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After much painstaking searching, I haven’t been able to find any gadgets (e.g., GPU, weather, etc.) for my Windows 7 desktop. There are some gadget websites but they are riddled with adware and/or of such poor quality that they do not install/work at all.

There are a large number of people who want desktop gadgets; surely there is some alternative now that Microsoft has discontinued them?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Try Rainmeter, a wonderful, highly configurable tool that enables "gadget"-like skins.

According to the site:

Rainmeter displays customizable skins, like memory and battery power, RSS feeds and weather forecasts, right on your desktop. Many skins are even functional: they can record your notes and to-do lists, launch your favorite applications, and control your media player - all in a clean, unobtrusive interface that you can rearrange and customize to your liking. Rainmeter is at once an application and a toolkit. You are only limited by your imagination and creativity.

Rainmeter is open source software distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU GPL v2 license.

Here is an image of my desktop, using built-in skins. Thousands of additional suites and skins are available from web communities such as DeviantArt.

Nice, if a little boring.  Still - it's useful!

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Amazing... always comes through. Thanks. – Zombies Dec 23 '12 at 3:09
You're welcome! – WindowsEscapist Dec 23 '12 at 4:55
@Zombies Remember that "mark as answer" checkbox! – WindowsEscapist Jan 3 '13 at 13:53
Yes that is an acceptable answer, have been using it for awhile and it's quite good, certainly the best way to get widgets on windows 7 for. – Zombies Jan 8 '13 at 15:55
@Zombies Thanks, awesome! I'll edit it to show the default skins (which are pretty good). – WindowsEscapist Jan 8 '13 at 16:43

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