Microsoft has changed how gadgets work when it released the Windows 7 operating system.
Gadgets in Windows 7 can be moved freely around on the computer desktop unlike how they were initially implemented in Windows Vista where they were locked on a sidebar.
The following list contains email and notification gadgets for Windows 7 (or Windows Vista).
These gadgets display information and notifications about online services such as Facebook and Twitter or software programs like Outlook or Skype on the Windows desktop.
Some of them even come with additional functionality like being able to send status updates to the online service or chatting with friends right from the desktop without having to open the software program to do so.
Facebook Explorer is a popular gadget that can be used to read new messages that are posted by friends at the Facebook website. It is furthermore possible to set or delete the current status of the user's Facebook account from within the gadget. The gadget needs to be authorized before it can be used. This is done during setup where the gadget will display links to Facebook so that it can be authorized. A Facebook login is necessary for that authorization.
A gadget that displays Outlook information including incoming appointments and tasks, a search box to find contacts, incoming mails with options to reply, forward, delete, open or save attachments and more.
The Gmail Reader gadget will check a configured Gmail account for new emails regularly. It will display a summary of the latest 20 received emails and notify the user with a sound alert if new emails have arrived in the Gmail account.
The Twitter Explorer gadget will display the latest messages that the logged in Twitter user received with possibilities to reply immediately to those messages and to open links that have been posted in the messages. The gadget offers a search and filters to only display replies or mentions.
The Messenger Gadget displays Windows Live Messenger account information. It displays contact status information and allows the user to start chat session and update the status right from the Messenger gadget.
A handy gadget for users who use Pop3 email accounts informing the logged in user about new emails that arrived in the email accounts.
The Skype Gadget is a little informative gadget for the Skype voice over IP software. It displays the status of each contact in Skype with possibilities to immediately initiate a chat or call with the selected user. It is furthermore possible to dial any number in the gadget as well.
And that's it. These seven gadgets should come in handy for Windows 7 and Windows Vista users. Let us know in the comments if you use these or others in the supported operating systems. You can check out the Windows Live Gallery for thousands of additional gadgets for both Windows 7 and Vista.
Update: Microsoft has retired the Windows Live Gallery in preparation of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. You can read more about the topic here: Microsoft Retires Gadgets In Preparation Of Windows 8 Launch
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.