Is Microsoft restoring Windows 7 Gadgets feature in Windows 11?

Martin Brinkmann
May 8, 2023
Windows 11 News

Microsoft introduced support for gadgets, small apps that ran directly on the desktop, in Windows Vista. Gadgets were limited to a sidebar in Windows Vista and unlocked in Windows 7, so that users could place them everywhere on the desktop.

Microsoft did retire gadgets in Windows 8, stating that they were security risks. A report by Windows Central suggests that Microsoft is working on bringing the prime Windows 7 gadgets functionality back in some way.

Windows 11 features a Widgets panel that users may activate to display news, weather information, stock market news, sports scores and now also third-party widgets. All widgets are limited to a place in the widgets panel currently, but this could change soon.

According to Windows Central, Microsoft considers adding an option to Windows 11's Widgets feature to pin widgets to the desktop. Users would be able to pin their favorite widgets to the desktop, so that they are displayed all the time on the desktop. Widgets pinned this way may be placed everywhere on the desktop according to the report.

Microsoft hopes, according to Windows Central, that the new option to pin widgets improves the engagement with widgets.

Microsoft has not confirmed the feature nor has it been introduced in any of the Insider builds that are available currently. The change could improve the visibility of Widgets, considering that information is then displayed on the desktop, which removes the need to activate the Widgets panel.

Gadgets were popular on Windows 7 especially. Gadgets would display hardware information, music player controls, photos, and other bits on the desktop directly.

It would be ironic if Microsoft would launch the feature in the near future and remove the entire Widgets interface again in Windows 12 or another upcoming version of Windows 11.

Closing Words

Widgets is a controversial feature in Windows 11. Some users like it, especially the weather information on the taskbar, others have no use for it. The icon can be removed easily from the Windows 11 taskbar.

The change has not been confirmed yet by Microsoft and needs to be considered a rumor for now. It would make sense though to improve the functionality of Widgets further and fits right into other Widgets changes that Microsoft is testing or has introduced already.

Now You: do you use Widgets? What is your take on the desktop pinning feature?

Is Microsoft restoring Windows 7 Gadgets feature in Windows 11?
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Is Microsoft restoring Windows 7 Gadgets feature in Windows 11?
Microsoft could re-introduce a popular Windows 7 feature in its Windows 11 operating system soon.
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  1. dd said on May 10, 2023 at 10:51 am

    Round and round we go…

  2. basingstoke said on May 9, 2023 at 11:27 am

    Widgets are weird – they’re fine, but i’d just rather have it as a normal program window – i’m going for a “clean desktop” look, and they clash with that idea. Things can either be “pinned on top” if necessary, or they can live in the tray, or I can map a hotkey to get to them. Desktop widgets are meh.

  3. François said on May 9, 2023 at 10:56 am

    8gadgetpack works wenn on W11.

    1. Brightspark said on May 12, 2023 at 3:02 pm

      Agreed. I have 8gadgetpack installed on both my machines. Wouldn’t be without it. NOTE: Windows Updates will often break 8gadgetpack but a simple “repair” quickly restores it.

  4. CloseAI said on May 8, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    Unfortunately, these widgets are nothing more than MSN advertising. There are no widgets that anyone would be interested in using. Furthermore, they use awful webview2 technology that allows them to easily spy on and track you.

    1. Kirk said on May 9, 2023 at 6:09 am

      MSN has delineated back to a worse site. I remember when it had a decent home page, no social media esque likes on stories and such. It was also the time when Bing News (as then called) on Windows Phone was a great news app. More than half a decade later, the apps and sites are both worse off than before.

  5. VioletMoon said on May 8, 2023 at 4:03 pm

    Other users don’t even know what is being discussed and miss the benefits of widgets:

    Disable all is possible.

    1. John G. said on May 8, 2023 at 9:52 pm

      The worst of widgets is the absolute nonsense of the news feeds that no human being is able to block. I tried everything as I could do however it always appeared some new weird feed again! :[

    2. Arne Anka said on May 8, 2023 at 6:51 pm
  6. Tachy said on May 8, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    Yes, I have the same 3 widgets on the 2nd monitor I have had since windows 7, on windows 10.

    No interference from is M$ needed.

    The only reason M$ would support widgets is to use them to deliver advertising.

  7. John said on May 8, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    I do think Microsoft has run out of ideals and are just recycling old ones that failed before.

    1. Kirk said on May 9, 2023 at 6:10 am

      M$ is now taking cues from KDE Plasma as to how to make a good Windows desktop :p.

    2. John G. said on May 8, 2023 at 2:59 pm

      Or they have discovered that doing bull**** like W11 is no good for the people.

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