Sidebars to increase your productivity

Vista SidebarSometimes it’s nice to have a bit on the side and nowhere is this more true than on your desktop. Sidebars can make your life easier in all kinds of ways – making applications easier to access, files on hand quicker, removing the need for shortcuts all over your desktop and much more.

Probably the best, and certainly the most popular out there, is Vista Sidebar XP. One of the innovations in Vista was the introduction of sidebars but this program proves just how simple it is to add to XP. The sidebar offers widgets of various kinds including clocks, weather forecasts, RSS readers and many more. Less popular but along the same lines is Thoosje Vista Sidebar which does pretty much the same thing although the developers claim it uses 50% less RAM than Vista’s Sidebar. Meanwhile Windows Sidebar Styler takes both of these programs one step further by giving you greater control over how the sidebar is customised and allowing you to add unlimited widgets due to the support of Windows Presentation Foundation.

Not all Sidebars try to emulate Vista though. DameK UltraBlue for example is an entire makeover for XP that includes a nifty Sidebar. That said, it does bear more than a passing resemblance to Vista’s sidebar although it’s based more on the early prototypes of the operating system when it was known as Longhorn. Other sidebars try to emulate Yahoo! Widget Engine such as Desktop Sidebar whereas Aston is very much it’s own product taking an original but basic approach to sidebar management.

If you want to get an idea of what sidebars look like or what they can do, check out this useful example of how they can be used in Vista:

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