Xwidget is a lightweight desktop widget program for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 4, 2014

Microsoft introduced a sidebar for gadgets in the Windows Vista operating system, removed the sidebar restriction from it with the release of Windows 7, and pulled the whole thing with the release of Windows 8.

Windows users who want to display gadgets, or widgets as they are called this as well, need to use third-party solutions to do so.

One of the first that gets mentioned usually is Rainmeter, an excellent program offering many customization options.

Xwidget is another. It is a lightweight program for Windows that you can use to add widgets to your desktop.

The core program enables a clock, weather and photo viewer widget by default with options to add or remove widgets from that initial selection with just a few clicks.

The set of widgets that it makes available by default consists of 14 widgets that are designed in a similar fashion. Among them a search, RSS and notes widget that can be added with a couple of clicks to the desktop.

What makes Xwidget interesting is the sheer number of additional widgets that you can download and install for it.

You can open the gallery right from your desktop or by visiting the official website where it is also available. Here you find hundreds of additional widgets that offer similar or new features.

Featured widgets are loaded by default but you can switch the display to latest widgets instead. Each widget is displayed with a thumbnail image of how it looks on the desktop and its name.

A click on it opens its profile page that lists the features that it makes available, additional screenshots, and a download option.

Widgets are downloaded directly from within the gallery if you have launched it on the desktop which is comfortable. Each widget downloaded this way is displayed directly on the screen so that you can move it around and configure it to your liking.

As far as configurations are concerned, it is always possible to modify a set of default settings such as the position and size of the window, the opacity of it or its state.

Depending on the widget, it may also be possible to change other features. You can change the weather widget's location and measurement unit for example on top of that.

It is furthermore possible to load widgets in a design editor to modify nearly every aspect of it in detail.

As soon as you close the gallery viewer, you will notice that the memory consumption of the widget engine is less than 2 Megabyte. It will rise if you add widgets to the desktop but this may increase memory by a Megabyte or two at the most.


Xwidget is a useful program for Windows users who like to display widgets on their desktop. The number of widgets the program makes available is excellent, as is the low memory use while it is running.

Some things could be better though. Number one on my list is the missing gadget search feature. You cannot search for specific gadgets nor filter them by parameters such as color or shape.

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  1. Blue said on September 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    To disable Chrome from checking and blocking potentially dangerous malware go to Settings>Show Advanced Settings>Privacy> uncheck “enable Phishing and Malware protection”. Basically it is a general malware type scanner, that has a very limited view on what it deems to be malware. I’ve had it flag legit program as malware. It doesn’t detect malware in the installation file, it matches according to really lame criteria like file name, site, size, etc… Best protection is your own virus scanner and malware protection (CCleaner or Malwarebytes) than relying on the built-in Chrome version. For me it keeps flagging the Bitcomet online beta installer file.

  2. Bob Sireno said on September 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Gadgets in Vista and Windows 7 were given Administrator rights, which later turned out to not be a good idea. In 2012 MS released Fixit 50906 to disables gadgets so no third party gadget could be a conduit for malware, or in MS speak “remote code execution”. Anyone running Vista or Win 7 should consider running the Fixit. Here’s the MS website with information and the Fixit download. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2719662

  3. sherp said on September 4, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I just needed All CPU meter and GPU Meter on Windows 8.1 so I went with 8GadgetPack. Those are the only two I use.

  4. InterestedBystander said on September 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    There may be some backstory here. Some users who downloaded Xwidget from CNET apparently got burned by a PUP that CNET bundled with the download. HerdProtect.com noted that xwidget.exe “Uses the InstallMonetizer distribution platform to bundle adware” in a scan dated 2/8/2014. However, a scan of xwidget_setup.exe by the same site (on 2/21/2014) came up inconclusive — FProt reported “W32/FakeInstall.A.gen” but other scans apparently came up clean.

    The setup file I found is currently hosted on OneDrive, which seems a little unusual.

    It would be interesting to know what paths the developer has followed over the program’s history.

  5. InterestedBystander said on September 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Yes, Chrome throws up a “malicious software” warning. Firefox allows the download, and Kaspersky antivirus finds no threats in xwidget_setup.exe. Nonetheless, given the warnings and Peter’s note, above, I think I’ll pass on this toy. Deleted.

    1. ilev said on September 5, 2014 at 7:32 am

      You can open the download folder and force Chrome to download the file.

    2. IowaMan said on September 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Got the same result with both Chrome and IE
      Seems that Firefox doesn’t mind downloading it at all (no surprise there, I guess)
      You’re right – delete & pass for now, but it did seem really interesting to check out.

      1. Croatoan said on September 4, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        VirusTotal.com results http://tinyurl.com/ok52yly (Google has integrated this in Chrome) and because of 2/53 Chrome blocks download. It’s always possible to have false positive with antivirus heuristics ;) You can always give Firefox an download scan with addon :)

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on September 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Well Chrome does that for other legitimate files as well. When It first launched, it flagged utorrent.exe as malicious for instance.

  6. Peter said on September 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    This had got to be the most difficult thing to figure out how to use that I have ever experienced. The forum is useless. Instructions to get the various and different widgets installed onto the desktop are non-existent. MISERABLE FAIL.

  7. Dwight Stegall said on September 4, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Chrome blocked me from downloading that.


    Xwindows dock is bad too.

  8. piyush said on September 4, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Please write an article on firemin(http://www.rizonesoft.com/firemin/).It seems like doing what it say reducing firefox memory usage significantly and have very good ratings(http://download.cnet.com/Firemin/3000-18512_4-75454011.html) .But cannot find the logic behind it.

    1. Croatoan said on September 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      Why so obsessed with memory usage. Unused RAM usage is bad RAM usage. Programs like this move some part of program memory from RAM to pagefile which is slooower than RAM.

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