Group Policy behavior: Turn Off User Installed Windows Sidebar Gadgets RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I've been looking at the group policy settings in Windows Vista for the Windows Sidebar. According to information I've found the policy "Turn Off User Installed Windows Sidebar gadgets" should behave like this:

    • Turn Off User Installed Windows Sidebar Gadgets
      This policy provides administrators with the ability to block all gadgets not placed into the Shared Gadgets or Gadgets folders (in the Sidebar’s Program Files folder), both of which can only be modified by a user in the administrator group. Gadgets in the user’s directory will not display in the Gadget Gallery dialog or otherwise be allowed to run.

    If I copy gadgets to either c:\program files\windows sidebar\gadgets or c:\program files\windows sidebar\shared gadgets and I enable the policy "Turn Off User Installed Windows Sidebar Gadgets" unlike the behavior described above I'm unable to load/see those gadgets. They're simple ignored just as the ones that are in the users profile, which is normal.

    Any ideas? Is this normal behaviour? Is there something else that need to be done?

    Thanks in advance,


    Friday, January 5, 2007 7:25 AM

All replies

  • Yes, we recently became aware of an issue with that policy not behaving as we documented it. If you have a need to disable gadgets that are in the user's profile directory while still allowing for non-Windows gadgets, you can use the environment variable GADGETS_USER and point it at another folder, such as %programfiles%\Windows Sidebar\Shared Gadgets. As an added bonus, if that folder requires admin privs for modifications, users installing gadgets will see the installation fail.


    Friday, January 5, 2007 8:12 PM
  • Thanks for the workaround Brian.  I've added it to the Known Bugs list, #21
    Saturday, January 6, 2007 8:16 AM
  • Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the information.

    I've tried the work arround and it seems to work but there are some things I noticed while implementing it:

    Once the environment variable is set you're no longer able to install a gadget packaged in a cabinet file. You always get the following error message: This is not a valid gadget package. Futhermore I noticed that if the environment variable is pointing to either %programfiles%\Windows Sidebar\Shared Gadgets or %programfiles%\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets and you place a non-Windows gadget in one of these locations, the icon is shown twice in the interface. Therefore I pointed the environment variable to %programfiles%\<company name>\gadgets.

    Is this error message normal? I actually expected to be prompted for credentials instead of getting this error message. This might be very confusing for end users.

    Are there any plans to get this fixed? Is there going to be a hotfix available for this via PSS? Should I open a case with PSS?

    I personally would prefer to wait until a hotfix rather than implementing this work arround.



    Tuesday, January 9, 2007 8:52 AM
  • Good note about the gadget appearing twice - that would happen, so another folder would have a better result.

    The Sidebar never evelates itself for any operations, thus the reason that you will not see any credential dialog or UAC prompts. This is our intended behavior.

    I can't comment on if or when a change to this behavior may happen, so I'd encourage you to use the workarounds we've discussed here.



    Tuesday, January 9, 2007 7:39 PM