I liked the idea of the SideBar since I first saw it in early Longhorn builds long before Apple had widgets. Back then the Sidebar was just that, and in some ways reminds me of the Charms Bar in Windows 8. (I think there could be more personalization there.) When Windows Vista was released the Desktop Gadgets in that SideBar were so cool. I enabled them right away and never shut them off until recently.
The Windows Gadgets were in Windows 8 up through the Release Preview but a recent post from Microsoft warns that someone could craft a Gadget that could harm your computer possibly gaining access to it. Microsoft recommends disabling the Gadgets and SideBar in Windows Vista and 7. I have been still running them as I have run the same Gadgets for years now. I installed the RTM version of Windows 8 recently and I have to report that the Gadgets are gone with no way to enable them.
I am a little sad to see them go but I know Microsoft’s thinking that the Live Tiles on the Start Screen are a replacement for them. Still farewell Desktop Gadgets RIP.