Using Windows Gadgets - Retirement Net by Nancy Muir

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Using Windows Gadgets

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A world of cool features at your fingertips.

Posted November 8, 2010

Windows 7 has a feature called the Desktop Gadget gallery. The gallery contains little applications, called gadgets, that you can display as icons on the desktop. Using gadgets, you can quickly access various handy features to check the time, organize your schedule with a calendar, feed online data direct to your desktop, and more. Here are some of the things you can do with the Windows gadgets:

• Work with images. Slide Show displays a continuous slide show of the photos in your Pictures folder.

• Organize your time. The Calendar gadget displayed on your desktop helps you keep track of the days, weeks, and months. The Clock gadget displays the time using an old-style wall clock and allows you to make changes to your time zone.

• Play with a puzzle. A neat little Picture Puzzle allows you to play a game that’s so tiny, even your boss won’t notice you’re not actually working.

• Work with online data. The Feed Headlines gadget allows you to grab data from online RSS feeds (a format used for syndication of news and other content), such as the latest news or other useful information. Stocks and Currency Conversion gadgets provide up-to-the-minute data on stocks and currency values.

• Keep an eye on your system performance. The CPU Meter provides up-to-date information about your laptop processor speed and available memory.

To add new gadgets to your desktop, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose “Gadgets” to open the Gadget Gallery window.
  2. Click any gadget and drag it to the desktop.
  3. Click the Close button to close the Gadget Gallery.

Gadgets are hot, and people are creating more all the time. Click the “Get More Gadgets Online” link in the Gadget gallery to scope out the latest gadgets and then download them.

Finally, if you want to send a gadget away, just place your pointer over it and then click the “Close” button (marked with an X) that appears next to it. The gadget closes. Just follow the steps above to display it on the desktop again at any time.

Nancy Muir is the author of more than sixty books on technology topics. She was the original author of a series on technology for seniors including the titles Using the Internet Safely For Seniors For Dummies, Laptops For Seniors For Dummies, iPad For Seniors For Dummies, and Computers For Seniors For Dummies from Wiley Publishing. Nancy has taught technical writing and Internet safety at several universities, is the author of a highly regarded introduction to computers textbook used in community colleges, and has been a consultant to technology companies including Microsoft and Hewlett Packard. Her website,, helps people over 50 take advantage of all that computer technology has to offer.


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