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There is a way to show all gadgets, and that's by pressing WindowKey + G

But pressing that again won't hide all gadgets. There are some situations where a user want to hide all gadgets, such as reading a webpage where the content is covered up by the gadgets, or watching a video full screen and don't want any gadget on the screen.

If there is no fast way to do it, the only method will be to right click on each one of them and deselect "always on top". Then when you are done, right click each and every one of them and choose "always on top" again.

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If you know how to use Sysinternals process monitor, capture the events when pressing win+g and paste the capture here. I'll make an autohotkey script to hide them since it's likely a registry key. – John T Oct 30 '09 at 1:34
I'm somewhat confused. On my case, Win+G shows the gadgets indeed. But all I need is to click on the some opened window for it to regain focus and the gadgets disappear behind it. – A Dwarf Oct 30 '09 at 2:54
Oh, that's because I set some of my gadgets to "Always on Top" in the first place. Otherwise they would hide automatically. – 太極者無極而生 Oct 30 '09 at 3:10
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Right click on an empty area of the desktop. Select View->Show Desktop Gadgets (it was selected after you hit Window+G, and now will be unselected).

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but what if you are viewing a webpage with a maximized window? or watch a video in a full screen, then there is no desktop to click... – 太極者無極而生 Oct 30 '09 at 3:11
> but what if you are viewing a webpage with a maximized window? or watch a video in a full screen, then there is no desktop to click... Then you don’t see the desktop gadgets anyway. – Synetech Mar 3 '12 at 22:12

yes there is a way to hide all gadgets, use this autohotkey script:

#SingleInstance, force
Settitlematchmode, 2
winshow, SidebarBroadcastWatcher
GroupAdd, GadgetsContent, ahk_Class SideBar_HTMLHostWindow
Winhide ahk_group Gadgets
GroupAdd, GadgetsWindows, ahk_Class BasicWindow
Winhide ahk_group GadgetsWindows
winshow ahk_group GadgetsContent
Winshow ahk_group GadgetsWindows
winhide, SidebarBroadcastWatcher

save as an ahk file and execute with autohotkey. WIN+Y hides gadgets, WIN+N shows gadgets. Enjoy.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the script, but I would like to add that you need the FREE "AutoHotKey" software for this to work. It is really easy with the software, but if you try it without, I'm guessing there will be a lot of frustration. It can be downloaded here: – user121220 Mar 3 '12 at 21:48

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