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Submission details

20 +40/-20 votes

Option to re-enable sidebar

Submitted by leaflord on November 18, 2008 to Aesthetics, Legacy, Usability

I haven't yet used Win7, so maybe there's a solution to this. I don't think this suggestion might be very popular.. Nevertheless, I'd suggest they allow an option to re-enable the sidebar.

Sidebar's on-top behaviour is a plus point for me on a 1680x screen where maximized windows are bad in (many) cases. I don't have to bang [win]+[space] everytime I wanna see them either; instead a glance to the right of the screen is more convenient for me.

Keep an option to re-enable sidebar..



Not fixed

Discussion (8 comments)

jhofker wrote on November 18, 2008, 4:26pm

Gadgets will still dock to the side of your screen; is that what you're worried about? Or is it that the gadgets themselves won't always "reserve" that extra room on the right when you maximize apps? Remember you'll have AeroPeek now, so flitting your mouse to the bottom right corner of the screen will allow you to see through your windows to your gadgets.

leaflord wrote on November 18, 2008, 7:40pm

@jhofker: Yea; I've noticed in the pics that they can be docked to the side. But as I've mentioned in the post - there are two other things as well... :
- my screen space much more utilized; while gadgets on desktop may also add up to clutter.
If there's a key to hide them as well it's a bit better...
- it allows me to "glance" at the sidebar immediately. In case of aero peek it takes me a few secs.

It might just be a pet peeves, but I think that giving it as an option disabled by default would be quite useful..

tino wrote on November 20, 2008, 12:32am

I see your point and I also have some reservations with the changes. But I also see that the new implementation is a little bit simpler (no Sidebar icon in the taskbar needed) and more flexible (you can choose the size of every gadget). Maybe MS has learned that just a few people are using the Sidebar always on the top of the screen, and/or they have something different in mind: maybe re-sizeable Silverlight Gadgets, that wouldn't fit into a static Sidebar.

-1 Because there is third-party software out there to do what you want and I personally never used that mode.

P.S. Please keep in mind, that the new feature to make a window full-hight by double clicking the boarder is also very helpful on widescreen displays. It is some kind of the old full-screen and Sidebar on-top features combined.

leaflord wrote on November 24, 2008, 1:19pm

I've thought of that too. Third party is always a bad idea for extending OS functionality; they're either gonna cause issues or hard to remove...
I don't see why resizable gadgets shouldn't fit sidebar - nor do I see why disabling it would actually improve usability.
AFAIK; sidebar's rated a pain cuz:
1. It starts slow
2. It uses up space on widescreens.

Unless Sidebar allows some plugin style of appending a sidebar; I don't see an alternative. Nor do I see how disabling the old sidebar actually improved the usability of win7's gadgets. It's still gadgets on desktop - as can be done by Vista..

litemininyuszika wrote on January 3, 2009, 1:40pm


1. I think if the sidebar not enabled by default but can be re-enabled may be perfect, because with always-on-top gadgets, some controls of maximized windows are unavailable. I liked the always-on-top sidebar in Vista, because it resizes maximized windows, and also moves some desktop icons to don't make them unavailable.

2. I really very hate maximized windows on my notebook (widescreen, 1280×800 resolution), in Vista, the sidebar also a solution to take away this problem!

Microsoft, please add an option to re-enable sidebar in the public beta! Or if you can only do it in the RTM version, it's not a _very_ large problem, but PLEASE do it at worst in RTM version!

litemininyuszika wrote on January 3, 2009, 1:47pm

Thank you very much! :)

Indrek wrote on February 5, 2009, 9:51pm


I liked the Sidebar in Vista, and I miss it in Windows 7.
To elaborate a little:

I have a widescreen laptop with WSXGA+ resolution (1680x1050). In other words, I have plenty of horisontal screen real estate, and the couple hundred pixels the sidebar took up was no biggie. On the other hand, it enabled me to quickly look at, or interact with, gadgets while working with maximised windows (which is how I prefer to work).

This is impossible with Windows 7. Yes, I can set gadgets to be "Always on top", but this also places the above active windows, which renders it useless (the area of the active window behind the gadget(s) cannot be clicked on). And yes, I can snap them to the right edge, but then maximised windows will cover them up, and resizing each and every window so as not to cover up any gadgets is more trouble than it's worth. Yes, I can use Aero Peek to look at gadgets, but it's an extra trip with the mouse (or two extra keys to press - Win+Space), and the window edges that remain can obscure important information in gadgets. And to actually interact with the gadgets, an extra mouse click (or again, two extra keys to press - Win+D) is required, which makes the process more cumbersome than it should be.

In short, I can no longer set up my workspace the way I'd like to, with both maximised windows and gadgets visible and not blocking one another.

Additionally, as mentioned above, gadgets living on the desktop can cover up icons, making them impossible to click on without moving the gadget. Yes, you can use keyboard navigation or move the gadgets out of the way, but again that's a few extra steps to achieve something that used to be much easier. This issue doesn't affect me personally as I keep my desktop free of icons, but I can see how someone who uses the desktop as temporary file storage and/or never bothers to remove the myriad shortcuts that are placed there could be annoyed by this.

To sum up, I would very much like to see the return of the Sidebar, or some other similar functionality that can reserve space for the gadgets that other windows cannot touch or cover up. It can be disabled by default, if Microsoft feels that provides a better out-of-the-box experience, but there's no reason to actually remove it.

To those crying about performance issues, remember that the sidebar.exe process that actually hosts the gadgets still starts up with Windows 7 just as it did in Vista. And if it starts faster, it's not because the actual, visible Sidebar was removed, but rather because of an improved and optimised gadget engine.

As for those crying about not liking the Sidebar, remember that we're not asking for it to be mandatory. It doesn't even have to be the default setting, like it was in Vista. Just as long as the option's there for those who want it, because apparently there are a few of those people.

Itanium64 wrote on January 13, 2010, 10:31am


Without the sidebar using the gadgets is a real pain. Also the docking mechanism of the gadgets in windows 7 is faulty: If I dock them to the right of my screen and the screen sizes changes (this happens frequent for a laptop user with external monitors!) they won't move but stay where the last monitor ended.

The sidebar also made it possible to maximize windows without overlapping the gadgets.

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