Posted by: kurtsh | October 31, 2009

INFO: Getting the “Windows Vista Sidebar experience” back on Windows 7

This is NOT a rehash of the same discussions posted everywhere about “how to reinstall the x86 Windows Vista Sidebar”.  What this is, is a quick mention of a tool that someone wrote called “MaxMax” -a program that simulates one of the benefits of sidebar without actually using Sidebar because of the horrendous problems related to using x86 Sidebar on x64 Windows 7.

WHAT PROBLEMS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
Installing the x86 Sidebar from an original copy of Windows Vista is anything but perfect.  I really don’t know why people don’t mention these caveats beforehand because they’d probably stop a lot of people from going through the exercise of installing the Sidebar into Windows 7.  There’s several problems but I’m going to only highlight the two that REALLY bothered me personally:

  1. NON-WORKING FLYOUTS
    Have you ever installed a Gadget into your Sidebar, then clicked on it and have the it “extend itself outside of the Sidebar”? 

    Flyouts allow a gadget to go from this:        … to this!
    image                     image
    Well, if you like that, TOUGH.  Installing the x86 Windows Vista Sidebar into Windows 7 x64 will disallow flyouts.  Has something to do with how x86 applications like the Sidebar are encapsulated and run on x64.  Nonetheless, it’s irritating.

  2. CAN’T INSTALL NEW GADGETS
    This one REALLY sucks.  If you attempt to download and install any new gadgets from the Windows Vista Gadget Gallery at http://vista.gallery.microsoft.com/vista/SideBar.aspx?mkt=en-us, it’ll allow you to download the gadget but the moment you attempt to install it, it’ll error out. 

    This is because the gadget is downloaded to one directory and the gadget installation procedure attempts to execute the gadget installation in another directory and can’t find the gadget.  The end result is that any new gadgets must be manually installed by extract & copying the gadget content into a directory. 

    Yeah, I know.  That sucks.

OKAY.  SO WHAT DOES ONE DO INSTEAD?
Well, the answer lies in simply not using the Sidebar any more.  Instead, you install gadgets directly onto the desktop like Windows 7 allows, and simply keep them aligned to the right.

What this unfortunately does is eliminate one of the key benefits of Sidebar:  The ability to go “full screen” with application windows while always insuring your gadgets are visible on the Sidebar.  If you go full screen on any application without sidebar, you’ll find your gadgets are completely covered.  There’s no way to make sure your gadgets are “always on top” like there was with Sidebar.

Here’s my current desktop.  The window in view is expanded using the “Maximize” button.  Notice that you can STILL see the gadgets on the right hand size, despite the window being maximized:

image

 

SO HOW’D YOU KEEP THE GADGETS EXPOSED ON THE RIGHT?
Someone created a tool that effectively limits the territory in which Max Windows expands itself to, ensuring that gadgets placed on the far right hand are always in view.

The tool is called “MaxMax” and it keeps gadgets on display anytime you expand windows out.  Sort of like an “Always on top”.  It allows you to set what monitor you want the “max window size” limitation set on, what side of the screen, how many imagepixels you want reserved from that side, whether to run in memory at Startup, etc. 

All in all it’s a very good program and it’s free.  Take a look at it.

 

DOWNLOAD:
http://www.kmtools.win-os.pl/omaxmax.php?lang=ang


Categories

%d bloggers like this: