Microsoft urges Windows Vista, 7 users to disable desktop gadgets

By Matthew ยท 47 replies
Jul 11, 2012
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  1. In a security advisory Tuesday, Microsoft urged Windows Vista and 7 users to download a tool that disables the operating system's sidebar and gadgets. The company warned that insecure gadgets could be used to run arbitrary code on a computer...

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  2. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    Hm. That's kinda not cool. I like my gadgets.

    Thanks for giving instructions how to do it in the article!
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    I found gadgets to be interesting for about an hour and a half. Then I found them to be really, really annoying. Haven't turned them back on since I had Vista.
    LNCPapa and Matthew like this.
  4. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,473   +377

    Umm, no. The few gadgets I do use are helpful to me. I'd sooner take the ones I have and lock them down so they can't do what I don't expect. Oh wait, I do that already.
  5. abysal

    abysal TS Booster Posts: 114   +40

    I'd have to agree, most of the time they're in the back ground anyway, so there's not much use for them. Although on a 2nd monitor they are slightly more useful.
    SantistaUSA likes this.
  6. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 856   +121

    Where is the Inspector Gadget when you need him?
    hopgop1 and Arris like this.
  7. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    "Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn't detailed the vulnerabilities..."
    Only unfortunate if you wanted to use them against someone. All the rest of care about is how to plug the hole.
  8. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 5,333   +101

    Well Mike, I don't plan to hack anyone and I'd like to know where the hole is. The company wouldn't have to write a how-to on exploiting the flaw to tell you whereabouts it is in the software.

    Basic information about vulnerabilities is commonly released by large companies -- Microsoft included. This time around, they merely said "omg, we have bugs... delete your gadgets!"

    Judging by that presentation scheduled later this month, hackers already know about it anyway.
  9. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    I would have preferred that they fix whatever needs fixing rather than getting rid of them. Besides, half of the ones are using come from MS themselves. Can't those be secure?
  10. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    Dont know what I would do without my gpu observer and cpu monitor.

    Im guessing that since these are the only gadgets I use and they are quite old they should be safe?
  11. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

    ^Same with me, I use gadgets to monitor gpu, cpu, network, and disk usage, and I'd rather not get rid of them. They are quite old, so hopefully they're okay.
  12. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    They're probably just playing it safe. I'd prefer the reaction to be 'There's a problem with your gadgets, here install this patch.'

    Yes, but often these hacks are the result of very creative tricks that aren't terribly difficult to pull off (for an experienced hacker), they're just very unique and haven't been thought of before. While it is interesting to know how they work, I understand why they don't give out the details until they have a fix.
  13. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 5,333   +101

    I'm not saying they don't have valid reasons for withholding the information. Obviously I'm not privy to such knowledge. I'm just defending my stance that it's unfortunate. Many people -- myself included -- would like to know more about the hole, even if it's vague. And to be clear, they haven't released a patch. It's just a tool that disables the gadgets. Perhaps it'll be fixed in next month's Patch Tuesday, but again, no details there either.
  14. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Yes, the "there's a problem, let's disable it for now" solution is a non-solution. It's merely a work around that doesn't actually address the problem itself.

    A more surgical approach should be taken.

    Microsoft has already shown their disinterest in desktop gadgets anyway, so it wouldn't surprise me if they are satisfied with simply leaving the feature disabled and unsupported entirely, forever.
  15. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +903

    The only thing I run is a system monitoring gadget, I might simply download something to check from the tray but... I'm way too lazy
  16. Ma_ga

    Ma_ga TS Rookie Posts: 39

    Or you could use your already trusted gadgets from a trusted source.

    I'm also think it's a strategy to start stripping windows 7 from features.
  17. spectrenad

    spectrenad TS Enthusiast Posts: 98   +18

  18. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,374   +69

    @Ma_ga: Like they stripped out the picture resizer that was in xp or the red eye remover from vista in 7. Why is defrag so inferior now? Microsoft, why do you reinvent the wheel each release of windows, and especially of items we had 30 years ago in mainframes? All of that is public domain code.
  19. Xclusiveitalian

    Xclusiveitalian TS Evangelist Posts: 714   +75

    No matter what, turn them off, there really useless and slow down your computer big time, especially during boot up

    Press start / Type in "Windows Features" / Click on "Turn windows features on or off" / Uncheck "Windows gadget platform"/ Click Ok
  20. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    My guess is they run under admin privileges and have so have automatic arbitrary execution rights.
  21. So MS is crippling Win7 to get people to move to Win8 it would appear. I smell a class action coming. I paid for the features of Win7, do I get a rebate for having features removed? MS is heading in the wrong direction. BTW, I use dual monitors both at work and home, and I like my gadgets.
  22. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,268   +437

    I use these 3 CoreTemp, Network Meter, Gpu Observer and don't plan on stopping.
  23. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,268   +437

    Buy and SSD :p
  24. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    For those who really need any type of monitoring tool or tools on your desktop, hard drive stats, CPU usage, RAM usage, Network speeds, both up and down and a wide range of other various monitoring tools. I would strongly recommend switching from Windows Gadgets and Sidebar, to a program called Rainmeter. I've been using it for about 7-8 years now and is one of the corner stones to my custom desktops.


    For what ever reason your a little leery about using something that you do not know, the web site I'm guiding you to have excellent information about the product, and included a wonderful "how to" guide.
  25. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +241

    That's kind of ridiculous, I think they meant downloaded gadgets, because I mostly use the one of the cost of the US dollar and the one of memory-CPU usage (generally to see quickly the memory usage without opening Resource Monitor or Task Manager).

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