When Windows Vista came out, Microsoft touted a great new
feature called Gadgets (originally mounted to the Sidebar in Vista but were
free-floating in Windows 7) which we were led to believe was a very innovative
and unique desktop feature. These
modular little programs hovered on your desktop doing a variety of little
functions like displaying the time, showing a mini calendar or even gave you
recent stock prices.
The truth is that several operating systems already had this
modular utility for some time. Despite
that many people welcomed the change (including yours truly) because it was
immensely helpful to have these pieces of code just delivering this content in
a small package.
Last week it was announced that Microsoft has found
vulnerabilities in these little modules and that they should be disabled to
protect your computer. Personally, I am
very disappointed because I get a lot out of these applications and I did some
research to see if there was a way to block this vulnerability.
The fact is, the blocking is only as good as the code used
to create the Gadget. Some of those
Gadgets are written by 3rd
parties and even the Microsoft-created
Gadgets have potential vulnerabilities.
Microsoft’s “baby with the bathwater” approach is unfortunate but without
resources to secure many thousand lines of code, I can understand the move.
Unfortunately I am left to advise to everyone that they disable
the features immediately to provide security on desktop computers. Thankfully there is a web page from Microsoft
that you can go to and have these features disabled without a lot of fuss. Please check out: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2719662
where you can have the features disabled.
Keep the link around in case they actually do fix Gadgets, because you
can also re-enable the feature.
Many articles were written about this and I provide them
below for your further reading:
MSN Tech Blog: http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/microsoft-tells-customers-disable-windows-sidebar-gadgets-879132