How to add a sidebar to your Windows desktop

Shaant Minhas

windows 10 laptop

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A Windows sidebar was a graphical control element located on the right side of the desktop. Part of Windows Vista, it functioned as a container for mini-programs called “gadgets”.

Even though Microsoft has discontinued it on the later versions of Windows, with some creativity and workarounds, you can quickly get it back. In this guide, we’ll dive into the exact method to add a sidebar to your Windows. So let’s get started right away.

How to add a sidebar to your Windows desktop

Since Microsoft has officially retired the sidebar in later versions of Windows, the only way to now get one is through third-party software. All you’ve to do is install the software, launch it, and it will create the sidebar for you.

Now, there’re a plethora of sidebar apps out there. So, which one do you pick from? Here, we’re only going to suggest two apps that do the job pretty well and seem pretty lightweight at the same time. These are in no way the best ones or the only ones you should be using; they are simply the ones we found that carry out the job without any hassles.

1. 8GadgetsPack

8GadgetsPack is a simple minimalist app that makes using a sidebar in your Windows PC a breeze. To get started with 8GadgetsPack, simply head to the official website and grab the installer from there.

8gadgetpack app installation

When the download is finished, install and launch the app. When you first open the app, you’ll see the main menu like this one:

8gadgetpack app menu

Click on Add gadget… from the main menu, and as soon as you do that, a sidebar will be added to the right corner of your desktop. You’ll also get the main menu that lets you choose from a host of gadgets you can add to the sidebar.

2. MetroSidebar

The MetroSidebar is another freeware app that will add the sidebar to your Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems. As the name suggests, the app adds a sidebar to your PC, giving it a shiny, retro look.


To get started, grab the MetroSidebar installer first and then install it on your Windows. As soon as you’re finished with the installation, you’ll be asked for a quick restart to finish the installation. Save all your work and click on Yes to complete the installation.

After the reboot, you’ll have to launch the tool manually. Head to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘metrosidebar’, and select the best match. The tool will be launched. 

This is what it will look like…


You can add new tiles to your sidebar by clicking on the button of the sidebar. Simply click on the Plus button to add the tile.

Adding and using sidebars on Windows 10 or Windows 11

Microsoft has made sidebars a thing of the past. But if you’re a passionate enthusiast, you don’t have to settle. By using third-party applications provided from a host of sources, you can put in a sidebar for your Windows with ease. In fact, this freedom to customize things is what makes us keep coming back to Windows in the first place.

Like sidebars, there’s still lots of stuff you can customize through your Windows; be it customizing the icons on your Windows, or changing the taskbar settings, Windows helps you do it all.