How do I use the Windows Vista Sidebar?

A. Vista has a new component, the Sidebar, which by default on a fresh installation has a clock, image slideshow, and news component displayed, as the figure shows. At the top of the sidebar (which is displayed on the right side of the screen) is the control that lets you add new sidebar gadgets. The main purpose of the Sidebar is to quickly help you perform common tasks and control information flow. The gadgets are designed to simply perform tasks or consolidate and summarize information.

If you add more gadgets than can be displayed in a single view, then the right and/or left arrows become enabled so you can scroll through the Sidebar's various views. Additionally, if you select a gadget, it's context menu is displayed and it lets you remove the gadget and in some cases it opens configuration options. Alternatively, you can right-click the gadget and select "Options" from the displayed context menu.

The bottom red box shows the Sidebar task bar icon. If the Sidebar is closed, you can reopen it by right-clicking the Sidebar task bar icon and selecting Open. If you right-click the Sidebar and select Properties, you can select options such as which side the Sidebar is displayed on, and if you're using multiple monitors, which monitor to display the Sidebar on. You can also configure whether the Sidebar should start at Windows startup. You can also find the Sidebar properties via the Control Panel's "Appearance and Personalization" area under "Windows Sidebar Properties."

You can drag gadgets off the Sidebar onto the main desktop. They will stay running even if the sidebar is minimized, but will close if you exit the Sidebar process. When dragged off the Sidebar, some gadgets display additional information or have a new appearance.

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