I have always liked the concept of gadgets in Windows, delivering whatever real-time information you like right on your Windows desktop. In fact, I like gadgets so much that a few years ago I developed the Lottery Results Gadget, which has been installed by people around the world hundreds of thousands of times, and is still running strong today.
Now Windows 8 is upon us, and Microsoft has ditched gadgets in favor of "live tiles" in the start screen. The problem for me is that I spend most of my time on the Windows desktop, and not in the start screen, so live tiles are not as useful for me.
Fortunately, there is a quick and easy solution available.
Some nice guy has released some free software called the "8GadgetPack", which reinstall all the original Microsoft gadget files that were part of Windows 7. Not only is the software free, but there is no "crapware", advertisements, or anything else installed — just the original files and a few extra popular gadgets.
I did the installation, and it worked perfectly. The software initially puts a few gadgets on your desktop, which I immediately removed. One of them is the Sidebar gadget, which mimics the original Windows Vista Sidebar, so that was the first thing I removed. Putting the gadgets right on the desktop is so much better than the Sidebar.
After getting rid of the initial slate of gadgets installed on your desktop, it is time to put the ones you want on there. Just do the normal right-click on the desktop and select "Gadgets" to see the familiar gadget box containing all the gadgets you can drag to the desktop. Everything works as it always did in Windows 7 and Vista.
Here's a link to the 8GadgetPack: http://8gadgetpack.bplaced.net/