How to Fix Sidebar Crash “Windows Desktop Gadgets has Stopped Working”

Is your Windows Sidebar (Windows Desktop Gadgets) crashing after adding a third-party gadget, with the error "Windows Desktop Gadgets has stopped working" or "Windows Sidebar has stopped working" (Windows Vista) at every start? You can stop the offending gadget from loading by editing the Windows Sidebar Gadgets settings file. Here are the instructions, which apply to Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

If Sidebar.exe process is running, you wouldn’t be able to write to its settings file. Launch Task Manager (taskmgr.exe), select the sidebar.exe process and terminate it if it’s running.

Click Start, type the following path in the Search box and hit ENTER.

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar

(You can type it in the Run dialog as well.)

The above location is where the desktop gadgets store their configuration information, in a file named Settings.ini

First, make a copy of Settings.ini

Double-click Settings.ini to open it in Notepad.

Configuration information for the last installed desktop gadget is usually located at the end of the INI file. Using the PrivateSetting_GadgetName line as the hint, locate the corresponding [Section #], select all lines underneath and delete it. Trim any blank lines that may have resulted from the deletion.

Then, move to the top of the INI file, and delete the Section# line that references the offending gadget. As you’ve removed the entries in [Section 5], also delete the following line:

Section4="5"

Trim any blank lines that may have resulted from the deletion, and save the Settings.ini file.

Right-click on the Desktop, and click Gadgets. This starts the Sidebar.exe process and shows the gadgets listed in the Settings.ini file.

[Windows Vista Users] The above UI is unavailable in Windows Vista. If using Windows Vista, manually launch Sidebar.exe from Start, Search box or via the Run dialog. This starts the Windows Sidebar and loads the previously added gadgets, except the offending one.

Reset Windows Sidebar (Desktop Gadgets) Configuration to Defaults

If you don’t want to go through all the hassle, simply rename or delete the Settings.ini and restart Sidebar.exe. It creates a brand new Settings.ini file, that means the customizations for your Sidebar/gadgets will be lost and you need to add the gadgets manually and reconfigure again.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com 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.

32 thoughts on “How to Fix Sidebar Crash “Windows Desktop Gadgets has Stopped Working”

  1. I was experiencing this problem and it appears that, for some weird reason, the clock and CPU gadgets don’t work properly.

    I completely deleted the Gadgets folder and Settings.ini file in the %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar folder and launched gadgets.

    I added the calendar gadget, no problem. I tried adding the Clock and it crashed as soon as I dropped it.

    Repeat process, add CPU gadget, crash again. So now, I just have the Calendar gadget.

  2. my desktop gadget not opening following problem display
    Problem Event Name: BEX
    Application Name: sidebar.exe
    Application Version: 6.1.7600.16385
    Application Timestamp: 4a5bc613
    Fault Module Name: StackHash_c199
    Fault Module Version: 0.0.0.0
    Fault Module Timestamp: 00000000
    Exception Offset: 02830070
    Exception Code: c0000005
    Exception Data: 00000008
    OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1
    Locale ID: 1033
    Additional Information 1: c199
    Additional Information 2: c1996e8e9aa95be2765300e145170d5c
    Additional Information 3: 535f
    Additional Information 4: 535f43a898aa679f0971040167d24860

  3. I don’t seem to have a Settings.ini file? Just the 3 files above? Tried Sidebar.exe but no change? Still will not display gadgets. Thanks! L.Bingo

  4. Just type in d search box “windows sidebar” & u’ll c dat in d suggestions a folder ‘gadget’ will appear. Just double click on it & u’ll c a list of folders of installed gadgets. Just delete those folders which u think is d problem & then run d gadget on d desktop. kaboom!!! It simply works :-)

  5. Wow, I was trying to find it from many place. But with only this i have fixed my problem. Thanks a lot…

  6. I have followed the instructions, but sidebar.exe still crashes! Does this mean anything?

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
    Application Name: sidebar.exe
    Application Version: 6.1.7601.17514
    Application Timestamp: 4ce7a1c7
    Fault Module Name: jscript9.dll
    Fault Module Version: 9.0.8112.20544
    Fault Module Timestamp: 4eb34dce
    Exception Code: c0000005
    Exception Offset: 000000000000a23b
    OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.1
    Locale ID: 4105
    Additional Information 1: a2c0
    Additional Information 2: a2c06fe3a46e3d2ff006b77803147f9a
    Additional Information 3: a04c
    Additional Information 4: a04c61e8c89541aca5d017ec4f8d9fb7

  7. I have deleted previous installed gadget as you suggest but still cannot fix the issue.. Should I delete the copy of Setting.ini file or need to keep it as such in the folder. Awaiting your response

  8. I’ve been searching for tons and tons of solution regarding this problem and you sir have saved me. You have my gratitude.

  9. Thanks..my gadgets appear again..
    I have try many setting and failed, …but it works…
    thank u very much…u’re the best :)

  10. Thank you,it works I can not believe it everything back my gadget is back WAWOOOOOOO like magic

  11. this is the best guide in the whole google, thanks man!
    i have try qith features off\on and Sidebar \ Settings it didn’t work. But this did ;)
    thanks again cheers

  12. TRY THIS :: go to : %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar and double click on setings.ini and DELETE ALL THAT TEXT , save and the gadgets will work 100% :)

  13. Thank you very much for the help. Your advice was laid out clearly, with step-by-step illustrations. THAT is the way IT advice should function.

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