Introduced in Windows Vista, gadgets would display in a fixed sidebar initially that would provide users with information, entertainment and more.
You could use them to display weather information, photos, news, a clock, calendar, or system information.
Microsoft decided to retire gadgets and the sidebar in preparation of the launch of its Windows 8 operating system. Back then, Microsoft argued that gadgets were a security risk and had to go because of that. Users could still get them back in Windows 8 and even Windows 10, either as unofficial gadget packets of the official gadgets, or as third-party gadgets using tools like Rainmeter.
A development build of Windows 11 leaked this week, and with it came something that looked like gadgets functionality.
Windows Widgets, Microsoft dropped the gadgets name, will be part of the upcoming Windows 11 operating system, it appears. While things may change, considering that the leaked copy is a development build and not a final one, widgets will most likely be supported by Microsoft’s new operating system.
Support does not necessarily mean that you will be able to install third-party widgets. Twitter user WalkingCat suggests that widgets will be first-party only at first, but that this could change along the way.
We only know of the News and Interests widget right now. Launched in recent versions of Windows 10, it is now the first widget in Microsoft’s Windows 11 operating system. One small change is that it opens on the left and no longer on the right when activated.
Widgets are powered by Microsoft Edge’s WebView2, which apps and other components on the system may use as well. Security is no longer an issue because of that component (no more than for any application that uses it).
Microsoft could create a widgets category in the Store so that developers could publish them in the Store.
Widgets might even replace Live Tiles, a feature that Microsoft has disabled currently in Windows 11. Not all Live Tiles are useful, but some users may like some tiles, and these could be replaced by widgets and placed prominently on the desktop by the user to improve their visibility.
It is too early to tell what Windows Widgets mean for third-party solutions like Rainmeter. It seems unlikely that the introduction will have a big impact on these projects in the beginning.
Gadgets are making a comeback as widgets, at least for first-party widgets that Microsoft creates. There is a chance that third-parties may be allowed to create widgets for the operating system in the future.
Now You: what is your take on widgets? (via Deskmodder)