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  • 18Jun

    One of the few tangible improvements Windows Vista made over its legendary predecessor Windows XP was the inclusion of customizable desktop gadgets that could do a variety of useful tasks, from displaying the date, time, and weather, serving as a personal organizer, or even providing some relief and distraction in the form of simple games. However, like most new features introduced for Windows Vista, the execution of this good idea has left much to be desired.

    Many Windows Vista users have been running into problems with their gadgets, with maladies ranging from calendars displaying nothing but a blank field to gadgets that simply freeze up and refuse to do nothing. Naturally, this has frustrated many a computer user who has come to rely on these programs for their everyday convenience. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get those pesky sidebar gadgets working again.

    Solution 1: Start Over With a Clean Slate

    One thing you could do is restore your gadgets to their original state. Fortunately, this doesn’t require anything as dramatic as a full hard drive reformat. All you need to do is access the Add or Remove Programs dialog in your system’s Control Panel folder. Somewhere on the right side of this window will be an option marked “Turn Windows Feature On or Off”. Click on this link to reveal a list of various Windows features. Uncheck the one marked “Windows Gadgets Platform”. Now exit back to the desktop and restart your PC. Once your PC has restarted, you’ll notice that the gadgets sidebar will be missing as a result of the change you made. Now open up the All or Remove Programs Window again in order to turn the Windows Gadget Platform back on. Hopefully, the act of turning the service off and then back on again will refresh it back to its original state.

    Solution 2: Registry Fix

    Your gadget’s troubles may also stem from a registry entry that might have been inadvertently corrupted. While this may sound rather intimidating to people unfamiliar with the inner workings of their computers, the fix is actually quite simple.

    First, turn off the sidebar process by accessing the Task Manager. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del, selecting the Task Manager option, then selecting the tab marked Processes. Find the sidebar.exe process and then end it.

    Next, click the Windows Start button and type in the word ‘regedit’ into the search bar. This will open the registry editor. Using the navigation bar on the left side of the window, make your way to the following key:¬†HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\. Delete this entry, and then restart your computer. If all goes well, when the sidebar application loads again, everything should be back to normal.

    Solution 3: Restore Point

    The state of your gadgets could be symptomatic of a much more large-scale problem affecting your PC. One thing you could do to get rid of any system-wide troubles is to make use of Windows Restore Points. Simply select a restore point that predates your problems and have Windows Vista roll back to that time. This ought to take care of any troubles you may be experiencing with your gadget sidebar.


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  • 11Jun

    When Windows Vista came out on the heels of the much respected Windows XP, the PC community was quite underwhelmed, to say the least. Windows Vista seemed so unnecessarily clumsy and bloated, filled to the brim with programs and services that most computer users didn’t want and didn’t need.

    However, what irked most users was the number of compatibility issues they faced when they tried installing and using programs that they were able to use with no problems on Windows XP. There seemed to be a greater number of instances wherein applications would fail to install properly, or initialize with restricted or impaired functionality. Naturally, this has caused many users to get frustrated with the operating system. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do in order to get Windows Vista to run all of your programs.

    Search for Program Updates

    Some programs that were originally coded for Windows XP might need a patch or upgrade in order for it to be run properly by Windows Vista. Try checking out the website of either the programs developer or publisher and search for these updates. In case the program you are using is old, and no official Windows Vista support is forthcoming, there are third-party sites and programmers who might have made a fix that you can download. This is especially true for old video games.

    Run the Program in Compatibility Mode

    Windows Vista does have a built-in utility called compatibility mode, which should, theoretically, make the OS emulate a previous version of Windows whenever you run a program. All you need to do is find an icon or shortcut of the program you wish to use, right-click on it, and then select ‘Properties’. Select the ‘Compatibility’ tab in the window that opens. Click the ‘Run this program in compatibility mode’ button, which should then allow you to select which past Windows OS to emulate. Click OK to apply the changes. These settings will now automatically apply whenever you access that program.

    Run the Program as an Administrator

    Beefed up security features were one of the promised improvements Microsoft said they’d implement in Windows Vista, but most people have found that these new features are more inconvenient than reassuring. One feature prevents users who are not administrators on the PC from accessing certain programs or from doing simple tasks. Sometimes, even transferring files from one folder to another will require administrator¬†privileges, seriously impeding workflow. To run a program as an administrator, simply right-click on the program icon or shortcut and select the ‘Run as Administrator’ option. You will have to do this for every instance that you want to access the application.

    One more thing you could do is to upgrade your PC’s specifications. Windows Vista usually demands double the amount of RAM and more processing power to run the same programs on Windows XP. So if you switched to Vista on an old PC that used to run Windows XP, a hardware upgrade might be required to run your programs smoothly.

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