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Fixing the Vista Sidebar Clock

Sharon, from Nevada asks:

I have the Vista Premium Home Operating System. I used to have a clock that I downloaded from the Microsoft sidebar site. It worked for about 1 1/2 years. Now all of a sudden, it won’t work. I have tried other clocks on my sidebar and experience the same problem. It sets up perfectly and within a few minutes it stops. Can you tell me how to correct this problem? All of my other side bar items are working correctly.

Sharon, for what it’s worth, you’re not alone. Many people appear to be having similar problems with their Vista sidebar gadgets (particularly their clocks). I found several potential causes, along with recommended solutions for each. The cause that appeared to be the most common, and the one that required the least disruptive solution, is one involving Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).

Apparently, Windows IE8 updates are occasionally wreaking havoc with Vista sidebar gadgets, so we will address that issue. This will involve uninstalling IE8 so, if you don’t have another browser installed, you may want to consider installing another one before going any further. You’ll find links to three different browsers below. All are free and all work very well.

Opera [1]

Click the Start button and select Control Panel


In the Control Panel, under Programs, select Uninstall a Program. If your Control Panel doesn’t look like the one below, click on Control Panel Home in the upper left.


Once you’ve arrived at the Programs and Features window, in the Tasks pane on the left, click the link, View installed updates.


In the list of updates, look for Windows Internet Explorer 8 (the list is in alphabetical order). Double click on that.


You will be asked, Are you sure you want to uninstall this update?. Click Yes.


If this solves your problem, you can then reinstall IE8, and hope the problem doesn’t reappear, or you can just switch to whichever browser you installed earlier. Personally, I have 3 different browsers installed, and use them at different times, as some seem to perform better under different conditions. You may also want to try the Beta version of IE9.

I hope this helps. Thanks for the question, Sharon.