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I have Windows Vista and I've installed some fancy new gadgets to the Vista sidebar. Is this application a major RAM consumer or something?

I don't have a slow computer, but I'd like to know

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1  
What gadgets are installed? –  random Aug 18 '09 at 8:20

6 Answers 6

Have you checked the memory utilization with Process Explorer?
If you name the gadgets, people here may be able to give you their first-hand experience too.

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From what I have learnt, it's best not to run the sidebar in Vista as I beleive it slow's down the system. I depends on the type of machine you have, but I noticed a difference even on a 2.13 Dual core system with 4gb of Memory when I disabled the sidebar.

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"you believe"? I find your beliefs fascinating! :) Can you provide links or other evidence? –  Jeff Atwood Aug 18 '09 at 8:11
    
Welcome to Super User! Even if you don't always provide credible outside sources, your answers can still be helpful sometimes, but it is always better to provide sources when you can. –  Daniel H Dec 11 '09 at 20:17

It depends what Sidebar Gadgets you're using.

Poorly written ones can leak badly, as Ed Bott notes..

You should keep an eye on the memory usage of sidebar.exe to see what's happening.

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... and each added Gadget increases the memory used by the sidebar.exe application. A lot of gadgets = High memory usage. –  TFM Aug 18 '09 at 8:18

From a non-techie point of view, have you tried removing all the gadgets from the sidebar? Then if there is a very noticeble slowing down of your PC as you slowly add the gadgets you like back onto the sidebar, you will have found a problem gadget that can be avoided in future. If there is never an appreciable change in PC speed, only a gradual one then it would appear to be the sidebar itself or simply then 23481274243 gadgets you have installed upon it, no?

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As Jeff said it always depends on what gadgets you are using. Try the following: First of all disable all gadgets and restart the windows sidebar. When you've found a gadget of interest turn on process explorer (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx) or the native Windows task manager and have a look at the "sidebar.exe" process (Hint: having 3rd party gadgets enabled there are probably two processes named "sidebar.exe"). Then enable one gadget and use it for some time and keep a look at the cpu and ram usage. When it's ok start over with the next gadget. This way you should be able to find out which of the chosen gadgets waste system ressources and you can sort them out. Sadly many of those useful gadgets are not well coded and those are the ones that slow down the system. Keep in mind, too, that having a lot of real time monitoring gadgets enabled always slows down the system. I never use more than two of those.

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Most of these answers are about how to speed up a slow system. You don't have a slow system, so I'd answer "Not really". However, it may be a contributing factor to any future slowdown.

To check, I'd open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) and go to the Processes tab. Then sort by name and find sidebar.exe; if it's consuming a lot of CPU or memory compared to your other programs, than it is slowing down your computer. If not, then it PROBABLY isn't (though it might still be; see the Coding Horror article about various performance causes, which is currently down). This approach can work for any program.

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