How to Use Sidebar 32-bit Mode in Windows 7 and Windows Vista 64-bit Editions to Run Silverlight Gadgets

In 64-bit editions of Windows 7 and Windows Vista, the 64-bit Mode of Windows Sidebar auto-starts by default. That means the Sidebar Gadgets (Desktop Gadgets) that use Silverlight, do not run, as 64-bit edition of Silverlight isn’t available yet. For example, take the case of BBC News Gadget when run in Sidebar 64-bit Mode, indicates that it requires Microsoft Silverlight even though Silverlight is already installed.

Update: Silverlight 64-bit edition is available here. Look for End-User Runtime for Windows 64 bit in that page. In that case, you don’t need to use the workaround below.

This is one reason you may want to use the 32-bit Mode of Sidebar.

Running 32-bit Windows Sidebar at Startup

Click Start, type Regedit.exe and press {ENTER}

Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Run

Double-click Sidebar and change the value from:

C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe /autoRun


C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe /autoRun

Restart Windows.

This should start the x86 (32-bit) mode of Sidebar.exe, which you can verify using Task Manager.

And the BBC News Gadget should now work!

Registry Fix

To automate the above setting using REG files, download, unzip and run the file sidebar-x86-default.reg. To reverse the changes, run sidebar-x64-default.reg.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

3 thoughts on “How to Use Sidebar 32-bit Mode in Windows 7 and Windows Vista 64-bit Editions to Run Silverlight Gadgets

  1. Ya why use 32bit? I stay away stupid products like silverlight and my gadgets work fine on 64bit.
    Am I seeing a performace increase here or is this only for silverlight?

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