in Win8.

Win8 does provide the unification, but instead of using desktop space, puts them in the Start Menu.

This was talked about last fall by Microsoft on several occasions, I couldn't find the exact talk/blog/article that I first read that Live Tiles were replacing Gadgets, but I do remember Microsoft turning off the 'Gallery' for Gadgets around this time frame even for Windows 7 users to obtain new Gadgets. (This was to shove Gadget developers to move to Live Tile versions.)

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/arc...-draining-your-battery.aspx

The Gadgets concept goes back to Win95 w/IE4 and NT 4.0 w/IE4 and a new shell feature called Active Desktop. It allowed for realtime/scheduled updates of HTML content on the desktop. (Long before people think Apple invented it, after buying their technology from other companies.)

The problem with it back then was a consistent UI and security. Vista addressed the Security issue, but at the cost of the sandbox overhead of the Gadgets, but it did not address the UI inconsistency, and some Gadgets were just horrid to use.

Windows 8 brings in the HTML Live content that Active Desktop first offered in 1996/1997, has a security/isolation layer on the content, and also introduces several UI consistencies for the content.

In a cool way, this is the original concepts introduced in Active Desktop 15 years ago actually coming to fruition and working well for users, with elegant realtime content from the web and locally.

thenetavenger said,

In a cool way, this is the original concepts introduced in Active Desktop 15 years ago actually coming to fruition and working well for users, with elegant realtime content from the web and locally.

Except its on a dedicated "desktop for retards" screen that none of us actually WORKING on our computers will be using, thank you very much.

I'm not wasting one of my 30" monitors just to show the three or four panels of information that are useful to see in real-time because the new Start screen can't be designed with a transparent background, or to only show a 4x4 matrix, etc. etc.

Rainmeter has all the options I need to cover these bases WITHOUT costing me an entire monitor to do it.

I look at this in two ways

1. Yet another feature of Windows that I use and like that is being either sidelined or removed

2. MS Finally doing what they should have done long before and streamlining the core of Windows and getting rid of some of the excess.

Fact remains though that for the first time since Windows 95 I don't think I'll be an early adopter of a Windows release. Barring ME, I've had the latest Windows desktop OS on my machine no later than the day of release.

Slugsie said,
I look at this in two ways

1. Yet another feature of Windows that I use and like that is being either sidelined or removed

2. MS Finally doing what they should have done long before and streamlining the core of Windows and getting rid of some of the excess.

Fact remains though that for the first time since Windows 95 I don't think I'll be an early adopter of a Windows release. Barring ME, I've had the latest Windows desktop OS on my machine no later than the day of release.

You are cheating yourself.

I have at times, went 'no don't change that' and 'really' at the Windows 8 decisions. However, after using them and understanding the usability and technical implications, I end up changing my mind and feeling silly for doubting the decisions.

This is when I remind myself that Microsoft is group of really bright people that actual do understand this stuff better than people seem to think they do.

I bet you will find yourself going, oh, I like this, and now I get it, far more than you would like to admit now.

(Just think of the Start Menu in Windows 8 as a bigger Start Menu from Windows 7, the same functionality, and Live content in the pinned tiles that combines in what the desktop gadgets use to provide. In fact going back to Win95 with IE4 or Win98, this is the merging of a 'good' Active Desktop concept and all the search and Start Menu innovations from then through Vista and Win7.)

That's unfortunate, because there are a few gadget I use that are very useful because of their instant readability, and small size that can have them open all the time.
TV Monitor - to look at upcoming TV shows I want to watch
and my Internet Usage monitor.
I don't want to load an app just to see how much data I have left vs time.
Sigh.

cleverclogs said,
That's unfortunate, because there are a few gadget I use that are very useful because of their instant readability, and small size that can have them open all the time.
TV Monitor - to look at upcoming TV shows I want to watch
and my Internet Usage monitor.
I don't want to load an app just to see how much data I have left vs time.
Sigh.

Live Tiles will replace this. For instance, for Internet Usage, I've seen Live Tiles for this in WP8.

You don't have to load an app just to get this information.

rfirth said,

Live Tiles will replace this. For instance, for Internet Usage, I've seen Live Tiles for this in WP8. You don't have to load an app just to get this information.

But you do have to leave the desktop to go back to the start screen just to see them.

Which defeats the entire purpose of having that real-time data visible WHILE YOU WORK.

excalpius said,

But you do have to leave the desktop to go back to the start screen just to see them.

Which defeats the entire purpose of having that real-time data visible WHILE YOU WORK.

do you see trough your windows??

oliver182 said,

do you see trough your windows??

No, because on the desktop I can have multiple screens side by side. I love a few of the gadgets, sorry to see them go. I mean, they really are just 'Metro' apps anyway. Its silly to make us (again) use the less dense Start screen to get 'at a glance' info.

Its unacceptable that MS does this before enabling Metro apps in the desktop.

TsarNikky said,
Another instance of Windows-8 not being desktop/laptop friendly.
How does that make it less laptop/desktop friendly? Specifically for laptops, it removes a service that would otherwise drain battery power.

TsarNikky said,
Another instance of Windows-8 not being desktop/laptop friendly.

I can use it perfectly well on my desktop thanks.

TsarNikky said,
Another instance of Windows-8 not being desktop/laptop friendly.

Really? How does moving the concept to a 'uniform' UI concept on the Start Menu have anything to do with Desktop/Laptop users? Is your keyboard/mouse broken?

Cause you can use your keyboard or mouse on the start menu just fine...

ArialBlue said,
Oh those things.
It is called CTRL-SHIFT-ESC now.

Are you referring to Task Manager? If so, I think that change happened in Vista.

ArialBlue said,
Oh those things.
It is called CTRL-SHIFT-ESC now.

Indeed. Go to the performance tab, and double click The CPU / Memory / Disk / Network column, and it presents you a very nice looking gadget.

Ok, I'm so confused. Why is nobody noticing the start button is back??

I'm sure it just goes to the Start Screen... but it's back. There hasn't been an actual button there since the Developer Preview.

scotters83 said,
Ok, I'm so confused. Why is nobody noticing the start button is back??

I'm sure it just goes to the Start Screen... but it's back. There hasn't been an actual button there since the Developer Preview.

There isn't a start button. The start button in that screenshot and also the open context menu, have been added by third-party Chinese applications.

scotters83 said,
Ok, I'm so confused. Why is nobody noticing the start button is back??

I'm sure it just goes to the Start Screen... but it's back. There hasn't been an actual button there since the Developer Preview.

I know. I made the same mistake. It's not back... that's just something a customization program added.

duddit2 said,
Always seemed a resource hog to be honest, nice looking but overkill

True, and the irony is they were designed to be lighter than the previous 'Active Desktop', but the sandbox and overhead negated any improvements. However they are far more secure.

I rather liked having the weather/currency gadgets at work, and internet usage/indexer status at home... Oh well

Raa said,
I rather liked having the weather/currency gadgets at work, and internet usage/indexer status at home... Oh well

Live Tiles

hagjohn said,
Um... Isn't that what the metro tiles are for?

Yep.. So instead of the desktop, they are in the Start Menu. Works better for a lot of reasons.

thenetavenger said,

Yep.. So instead of the desktop, they are in the Start Menu. Works better for a lot of reasons.

Unless you want to actually see the realtime data when you are, say, actually USING your computer?

Riiiight.

hagjohn said,
Um... Isn't that what the metro tiles are for?

Although not quite the same, live tiles are apps. If you have say for example, a system monitor app, you would be able to run the live tile app and dock it to the side of a screen so you could see the info all the time.

excalpius said,

Unless you want to actually see the realtime data when you are, say, actually USING your computer?

Riiiight.

How wiould I see anythign on my desktop through my full screen browser, email, Photoshop, 3DSMAX, mIRC, Games.... explorer, live messenger notepad ventrilo, and such apps are not what I define as "using" my computer, and they're the only ones not full screen, whatever apps I use when I actually USE it are pretty much always full screen, or full screen in effect (two snapped explorer windows)

excalpius said,

Unless you want to actually see the realtime data when you are, say, actually USING your computer?

Riiiight.

Well to see that you would have to minimize all you running applications, or use aero peek, it's not that different just bring the start screen for a moment to view all live info..

Win 8 is looking more and more like a fresh start. MS seems to be cleaning up/getting rid of tons of stuff that was seldom used.
Me likey.

Meh. I never use them in Windows 7, in fact I uninstalled the gadget engine / sidebar so this is one of the omissions that I'm not going to miss.

Yeah not really sure why this is news since they dropped most of them and access to the whole live gadget gallery for Windows 7 even..

xendrome said,
Yeah not really sure why this is news since they dropped most of them and access to the whole live gadget gallery for Windows 7 even..

Yep, agreed.

Considering that they are no longer offering uploads of new gadgets or downloads of many gadgets, this seems logical.

i actually went out of my way to disable gadget in the control panel , the first time i installed RP.

Wait, has the Charms bar been removed and replaced with a new Start button (that I assume goes into the Metro tiles/start screen?)

Been out of the loop on W8.. still have the RP sitting on an external

Spartan Erik said,
Wait, has the Charms bar been removed and replaced with a new Start button (that I assume goes into the Metro tiles/start screen?)

Been out of the loop on W8.. still have the RP sitting on an external


No.

Spartan Erik said,

Wait, has the Charms bar been removed and replaced with a new Start
button (that I assume goes into the Metro tiles/start screen?)

Been out of the loop on W8.. still have the RP sitting on an external

Jan said,


No.


I would assume that Start button in the tradition location on the taskbar shown in
that screengrab would be from one of the 3rd party add-ons that restores the
standard classic Start button and/or Start menu, like Classic Shell.

If Microsoft actually did a major u-turn and brought back the Start button/menu
in Windows 8, it'd be front page news on this site, and other tech news sites.
Which is extremely unlikely if not impossible at this late stage.

DJGM said,

I would assume that Start button in the tradition location on the taskbar shown in
that screengrab would be from one of the 3rd party add-ons that restores the
standard classic Start button and/or Start menu, like Classic Shell.

If Microsoft actually did a major u-turn and brought back the Start button/menu
in Windows 8, it'd be front page news on this site, and other tech news sites.
Which is extremely unlikely if not impossible at this late stage.

I would be curious to know which one that is.... I wouldn't think its that likely that people who get ahold of the beta would go to the trouble to put one of those hacks back on.

I actually could see ms making a U-turn on this.... that does look like the "new" start screen/button (and would give the perception that its taking you to metro not the orb like 7). Would be a less jarring way to introduce the hot corners and would remedy those old people can't use windows videos because there is no start button anymore when win8 first hit.

jagowar said,

I would be curious to know which one that is.... I wouldn't think its that likely that people who get ahold of the beta would go to the trouble to put one of those hacks back on.

I actually could see ms making a U-turn on this.... that does look like the "new" start screen/button (and would give the perception that its taking you to metro not the orb like 7). Would be a less jarring way to introduce the hot corners and would remedy those old people can't use windows videos because there is no start button anymore when win8 first hit.

Agreed, I have my taskbar docked to the right of the screen for optimal use of widescreen screen space, and I'm thinking using the Charms bar may be awkward to use depending on how it overlaps, etc.

jagowar said,

I would be curious to know which one that is.... I wouldn't think its that
likely that people who get ahold of the beta would go to the trouble
to put one of those hacks back on.


It's no trouble at all. Classic Shell isn't a hack, it's an add-on. One that I've used on
the Consumer Preview (Beta) and now also on the Release Preview (not a beta).

DJGM said,

It's no trouble at all. Classic Shell isn't a hack, it's an add-on. One that I've used on
the Consumer Preview (Beta) and now also on the Release Preview (not a beta).

I was more asking about one that would specifically mimick the metro start button... I have not seen one that has the gray background and new windows logo like this (but will admit I don't follow the start button replacement options of late). I was asking if one of them had been updated to the metro look and feel that I had not seen. If there isn't one then it would be even more likely a start button could be coming back.

jagowar said,

I would be curious to know which one that is.... I wouldn't think its that likely that people who get ahold of the beta would go to the trouble to put one of those hacks back on.

I actually could see ms making a U-turn on this.... that does look like the "new" start screen/button (and would give the perception that its taking you to metro not the orb like 7). Would be a less jarring way to introduce the hot corners and would remedy those old people can't use windows videos because there is no start button anymore when win8 first hit.


The start button the person who took this article's screenshots has is ViStart with the Metro UI theme. I know, because I use that.

I think they announced a while back that they were dropping gadget support I was actually a little surprised when I saw they still worked in the RP.

At any rate, they closed down the actually gallery download site for the gadgets last October, so it was inevitable for them to dissapear.

Edited by ~Johnny, Jul 5 2012, 11:06pm :

~Johnny said,
I think they announced a while back that they were dropping gadget support I was actually a little surprised when I saw they still worked in the RP.

At any rate, they closed down the actually gallery download site for the gadgets last October, so it was inevitable for them to dissapear.

Ya like Oct/Sept of last year. When Microsoft was talking about Tile development in November, they already were including information for developers to migrate from gadgets to use Live Tiles on the Start Menu instead.

~Johnny said,
I think they announced a while back that they were dropping gadget support I was actually a little surprised when I saw they still worked in the RP.

At any rate, they closed down the actually gallery download site for the gadgets last October, so it was inevitable for them to dissapear.


Yep, AND they stopped allowing people to publish new Gadgets too... I thought this was common knowledge at this point.

techbeck said,
Read this earlier. Fine by me. I never used them myself.

I always liked having a RAM/CPU monitor in the corner, myself. Only thing I ever used it for.

THolman said,

I always liked having a RAM/CPU monitor in the corner, myself. Only thing I ever used it for.

I used to also, but it was not very useful.

[quote=THolman said,]

The problem is the RAM and CPU demands of even simple gadgets for real-time information consumed more than they ever helped, especially the various CPU/RAM monitors.

THolman said,

I always liked having a RAM/CPU monitor in the corner, myself. Only thing I ever used it for.


Yeah, that and weather was nice to have.

THolman said,

I always liked having a RAM/CPU monitor in the corner, myself. Only thing I ever used it for.

could you not just get a live tile to do that now anyways?

Lachlan said,

could you not just get a live tile to do that now anyways?

But then you'd have to bring the start screen up all the time (or have a second dedicated monitor for the start screen) to have that information available all the time. While some widgets (like weather) aren't useful to look at all the time, the reason some of us use desktop widgets (many types out there) is so we can see this information on our desktop as we are actually using our computers, etc.

As long as Rainmeter and Stardock's line of products will work on Windows 8, I don't really care just how much MS continues to retard what should have been their flagship OS month after month...

THolman said,

I always liked having a RAM/CPU monitor in the corner, myself. Only thing I ever used it for.


the only one I'm using is Currency, it would a bit suck having to open Metro app for this.