Friday, June 13, 2008

Desktop Sidebar - the only sidebar application you will ever need


Nowadays, most people use large monitors and widescreen has become the preferred aspect ratio for both television and monitors. Unless you are watching a movie, which is most likely to be widescreen, there are just too much empty space on a widescreen monitor. One way to put this unused space to productive use is to use a sidebar. Now there are a couple of sidebar applications out there. Google desktop has one and Windows Vista already comes with the sidebar installed. But these sidebars doesn't have the same usefulness as this freeware application called Desktop Sidebar.

Desktop Sidebar integrates a bunch of useful applets, called panels, into the sidebar. There is the popular analog clock, a local weather display, a feed reader, media player, a command line tool and dozens of more panels available on the sidebar and more can be downloaded from the Internet.

desktopsidebar1 desktopsidebar2

Information overload with Desktop Sidebar!

Desktop Sidebar is fully customizable. It allows you to dock these panels to the edge of the screen, or arrange them anywhere on your desktop as you wish. All panels are configurable with a number of specific options. There are hundreds of skins available on their site and an easy to use Skin Editor, using which you can freely change the appearance of Desktop Sidebar to suit your tastes.

Here are some of the panels that come with Desktop Sidebar

Newsroom Panel - This panel is an RSS newsfeeds/ATOM aggregator. The Newsroom panel integrates with Microsoft Internet Explorer so you can subscribe to newsfeeds from page displayed in Internet Explorer with one button click.
Calendar Panel - This panel displays your appointments from Microsoft Outlook.
Tasks Panel - This panel displays your tasks from Microsoft Outlook.
Inbox Panel - This panel shows the contents of your Inbox and other Outlook folders. This panel includes a rules engine, a simple junk filter, and displays an alert for new messages.
Notes Panel - This panel displays your Notes folder from Microsoft Outlook. As in the case of other "Outlook" panels, you can add or remove notes to Outlook by the context menu in this panel.
Performance Panel - This panel displays information about the workload of your computer. Indicators include CPU, Disk, Memory, and much more. The Performance Panel also integrates with Mother Board Monitor and HMonitor.
Mail Checker - This panel allows users who don't use Microsoft Outlook to see their e-mail via Desktop Sidebar. It supports POP3, IMAP or Hotmail accounts. It includes a rules engine, a simple junk filter and displays an alert for new messages.
Messenger Panel, Miranda IM and ICQ - These panels display your online contacts on sidebar.
Media Player - This panel allows you to control Windows Media Player from Desktop Sidebar and information about what media is playing even when visualizations are displayed in this panel.
Winamp Panel - This panel allows you to control Winamp from Desktop Sidebar.
Volume Control Panel - Control your system volume and mute button with this easy to use panel.
Toolbar panel - You can move your Quick Launch toolbar from Windows Taskbar to this panel, saving precious space on your taskbar.
Weather Panel - This panel displays a weather forecast. Weather data provided by
Search Bar Panel - Instant (Win+Q) access to Google and other search engines. Also includes a built-in Calculator and Command Line launcher.
Stock Panel - This panel displays stock quotes directly on Desktop Sidebar.
Slideshow Panel - This panel can display images from your system and the Internet, randomly or in sequence. Comics, pictures, weather maps, and webcam feeds are just some of the possibilities.

Whoaa! That's a lot. Actually, these are just some samples of what you get with Desktop Sidebar. More such panels are available for download. Of course, you can't possibly use all. So you can remove whichever you don't want and keep only those you need. Desktop Sidebar has a SDK (software development kit) available which means that more and more plugins are being developed by independent developers for use with this application.

Desktop Sidebar uses minimal system resources, and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003 and Vista.


  1. From the DS forums I learn that no development has occurred in over 2 years. The opinion of many forum members is that DS is dead. Currently, the Weather panel does not refresh and other panels are having difficulties, too. And apparently there is no one doing fixes on that basic panel so my desktop sidebar is covered in question marks. VERY too bad. Desktop Sidebar is by far the best sidebar - compared to Google and Yahoo at least. I've not tried any others yet.

  2. That's sad. When I saw Vista is supported, I thought it's being actively developed. But atleast the SDK is available, so it's isn't exactly dead.

  3. How do you get your google bar back if it got exited


Popular Posts