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10 plus must have Windows 7 Desktop Gadgets

Desktop Gadgets in Microsoft Windows 7 are more sophisticated and more useful than in previous versions of the operating system. Here are 10+ gadgets that should be in your desktop management portfolio.
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By Mark Kaelin on
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Desktop Gadgets in Microsoft Windows 7 are more sophisticated and more useful than in previous versions of the operating system. Here are 10+ gadgets that should be in your desktop management portfolio.
Note: Earlier Deb Shinder gave us her Top 10 Windows 7 desktop gadgets and while there are some similarities between our lists, there are also some significant differences.
To get to the Windows Desktop Gadgets installation application, search Gadgets in the Start menu search box. You will be presented with a list of gadgets already installed onto your system. Click the details button to reveal more information about each gadget.
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You can get additional information by clicking the details button.
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One of the first gadgets everyone seems to try is the CPU monitor that ships with Windows.
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This CPU monitor uses a speedometer metaphor.
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There is a better CPU monitor available from the Microsoft Windows Gadget Downloads Website.
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CPU activity is displayed in a line graph.
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Slideshows of your favorite photos is always popular and so, of course, there is a gadget for that.
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One of the nice features of many Windows 7 gadgets is the way they can be displayed in two sizes - thumbnail and something more than thumbnail size but less than screen size.
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With the slide show gadget and most of the other gadgets in this gallery, you can make adjustments to the configuration and behavior of the gadget using the tools and settings screen associated with each one.
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If there is on thing proven over and over again it is that people love puzzles. Can you reconstruct the photo by sliding the blocks around?
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You can always choose a different image.
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There are several weather gadgets available, but they all do essentially the same thing - give you brief look at current conditions and a brief forecast for the next 12 hours of so.
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There are several social media themed gadgets available for download, but I like Twitter Explorer. You can view your Twitter feed in a thin mode.
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You can also view your Twitter feed in a slightly larger view. There are also gadgets for keeping up to date with Facebook, eBay auctions, and Amazon deals.
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If you often find yourself watching television shows via the Internet, the Media Player desktop gadget should prove invaluable.
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Hey look, its a bunch of CBS shows available for free on the Internet. What are the odds?
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All of the gadgets in this gallery came from the Microsoft Windows Gadgets Website. There are hundreds of gadgets to choose from and they have user ratings and comments so you can find the best ones.
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For a quick map of an area and a check of traffic problems you can use this Bing Maps gadget.
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There is one caveat to consider - many of these Windows Desktop Gadgets are developed by third parties and carry this rather dire warning when you try to install them. I have yet to run into a problem, but you should always be wary. A translator would be nice, but do I trust the parties involved.
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This desktop gadget has been around for a long time. Type in a search term, choose your engine, and away you go.
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TechRepublic's Windows guru Greg Shultz has programed several desktop gadgets that perform tasks important to network administrators. For example, the ipconfig gadget.
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All of Greg's gadgets expand when clicked to give users access to the various parameters associated with the function in question. Here you can set parameters for the ipconfig command.
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Provide a ping IP address.
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Netstat parameters.
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Greg's last gadget - ARP.
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Greg's gadgets poised and waiting for a click.
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There are several gadgets designed to interface with iTune, but this one is the one I like. You can play music from your iTunes library without having to keep iTunes open.
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One of the more geek-friendly gadgets is NASA TV - where you can see all of the television NASA streams during a day.
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Windows 7 gadgets can be docked anywhere on the desktop which can get a bit cluttered if you are not careful. But these gadgets can really come in handy it is nice to have them available when you need them.
Have you got a favorite gadget - one that you have come to depend on? Share it with us, we'd like to hear about it.
Images by Mark Kaelin for TechRepublic.

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