Install The Windows Sidebar on Server 2008
This only involves a few steps and is very simple to get working. The first five steps can be done in a different order – it really doesn’t make a lot of difference. For all of this to work there is a registry edit which needs to be done, and, which is not documented on this page. I had performed the edit a long time ago, exported the edit as a .reg file, and saved it to a folder. Along with these instructions and some extra gadgets, the .reg file can be downloaded from this page – just double-click and approve to apply the change to your registry.
- Download this package (which includes, as I’ve said, some extra gadgets). Unarchive the .zip file to anywhere that’s convenient (eg. your Desktop)
- Copy the Windows Sidebar folder to C:\Program Files (X86) (on a a 32-bit computer, obviously, there’s no “X86” on the end).
- Double-click the Windows_sidebar_reg.reg file, editing the registry.
- Do the following from a command prompt – again, if it’s a 32-bit computer there’s no “(X86)” in the path:
cd C:\Program Files (X86)\Windows Sidebar\
- Go to Server Manager > Features and add the Desktop Feature. This requires a reboot to complete and, by the way, on my computer it took 10 minutes or something……
- When the computer has rebooted and the Desktop feature is done installing, go to Services and enable the Theme service – what a shock, eh? I set mine to start automatically. Now, start the theme service manually.
- Right-click on your Desktop and choose Personalize. You should see an option, now, to choose a theme. At this point you need to choose the Vista Theme. As a little footnote: this will change your wallpaper (of course)…..
- To be perfectly honest, I can’t recall how I started the darned sidebar. I guess I just went to the program directory (C:\Program Files (X86)\Windows Sidebar) and double-clicked the executable (there is no Start Menu option nor Control Panel option to open the sidebar). The sidebar will pop-up and you can right-click on the sidebar to set various options (start at boot, etc.).
- Optional: Unarchive the collection of non-stock gadgets (“non_stock_gadgets.zip”) and copy and paste the extracted directory over the existing “Shared Gadgets” directory, in the program directory. I added the MSN Weather Gadget and some other stuff. I set the thing to turn itself on when the computer was rebooted – and everything worked as planned.