I’m a customizer. I love Windowsblinds, I’ve used all kinds of sidebar applications like SysMetrix, Desktop Sidebar, etc. When I first heard about Vista including a side bar I was pretty excited… then I loaded some system monitoring gadgets and it all went downhill. Perhaps it’s the fault of the gadget creators themselves and not Vista Sidebar, but that thing ate up some serious resources. My laptop is getting older (Dell XPS Gen2, 2.0Ghz, 2g RAM) so for the longest time I didn’t bother running the sidebar. After some discussions with a co-worker I decided to play with it again andÂ loaded it up with some gadgets. Suddenly, it wouldn’t load or it would load but there would be no gadgets and Task Manager would report it continually gobbling up memory. I have no idea if it was a specific gadget that caused the problem I just knew I wanted it fixed.
The Sidebar Properties window has an option to restore the default Vista gadgets, but it was greyed out. No love there.
Unable to use the default method for restoring the defaults I set out to try and fix it manually. Here’s the steps I took:
- Open task manager and kill any sidebar.exe process that might be running.
- Open Explorer and browse to C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar (where <user name> is the user youÂ log into Vista with).
- Open Settings.ini, hit CTRL-A (select all) and hit delete. The file is now empty. Save the file.
- Browse into the Gadgets directory.
- Select CTRL-A (select all) and delete them. (Note: I couldn’t delete ALL of the gadgets the first try. If that happens reboot and try to delete them again… after the reboot you should be able to delete them all).
- Restart Windows Sidebar.
Everything should load successfully now. You should see the default Sidebar with the clock, wallpaper thingy, and RSS feed. For some odd reason the “restore defaults” buttonÂ is still greyed out… go figure.
Now that it’s back will I give Sidebar another shot? Probably. I love to tweak my system and I can think of a few gadgets I’d love to have always on access to… I’ll probably still shy away from the resource meters as I suspect they were causing the excess cpu cycles.