Why Friends Don’t Let Friends Run Windows: Bad Gadgets

The Token Windows box (which runs the few programs that don’t get along with Linux) doesn’t get a lot of attention, but a recent update changed their stylin’ graphic CPU meter to something a bit less, mmm, smooth:

Win 7 - CPU Meter
Win 7 – CPU Meter

Searching for the obvious keywords turned up an explanation from Microsoft:

Windows Gadgets Have Been Discontinued - detail
Windows Gadgets Have Been Discontinued – detail

It seems they simply pushed an update that killed Gadgets, without explanation or warning.

Who could have anticipated that allowing random strangers to run their code on a desktop PC would lead to security problems?

6 thoughts on “Why Friends Don’t Let Friends Run Windows: Bad Gadgets

  1. Strange. I still have gadgets working on the desktop beast. They came as part of the shovelware with the Dell installation of Win 7 Home Premium, but I only used the weather gadget for a while–kind of useless. I don’t pick up little stuff (barring stuff like Noscript and FireFTP), so haven’t run into problems–yet. Have to look at de-install/deactivate procedures for sidebar.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    1. still have gadgets working

      There’s apparently a complex interaction between the overall graphics scale factor, the gadget display, and maybe something else that I don’t understand well enough. The silent update may have killed the ability to install new gadgets from non-MS sources, but I have no idea.

      I’m resigned to eking out a miserable existence without the CPU/memory load meters…

      1. miserable existence without

        1) My irony detector is broken today, not sure if that was a grin or a sigh… [grin] If you need/want the load data, the Performance tab on Task Manager gives you a running graph, broken out by core. I usually leave TM on the Networking tab, but that’s due to being on the Information Fire Road. I still get nervous doing the 3 finger salute to get TM, but it’s not easy to get otherwise.

        2) Your first link gives the executive summary, but there’s a link for an explanation of the problem and a few ways to disable sidebar.exe. I’m sufficiently experienced paranoid to figure that some miscreant could do a drive-by install of a malware gadget, so I took the steps. I won’t trigger the spam filter, but a search for dn261332 will give you the article. I took the regedit option. The automagic fixit tool might do it more safely, but I’m more comfortable doing regedit than downloading programs of uncertain sizes.

        1. If you need/want the load data

          The Mersenne prime number cracker runs on one core, because that poor little box spends most of its time doing battery tests that occupy pretty nearly zero percent of its attention and it needs something to keep its hands busy. The CPU load meter reminded me that everything was humming along as intended; if it fell below 60%, the Mersenne cracker wasn’t running. If I weren’t tone deaf, I could just listen for the proper fan RPM.

          I figure just eliminating on-screen gadgets, plus not using that box for web browsing, stuffs the problem back where it came from.

        2. “…3 finger salute to get TM, but it’s not easy to get otherwise.”

          ctrl-shift-esc should work too, or right-click the taskbar and select task manager.

        3. “I still get nervous doing the 3 finger salute to get TM, but it’s not easy to get otherwise.”

          Right-clicking on the task bar gets me the option to start TM – is there a reason not to use that?

Comments are closed.