Windows gadgets were first introduced in Windows 7 and with proper settings/arrangement they can be a great addition to your desktop. It is possible to combine informativeness you need, cool design, and low requirements for the system with those gadgets. Microsoft decided that this feature is not popular enough to be included in the Windows 10 package. However, it is still popular, and today we are going to tell you the best third-party programs for installing Windows 10 gadgets.

Almost all methods from this guide can be used not only on Windows 10 but also for previous versions as well starting from Windows 7. Keep in mind that if you have on old PC, some programs might not be very stable, thus won’t be able to display some information correctly. We recommend installing Windows gadgets software with the SmartScreen service deactivated. In order to deactivate it, you need to open Control Panel, click “System and Security,” then select “Security and Maintenance.”

Method #1: 8GadgetPack

The 8GadgetPack software package is probably the best tool for bringing Windows gadgets back into the game. It does not only enable the feature in your current operating system but also lets you install official widgets in the “.gadget” format. The software was introduced with the release of Windows 10, but today it is also compatible with Windows 10.

  • Download the 8GadgetPack installer from the official website. Run it and click “Install.”
8GadgetPack install
  • On the final stage of installation check the box “Show gadgets when setup exists” to run the service immediately after pressing the “Finish” button.
8GadgetPack Show gadgets when setup exists
  • After clicking “Finish,” a few standard widgets will appear on your desktop.
8GadgetPack standard widgets will appear on your desktop
  • To see all available options, you need to open the gallery: open a context menu on your desktop and select “Gadgets” from the list.
  • You will see multiple pages with elements. Each element can be activated by a simple double-click on it. This collection also contains all user’s gadgets in the “.gadget” format.
  • Every gadget on your desktop can be dragged to another free zone by holding left mouse button pressed on the specific area or object.

You can always open the settings of each particular widget and customize it as you wish. The number of settings available depends on the selected element. Deleting unwanted objects is simple – just press the closing button, and it will hide the object. Note: after reactivating, gadget’s settings are not restored to default.

Besides standard features, 8GadgetPack also offers a panel called “7 Sidebar.” This feature is based on the widget panel concept on Windows Vista. This panel allowed users to pin any active widget on it. After that, that widget cannot be moved to other areas on the desktop. The panel itself has a few settings. For example, you can change its position on the screen. You can close the “7 Sidebar” or open its settings menu with one right-click. After the sidebar deactivation, all widgets pinned earlier will remain on your desktop. All in all, it is a good solid piece of utility software in our books.  

8GadgetPack also offers a panel called “7 Sidebar.”

Method #2: Gadgets Revived

This is another viable option for decorating your Windows 10 desktop with useful gadgets. If you cannot install 8GadgetPack or it is not working as intended, this would be your best second choice. This is an alternative that provides a completely identical interface and functionality along with the “.gadget” format support.

  • Download and install the program.
  • When the installation is complete, you will see standard widgets on your desktop. If you had 8GadgetPack installed before, all its settings would be saved and applied automatically.
  • Right-click on your desktop and select “Gadgets” from the context menu.
  • You will see a full list of available gadgets. They can be added with a double-click or simple dragging beyond window borders.
Gadgets Revived
  • Other notable features of the software we explained in the previous section of this article.

By following our recommendations, you can easily add and customize any widget you like. Now let us take a break from standard widgets from Windows 7 and explore a new world of more advanced widgets that can be used on Windows 10 to your advantage.

Method #3: xWidget

In comparison with two previous options, these gadgets are more advanced (in terms of using and their design). This method offers better variability with the integrated editor and huge collection of widgets. The only downside of xWidget is an advertisement in the free version of the software.

  • Download and install xWidget. Run the app by double-clicking the icon that was created automatically during the installation.
  • When using the free version of the program, you need to wait for the “Continue FREE” button to unlock and click it.
Download and install xWidget
  • A few widgets from the standard set will appear on your desktop. Some elements such as the weather widget require an active Internet connection.
  • You can open a context menu by right-clicking any object on the screen. This way you can get to the widget’s settings and customize it as you wish or just delete it.
  • To open the main menu of the app, you need to click on the xWidget icon in the system tray on your taskbar.
  • If you select “Gallery,” you will be brought to the library with widgets.
xWidget library with widgets

Use the menu with multiple categories to make the widget searching process easier.

xWidget multiple categories

With the help of the search box, you can find any widget you need. After selecting the desired element, you can open its page with a short description and screenshots. Click “Download for FREE” to make the widget available for use on your computer. If you want to download more than one widget, you will be asked to sign up to download more. Your new widget will be active on the desktop.

xWidget Download for FREE widget

To add a new element from the local library, you need to click “Add widget” in the app’s menu. An additional panel with all available elements will appear at the bottom of the screen. You can activate any object with just one left click.

Besides all main functions of xWidget you can also use a widget editor tool. It is designed for customizing already existing elements or creating new unique ones. The tool has tons of various settings, and it is fully compatible with Windows 10. It won’t take much time to learn how to create or edit the gadgets. So why not to try?

Method #4: Missed Features Installer

Among all other options explained in the article, this method seems to be the least effective, but still, we think it deserves mention here. After installing this package, you will find a lot of missing features from earlier versions made their triumphal comeback. This includes fully functioning gadgets and also the ability to work with the “.gadget” format.

  • After downloading the file, you need to do everything the program says – select a folder and deactivate some system services.
  • Perform a reboot and wait for the app’s interface to appear and ask you what elements must be restored. The list of programs in the Missed Features package is colossal.
Missed Features Installer
  • In our case, you just need to select “Gadgets” and follow the standard instructions.
Missed Features Installer Gadgets
  • After the installation is complete, you can add gadgets through the context menu on your desktop (just like in Windows 7 or the first method explained in this guide).

Note: there is a slight chance that some components from this package won’t function as intended in updated versions of Windows 10. That is why we recommend our readers to use third-party programs that don’t mess with system files.

Final words

As for today, all methods for installing Windows gadgets on Windows 10 require third-party software. Maybe, in later updates (or versions), Microsoft will “resurrect” Windows gadgets. But for now, you should only use just one program from the list (instead of installing multiple) to minimize system load and assure stable operation of the application.