Windows 7 Sidebar Woes…

So in the not two distant past I recently upgrade my primary gaming rig to windows 7 in the hopes of reducing the footprint of windows on my memory and CPU usage. Of course along with the upgrade came a whole host of new changes to the windows operating system. Some examples of the changes include stupid little icons for the task bar instead of the full bar name, viewing the progress of a download from the task bar icon, changes in how the control panel looks, and of course the Windows Vista Sidebar no longer is a sidebar.

In Windows 7, The sidebar is still there, it just no longer has a “bar” to place your gadgets on. Instead, they free float all the time. You can “dock” them to the side of the screen with the neat little snap-to function the gadgets have, but the sidebar was nice because you could tell it to be ontop of windows all the time. Or at least, reserve that side of the screen so applications didn’t sit on top of it. In the end my problem was solved when I discovered the joys of using two monitors.

Of course the story doesn’t end there with the sidebar. One of my favorite gadgets is CPU Meter by also have a Network Meter which I enjoy thoroughly as well. But getting back to the point, the CPU meter was updated and my copy of CPU Meter informed me of this. I went ahead and tried to install the update. Unfortunately I ran across the problem of of the gadget not installing properly because some of the DLL’s it uses were locked, from use. Now, The easiest way would have been to restart the PC to unlock the DLL’s right? Wrong. I was being lazy and was listening to music on my PC and didn’t want to go through the 3-4 minute process it takes to restart my PC and get it up and running again. Plus I had Mikuru Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya as my desktop wallpaper (my wallpaper changes every time I login) and didn’t wish to lose her just yet.

So how would I solve this conundrum? Well the first thought that came to mind is to restart the Windows Sidebar Service. A cursory glance at my Services snap-in showed that there was no service for Windows Sidebar. Of course I could have missed it when I was rapidly scrolling through the list, but it was unlikely because I was only looking at services that were running. I even went the distance to search google for the service name, just in-case the sidebar was hiding under some inconspicuous name. Alas, I found nothing.

So, if it’s not a service… it must be a process running in the background! Away to the taskmanager I went and lo and behold there was the sidebar process running under the process’s tab. But wait… I don’t know where that process starts! No need to fear! A quick right click on the process and selecting “Opening File Location” solved that easily enough. From there all I needed to do was kill the process, restart it back up, and then install my update.

In the end I guess it was a little more complicated then restarting my PC, but Mikuru is still smiling at me as I write this article and that works for me.





If you are looking for the sidebar “service” you won’t find it. It’s a process, with the executable located at C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar on windows 7.