It is a shame that Microsoft abandoned desktop gadgets because they were a great feature of Windows 7. They partly died out because few people used them, but this was because Microsoft gave little support. Other developers created some fine gadgets and a few are still available today for people continuing to run Windows 7. Here are a few interesting gadgets to get you started.
Battery Meter is a simple gadget that shows the state of the battery. You can see the amount of charge, whether it is fully charged, and the maximum charge. Mouse over the gadget and click the wrench icon to access the settings where you can set up a low battery warning alarm, and set the refresh interval for the gadget. It looks good with a graphic in the top left corner and colourful text - the colours can be customised in the settings.
Drives Meter shows you everything you need to know about one or two disk drives. It shows the drive letter, the amount of disk space used and the amount of free space. It also shows the total disk capacity and a bar showing usage. A live scrolling chart at the bottom displays disk activity and you can easily see when the disk it being heavily or lightly used. Mouse over it and click the wrench icon to access the settings. These include setting a low disk space alarm and customising the colours.
Windows Live Calendar Gadget shows a mini calendar on the desktop. There are two sizes and the small display is compact and just shows a week, whereas the large display shows a whole month. It is very useful if you frequently need to look up dates on the calendar.
Weather Meter is a nice little app that displays the current weather. Go to the settings as soon as you run it and set it to your current location in the world. It will then show the correct weather for your area. It has a graphic showing clouds, sun and so on, a large temperature, and smaller details showing the high and low temperatures, the humidity, pressure and visibility. It shows the sunrise and sunset times, moonrise and moonset, and more. It's really good.
Sys/Uptime shows a digital clock in nice big numbers. Below is a smaller time and this is the length of time the computer has been running since it was last started. A live scrolling chart is a historical view of the processor activity and the bar on the right shows the amount of used (red) and free (white) memory.
There is no developer information in Sys/Uptime, so I don't know who it is by. The others are from addgadgets.com
Gagdet websites have a habit of disappearing, so I've bundled all five of the gadgets into a zip you can download from here. Just uzip the archive and double click each gadget file to install it. It will appear on the desktop automatically. You can then move it to wherever you want it, access the settings and so on.