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Using the Desktop Gadget Gallery

Get the most out of Windows 7 with these handy programs

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, feed online data directly to your desktop and more. Here are some of the things you can do with the Windows gadgets that we cover in this article:

  • Work with images: Slide Show is a continuous slide show of the photos in your Pictures folder.
  • Stay on time: The Clock gadget displays the time using an old style wall clock and allows you to make changes to your time zone.
  • 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.

Open the Gadget Gallery and Add Gadgets to the Desktop

1. Right-click the desktop and choose Gadgets to open the Gadget Gallery window.


2. Click on any gadget and drag it to the desktop.

Three middle-aged African women looking at laptop

Blend Images/Getty Images

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. If you want to send a gadget away, just place your mouse 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.

Check the Time

1. To display a clock on your desktop, right-click the desktop and choose Gadgets.

2. In the Gadget Gallery that appears, click on the clock and drag it to the desktop.

3. To make changes to the clock style or to change the time zone, place your mouse over the clock and click the settings button (it sports a little wrench symbol).

4. In the resulting Clock dialog box, click the Next or Previous button to move through the various available clock styles.


5. If you wish, you can enter a name for the clock in the Clock Name field. To change the time zone, click the arrow in the Time Zone field and choose your local time.

6. Click OK to save the clock settings.

Display a Continuous Slide Show

1. You can display a continuous slide show of the pictures in your Pictures folder to keep you entertained as you work or play on your computer. Add the Slide Show gadget to the desktop (see the earlier task "Open the Gadget Gallery and Add Gadgets to the Desktop").

2. Move your mouse over the Slide Show gadget and use the tools along the bottom of the slide show to do the following:

  • Click the View button to display the current slide in Windows Photo Viewer.
  • Click Pause to stop the slide show at the current slide.
  • Click Previous to go to the previous slide.
  • Click Next to go to the next slide.

3. The Slide Show gadget uses the Sample Pictures folder contents by default. Click the Settings button. In the resulting Slide Show dialog box, change the picture folders to include in the slide show, modify the number of seconds to display each slide or add a transition effect to use between slides.


4. Click OK to close the dialog box.

Use the Feed Headlines Gadget

1. If you like to read the latest headlines (this requires an Internet connection), add a news feed to your desktop. First, add the Feed Headlines gadget to the desktop. (See the earlier task "Open the Gadget Gallery and Add Gadgets to the Desktop.")

2. Click the Feed Viewer window to connect to the default RSS feed.

3. At the website that appears, you can view blog entries, submit an entry or subscribe to additional feeds.

4. Click the Settings button. In the resulting Feed Headlines dialog box, select the default feed.

5. Click OK to close the dialog box.

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