Desktop gadgets are a great way to personalize your PC and add enhanced functionality to your desktop. Gadgets are mini programs that offer information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools. Many of us first began using gadgets with Windows Vista but many of these gadgets were more novel than useful. With the introduction of Windows 7, most of the original gadgets are still available but a number of really cool and useful gadgets were added. Here are our top 5 favorite Windows 7 gadgets.
1) Ultimate Explorer Ultimate Explorer lets you search popular sites like Google, YouTube, Amazon, and your favorite social networking sites from your desktop without having to go to those sites in your browser. You can “snap search” up to 8 sites, allowing you to “snap” from one search engine to another. Ultimate Explorer includes a flyout calendar and events feature and unlike the vast majority of gadgets, it even has a flyout Help section.
2) Clipboard Manager The Windows 7 Clipboard Manager allows you to access clipboard items without opening an Office application. You can store up to 999 clips, both text and images, and you can easily organize them into favorites with a right click. The favorites feature will let you create a boilerplate for text you use regularly.
3) Magic Folder While some people wouldn’t like the idea of a folder that makes decisions for them on where to save files, for those of us who end up with a desktop full of files that never quite make it to the “right” folder, Magic Folder is pretty handy. Just drag your folders into Magic Folder and it examines the file extension and files the folder away. For example, .jpg, .gif, and other images files are sent to the Pictures folder, .doc files goes to the documents folder, etc. You do have some ability to customize the gadget by updating file extensions that it doesn’t recognize, adding your own folder locations and changing where extensions should be filed. If you want more control, you can set the gadget to prompt you before it moves a file to a folder.
4) Color Picker This gadget is really cool for anyone who works with colors across multiple applications. You can search online for color palettes and create custome palettes. Once set up you can easily copy & paste the HEX values of your palettes and easily maintain a uniform color scheme.
5) MiniTV Are you a news junkie? The MiniTV gadget allows you to watch a number of stations in a tiny gadget window that can be expanded to full screen. The gadget comes with a large number of stations to choose from plus you can add your own. If you have a habit of getting absorbed in watching, go into the configuration and set you viewing time limit. Reach your max and MiniTV will automatically switch off.
To add these and many other gadgets to your desktop, simply right-click your desktop and then click Gadgets to bring up your menu of gadget downloads.
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