Windows Server 2008 R2 and Desktop Gadgets

Running Windows Server 2008 R2 as a desktop OS does have it’s advantages. As a tester, Hyper V is key to my daily work. I love desktop gadgets though and have written some custom ones that really help me throughout the day. Gadgets aren’t available by default though, but they seem to work with a little effort. I should point out that I’m not on the Windows team, so I’m just an average user. Don’t take this as an official recommendation. I also didn’t invent this process. It’s cobbled together from posts here, here and here.

  1. Find a Windows 7 machine that matches your 2008 architecture. For me, that was 64 bit.
  2. Copy from Windows 7 C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar to the same location on your 2008 machine. The rest of the steps all happen from your 2008 machine.
  3. From an elevated command prompt in the “C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar” folder, run the following:
  4. regsvr32 atl.dll
    regsvr32 sbdrop.dll
    regsvr32 wlsrvc.dll
    sidebar.exe /RegServer

  5. Paste the following text into Notepad and save it as a .reg file. This will add necessary registry keys for sidebar.exe and also add a “Gadgets” entry to the context menu on your desktop.
  6. Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    "Icon"="C:\\Program Files\\Windows Sidebar\\sidebar.exe,-100"
    @="C:\\Program Files\\Windows Sidebar\\sidebar.exe /showGadgets"

  7. You should now be able to right click on your desktop and choose Gadgets to start adding gadgets. Installation happens the same way as your Windows 7 machine. You download a .gadget file and then double click it to install it. Note that the Windows Live Gallery is gone now so you’ll have to find your gadgets elsewhere. There are some good ones at or you can find one of my personal gadgets at under the Windows 7 section.
Comments (13)

  1. Anonymous says:

    nice info! thank you

  2. Anonymous says:


    Great ! Great ! Great ! yes you are !

  3. Anonymous says:

    Awesome work! This is great.

  4. Anonymous says:

    worked for me in windows 8 also !!!

  5. Anonymous says:


    worked on 2008 r2

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very, very, very good! Thank you very much! =)

  7. Anonymous says:

    my folder does not have the following

    regsvr32 atl.dll

    regsvr32 sbdrop.dll

    regsvr32 wlsrvc.dll

    sidebar.exe /RegServer

    what do I do now?

  8. Anonymous says:

    works like a charm on 2012 R2!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Works on Windows Home Server 2011 too!

  10. Anonymous says:

    this works – thank's bro

  11. Anonymous says:

    Excelente! Funciona perfectamente! Muchas Gracias! Saludos!!

    Excellent! It works perfectly! Thank you Very Much! Greetings!!

  12. Aleonymous says:

    Worked fine for me as well. Thanks! 🙂

  13. my folder does not have the following

    regsvr32 atl.dll

    regsvr32 sbdrop.dll

    regsvr32 wlsrvc.dll

    sidebar.exe /RegServer

    what do I do now?

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