Installing the Vista SideBar

1. Download the zip-package with files needed to use the Vista Sidebar. If you use the 32bit version of Server 2008, download Windows from Rapidshare or 4shared. If you use the 64bit version of Server 2008 download Windows Sidebar from Rapidshare or 4shared. The files inside this package are taken from a clean installation of Windows Server 2008 x86/x64 BETA 3 where the Windows Sidebar is still included when installing the Desktop Experience Feature. It is also possible to just copy the C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\ folder from an other Vista SP1 installation.

2. Open Windows Sidebar (x64).zip and in the toolbar click Extract all files. Click the Browse button, expand Computer –> Local Disk (C:), and click Program Files. Select your destination by clicking OK.


3. Your Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders window will now look like this. Click Extract to extract the files and folders of Windows Sidebar (x64).zip to your C:\Program Files directory.


4. After the extraction has completed, click Run in the Start menu and enter the following command: "C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exe" /RegServer. You won’t see anything happen but in the background the SideBar is being installed. To enable the automatic installation of custom gadgets, also run the commands regsvr32 "C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\sbdrop.dll" and regsvr32 "C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\wlsrvc.dll".


5. Once again open the Run dialog by clicking Start –> Run, now enter: "C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe", and click OK. The taskbar will now show up! Let’s configure that it will automatically start with Windows Server 2008!


6. To configure it to automatically start with Windows right click the SideBar icon in the system tray and click Properties.


7. Check the box Start Sidebar when Windows starts, then click OK. Your taskbar is now fully functioning! You can add Gadgets by right clicking Add Gadgets in the systemtray icon menu or remove them by clicking Close Gadget in the contextmenu of a Gadget. To get help with installing gadgets go to the post Installing Custom Gadgets.



Question: I get a Open File- Security Warning message dialog every time I start Windows.

Answer: Follow these steps to remove this message.

1. Browse via My Computer to C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\, right click sidebar.exe and click Properties.

2. In the General tab click Unblock, then click Apply and/or OK. Now you won’t see that message again! ๐Ÿ™‚

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74 Responses

  1. Marakai says:

    While most gadgets seem to work just fine (W2K8-64 Std here), for some reason CPU metering ones do nothing.
    I’ve tried a few from the gadget gallery, including my favourite “All CPU Meter” which worked fine on 64-bit Vista. They come up, but all warped and don’t actually update information.
    I wonder if the interface to that information is somewhat different between Vista and Server?

    (to repeat: otherwise everything works well, and several other of my favourite gadgets work beautifully!)

  2. Dirk says:

    Same here!
    I tried it installing to: C:ProgrammeWindows Sidebar and to C:Programme (x86)Windows Sidebar but nothing worked, no way, i tried every combination.
    ( I know it is German, because my Installation is German;), so do not tell me i didnt spell it correct :P)

    Longhorn runs on 64bit architecture btw

    Arris: What exactly doesn’t work? Do you see the SideBar but can’t you see any gadgets; can’t you see the SideBar at all; isn’t it possible to add new gadgets;… However, try to check what goes wrong using the instructions in this post at the forum.

  3. Patt says:

    I’ve followed all the instructions and successfully installed and ran sidebar.. although the sidebar wont detect any gadgets, even when following the tutorial for installing custom gadgets.

    Arris: Are you sure you installed the SideBar for the right architecture (x86/x64)? If you install the x86 SideBar into C:Program Files in the x64 edition no gadgets will be shown.

  4. Greg says:

    thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Greg says:

    The problem I ran into is the side bar is blank and all white.
    I ran the dll’s , the C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exe” /RegServer , and C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exe , could not be found but I ran the install in the folder, any ideas ?

    thats in windows server 2008 32 bit enterprise edition

    Arris: If the files couldn’t be found by regsvr32.exe, go to the command prompt (start -> run -> cmd.exe) and enter cd “Program FilesWindows Sidebar”. Now run the commands sidebar.exe /RegServer and regsvr32 sbdrop.dll and regsvr32 wlsrvc.dll. After all commands have been executed successfully, open the sidebar by running sidebar.exe!

  6. Lucian says:

    for me is not working, i hava a Server 2008 X64 DataCenter,
    when i run c:program files (x86)Windows Sidebarsbdrop.dll or other comand i get this messahe: “The module “C:Program Files(x86)WindowsSidebarsbdrop.dll” may not be compatible with the version of Windows that you’re running. Check is the module is compatible with an x86(32-bit) or x64(64-bit) version of regsvr32.exe.”
    I downloaded the Sidebar from your x64 version link, tried also with a copy made from a Vist Business X64 but i get the same erro. Any idea ? thx.

    Arris: In the x64 versions of Windows Server there are two different versions of regsvr32.exe: C:WindowsSystem32regsvr32.exe and C:WindowsSysWOW64regsvr32.exe. The regsvr32.exe in System32 should be the right one if you use the x64 version of the SideBar. Otherwise you can also use the x86 version of the SideBar by extracting the archive to C:Program Files (x86) and running the regsvr32.exe from SysWOW64. Hope that works! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Daniel Reimer says:

    If you have problems using the sidebar in a non english Version. (No gadgets show up) go to C:Program FilesWindows SidebarGadgets and there rename all en-US folders in all Subfolders into your language used. For German it would be de-DE as example.

  8. Jon Davis says:

    Thanks for the great site!!! Yeehaw!!

    Regarding the security warning and the need to unblock the EXE, the correct sequence is actually to unblock the .zip file as soon as the .zip file is downloaded. Windows will automatically retain the “blocked” flag for all files extracted from a “blocked” .zip file. Just unblocking the .zip file will make all of the extracted file’s contents unblocked.

    I have made it a habit of unblocking all files I download from Internet Explorer.

    Also, Firefox and most third party download managers will download without the downloaded file being blocked.


    Arris: Thanks for the compliments and the explanation of the Internet Explorer downloaded files security measures! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. SRW says:

    If you register the two dll files as an administrator:

    regsvr32 C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsbdrop.dll
    regsvr32 C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarwlsrvc.dll

    then enter
    C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exeโ€ /RegServer
    as listed in the instructions everything works just as it does in Vista including the installation of custom gadgets by double clicking them (you do not need winrar).

    Arris: Thanks, I added this information to step 4. However if the automatic installation won’t work for some reason, people can still use the Installing Custom Gadgets tutorial to get it done! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Steve says:

    Found I got it working acceptably, though not perfectly by omitting the quotation markes from:

    โ€œC:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exeโ€ /RegServer

    โ€œC:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exeโ€

    May seem obvious to do this, but initially I didn’t omit the quotes & couldn’t get sidebar to install or run.

    Hope this helps someone as thick as me! lol

  11. SillyHalfMexican says:

    I have been able to get the sidebar to run (following the directions here) and all seems fine except for one thing. The sidebar isn’t transparent, it’s pure black.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Great site btw.

  12. crow says:

    Working solution for me on x64 Standard Server is:
    “C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exe” /RegServer

    and to run it:
    “C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exe”
    This doesnt work:โ€œ%ProgramFiles%Windows Sidebarsidebar.exeโ€

    Arris: Thanks, updated it. Most people will have C: as their system root anyway.

  13. Hugo Chagas says:

    and the games of Vista (example: Spider Solitaire). I would like to have in my Server 2008.

    Arris: I already added it to the Wish List

  14. Pentahex says:

    Running x64. Most gadgets do not work properly. Clock for example is a back box with two red hand pointing to 12.

  15. mad_tony says:

    funny; this is one of those Vista bits I hate

  16. Tony*R says:

    tried that…

    The module “c:program files (x86)Windows Sidebarsbdrop.dll” was loaded but the call to DllRegisterServer failed with error code 0x80020009

    this is on 64 bit Server 2008, btw

    Arris: If you search google for the error code 0x80020009, you ‘ll find it has something to do with permissions. Did you run the command as an Administrator?

  17. Tony*R says:

    I keep getting runtime errors – library not registered

    How do I uninstall this?

    Arris: You can try to register the two libraries in the Windows Sidebar directory by running the following two commands in Start->Run (replace ‘Program Files’ by ‘Program Files (x86)’ if you are using 64bit):
    regsvr32 “C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsbdrop.dll”
    regsvr32 “C:Program FilesWindows Sidebarwlsrvc.dll”

    Uninstall can be done by removing the Sidebar value from the registry (Start->Run->regedit->delete Sidebar from HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun) and removing the Sidebar folder.

  18. Van says:

    No offence intended to those who have made the sidebar files available .. but I’m not comfortable putting ‘unknown’ files on my computer. And, yes, I know it’s a bit ironic given that I’m hacking a Microsoft OS.

    Is it possible to grab the necessary files from an existing Vista installation or install CD?

    I suspect that’s where the downloads came from in the first place.



    Arris: Added to step 1 where I got the files from. Of course you can download, and install Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 in a Virtual Machine and copy the files from there, but this is much more practical! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. tony says:

    try for 32bit “c:Program FilesWindows Sidebarsidebar.exe”
    for 64 bit “c:Program Files (x86)Windows Sidebarsidebar.exe”

    this worked for me

  20. stan says:

    weather gadget doesn’t work


    the syntax โ€œ%ProgramFiles%Windows Sidebarsidebar.exeโ€ in x64 doesn’t work eather


    Arris: Thanks for your reply. Fixed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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