8 Great Gadgets for Vista

By Matthew Murray
May 2007
 
One of Vista's most useful additions is Windows Sidebar, which allows you to place small, simple programs (also known as Gadgets) in a highly visible place on your desktop. The default gadgets—for viewing an analog clock, RSS feeds, or pictures in any photo folder you choose—are nice, and Vista comes stocked with a number of other options, but you can find plenty more online. Here's a look at eight of the handier ones we found in Microsoft's Windows Vista Sidebar Gallery.
The Magic Folder: Any file you drag here will automatically be moved to a folder you've previously specified, depending on its extension. Great for managing all those photos and MP3s cluttering your desktop.
App Launcher: We love the Start bar's quick-launch toolbar, but this Sidebar variation is even more compact and convenient. Bonus: It can display lists of your Firefox bookmarks or Internet Explorer favorites.
Task Reminder: Don't have Outlook? Don't worry. This Gadget replicates its functionality by reminding you of any task you set at any time you choose. It even has the same snooze and dismiss features.
Battery Monitor: If you use Vista on a laptop, this might be one of the most important Gadgets available. A quick glance tells you just how much time you have left if you're running on a battery. Because the information is updated every 20 seconds, you'll always have the most accurate reading.
eBay Sidebar Tool 2.3: Addicted to the Web's most popular auction site? You'll love being able to track all your auctions at a glance and receive pop-up alerts when you're outbid, when an auction is ending, or when you have new feedback.
The Travel Wizard: Are you a frequent flier? If so, you'll appreciate this Gadget's ability to search multiple airline sites for bargains on airfares, hotels, and more.
Mini Outlook Inbox (and More): With this add-on, you don't need to have Outlook open to view your in-box messages. You can even write new e-mails, reply, delete, or forward.
Dictionary Gadget: Short and sweet: Just enter a word, and a definition appears.

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