Turn off Windows Sidebar and Gadgets, Microsoft warns as new security risk found

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Turn off Windows Sidebar and Gadgets, Microsoft warns as new security risk found

Gadgets are mini-programs that appear on the desktop in both Windows Vista and Windows 7, although in Windows Vista, they run from the Windows Sidebar. A security risk has been identified that allows malicious code to be executed from a gadget. Microsoft has published an advisory that warns users to turn off the Windows Sidebar and disable all gadgets.

Whilst Gadgets can be useful for quickly accessing information like the weather or stock quotes, the automated “Fix It Tool” from Microsoft also disables the functionality. It might be a nuisance turning these features off, particularly if you use them frequently, however it is better to be safe than sorry.

It’s not all bad news though as the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets frequently consume large amounts of memory and can slow your computer down, unless you have a large amount available. It’s one of the many background processes that we tend to disable on client’s computers to free up resources and make things quicker.

Although Microsoft haven’t issued a fix for the vulnerability, it is interesting to note that Gadgets won’t be supported in the upcoming release of Windows 8.

How to turn off Windows Sidebar and Gadgets

  • Run the Fix It Tool from Microsoft to automatically turn off Sidebar and Gadgets
  • Read Microsoft’s advisory for step-by-step instructions to manually turn off the feature

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