Windows Gadgets are history – but what are Microsoft doing invading my PC?

Fired up my PC this morning and, top right on my screen was a blank space where my system resources gadget should have been (yep, I know I can get much the same info in Task Manager, but a couple of on-screen dials are much more immediate).

Spent half an hour trying to find out why – finally thought the Gadgets applet was corrupted as it wouldn’t start and nothing I could do would bully it into life.

So off to Google to see if anyone knows why, or to find a fix. What I found was this:-

ScreenShot366

OK – but why wasn’t this announced in Windows Update and, more worrying, how, and why, did MS kill the applet without my knowledge, completely bypassing the Windows Update system?  If it was a security vulnerability then obviously MS could access it, but invading my PC without my knowledge or permission? There’s no excuse for that and it’s totally unacceptable.

And just how much of a back door does MS have into my PC – and yours – and with whom do they share access? How much do they, and whoever else they allow in, rummage around in Windows PCs while we have no idea they’re there? I have software that monitors my router for anyone trying to piggyback on my broadband connection, then kills their ability to connect, ever, if the cautionary pop-up message is true, though so far my security is holding so I’ve not needed to use that sanction.

What I do need is something to monitor invasions of my PC over my own connection. Don’t know of one, though.  Any ideas out there in the hivemind?

But back to the rather more trivial question of gadgets. Apps are better, they claim. Well, maybe, but only if you run Windows 8.x – they’re no bloody good to Windows 7 users like me, or those still clinging to earlier versions (you couldn’t pay me to upgrade to Win8 – it sucks cosmetically. This is how I want my Desktop to look:-

ScreenShot367  Click to view full size, Back button to return

Not this – Win8 doing its impression of a giant smartphone:-

ScreenShot368  As above . . .

Personally, I think at least part of the reason for terminating Gadgets – because I’m sure MS could have fixed the vulnerability problem as they have done many times in the past with other software and applets – is financial. Many apps are free, but many that are actually productively useful cost money. Not a lot, but there are a lot of Win8 users out there, and the relatively small fees mount up, as they do with smartphones.  Mind you, I have no way of knowing if any gadgets have paid-for equivalents in apps, and, now, no way to check.

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3 thoughts on “Windows Gadgets are history – but what are Microsoft doing invading my PC?

  1. You can still download Gadgets Ron. I’ve got it on my laptop http://8gadgetpack.net/ .

    I have Windows 8.1 and my Desktop looks like your Windows 7. I have a photo of my Guinea Pigs. I can’t show you in the comment, unfortunately.

    • Er, no you can’t – not officially, from Microsoft. Other sites still have them, like CNet or 8Gadgetpack (don’t know them, but CNet are trustworthy), but given the security risks you’d be well advised to find apps that do what you need, and bin the gadgets.

      But gadgets aren’t important. What is important is that MS has breached the security and invaded the privacy of god knows how many people – and no-one is screaming apart from me, as far as I can see – and I only found out by accident. Microsoft told me!

      I subscribe to a whole load of tech newsletters, and not seen so much as whisper of this.

      This is the full text of that first pic:-

      Gadgets are no longer available on our website because the Windows Sidebar platform in Windows 7 and Windows Vista has serious vulnerabilities. Microsoft has retired the feature in newer releases of Windows. Gadgets could be exploited to harm your computer, access your computer’s files, show you objectionable content, or change their behavior at any time. An attacker could even use a gadget to take complete control of your PC. If you’re concerned about the safety of gadgets you’ve downloaded, find out more about gadgets and steps you can take to protect your PC.

      And that’s from Microsoft at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/gadgets

      You told me about your Desktop a while ago – I was just bitching about Win8 to fill the space! Would have been a short post otherwise.

  2. you could do with something similar to the counters used on websites that will tell you in your stats what traffic has visited your site and where from. plus the route taken to get there. changed to the specs you need of course.

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