Windows Sidebar Styler

A new version of Windows Sidebar Styler available. Click here for more information.

Windows Sidebar Windows Sidebar Styler is an application which takes advantage of various technologies introduced in Windows Vista in order to provide extensions to the existing functionality of Windows Sidebar.

Custom styles allow users to customize the appearance of Windows Sidebar so that it fits the style of other UI elements, such as the Aero Glass colorization or an actual third party theme. Designers could save their visual styles for Sidebar so that other Windows users could apply them. Designers would not necessarily create these files on Windows Vista - Sidebar Styler is backward-compatible with legacy operating systems as well.

Gadgets - these mini applications which are managed by Windows Sidebar can now take full advantage of Windows Presentation Foundation - a powerful managed code-oriented framework for presenting rich visual compositions such as vector graphics, 3D drawing, animations and more. In addition to that, it could be used in conjunction with the Communication Foundation in order for the Gadgets to connect to services and provide frequently updated information.

Using compiled class libraries also helps protect the intellectual property of developers because the actual source code is not distributed.

The tight integration with the core of Windows Sidebar allows the application to extend the current set of features of Windows Sidebar by allowing users to customize its appearance and by providing a more powerful framework for building Gadgets and visualizing information.

Sidebar Styler: WPF Gadgets Sidebar Styler: Integration with Sidebar

Sidebar Styler: Main Application Window and Custom Styles Sidebar Styler: Main Application Window (Preview Mode) and Custom Styles Sidebar Styler: About

Designed for Microsoft Windows Vista. Written in C#, C++ and Managed C++. Compatible with Project “VAIO.”

Binaries: 32-bit, 64-bit v2.0.5/Jan 26th, 2007

Documents: Release Notes, A Guide to Writing WPF Gadgets, WPF Gadget Development Files

Notes: Sample gadgets and styles are included in the installation. The 3D CD Button and Chromeless Clock gadgets are designed by Nathan Dunlap. Debug builds are available upon request.

107 Responses to “Windows Sidebar Styler”  

  1. 1 ricktendo64

    WOW! Simply AWESOME!

    Cant wait for you to fix the links

  2. 2 Stanimir Stoyanov

    The files are now online.

    Note that VAIO Preview Build #2 is to be released shortly. WSS is not compatible with the initial release of VAIO.

  3. 3 Michael

    Awesome Stanimir, you did a very great job ;D !

  4. 4 Dan

    Awesome work there Stan :)

  5. 5 Dannydeman

    Very nice application, this is what everywone that liked the sidebar waited for. Thanks!

  6. 6 Chris

    Where can i find that MSN/Live Messenger gadget that you have there ?}
    Thanks in advance.

  7. 7 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Chris, there are four sample gadgets included with the release. They are located in the Sample Gadgets folder of your installation and a shortcut can be found in the Start Menu.

  8. 8 Fidoboy

    I’ve installed Sidebar Styler with VAIOXP pb2, it works fine, but… how can i set the sidebar appereance to show the black fadeout color to the right??



  9. 9 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Fidoboy, in order to do this, follow these steps:

    1. Open Windows Sidebar Styler.
    2. From the available image resources list, scroll down to the ‘Background‘ group.
    3. Copy the ‘Aero - Docked on the Right‘ resource and paste it to ‘None - Docked on the Right.’
    4. Do step 3 for ‘Left,’ too.
    5. You can save the style to disk or simply apply it now.

    I will make sure to include such a style for the next release.

  10. 10 cabotine

    is this an album cover gadegt on your screenshot?
    is it published anywhere? which mediaplayers are supported?

  11. 11 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Cabotine, it is the included Xaml 3D Test Gadget but enlarged.

  12. 12 J.B

    Awesome software…
    2 questions:
    When will the resize feature be available?
    And - is it possible somehow to make sidebar keep overlay transparency (showing part of the desktop wallpaper or other windows or items that are behind) even when we maximize windows? Tryed, but got no luck…
    It is or may become possible?

  13. 13 Stanimir Stoyanov

    J.B., I have planned on implementing resizing for the next release of the application. I am also considering including an option for what you suggested - yes, it would be possible.

  14. 14 J.B

    Nice, please include it!

  15. 15 Bert

    Great application. A good alternative to the buggy “Desktop Sidebar” out there. It will be interesting to see where this project is in a few months. Hopefully it’ll catch on! Thanks!

  16. 16 Koss

    This is just great! I am speechless, Congrats with such a nice release. Cant wait for future versions!

    PS: Is Stoyanov a russian last name?


  17. 17 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Koss: Yes, it is a rather common Slavic name. I, personally, am Bulgarian.

  18. 18 Snipez

    I installed it and the sie bar does not show up pnly sidebar styler shows up !!!

  19. 19 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Snipez, I need to have further details regarding your installation, OS, regional settings and any related third party applications or themes that you are using.

  20. 20 ChrisChan

    WOW! SO good Vista thanks @@

  21. 21 archmond

    wow.. that’s great.

  22. 22 Jack.Bee.Nimble

    am i the only one totally lost here as to what the heck this app really does?

  23. 23 Herby

    @ Jack: You can customize the appearance of Windows Sidebar you can create visual styles which you can share with other users.
    It also adds support for WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) Gadgets.

    @ Stanimir: Thanks for this great app,.. any updates /news?
    Can you implent png #20030 (the little border between ?€?Add Gadget?€? and the Back & Next buttons)?

  24. 24 swgiant

    hello, i only have Right and Left option under “options for display sidebar on this screen”, i would like it to display on the top of the screen, is there any way to let me do it?

  25. 25 Dr. X

    Any idea when a new version of Sidebar Styler will be available?

  26. 26 Devin

    Hi! I use the sidebar in VAIO and when i installed it, my sidebar would not launch. It caused and error and has to close, and does this every time.
    I need help. Please email me at metroid87706 (at) yahoo (dot) com with an answer.
    Thank you!

  27. 27 lee

    so good!?

  28. 28 Josh J

    THis link seems to be dead

  29. 29 sandeep


  30. 30 Jurgen

    Wow Stanimir this is exactly what I’m looking for….where can I get the Sidebar Styler ??

    Awesome work all around…You are a genie :)


  31. 31 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Jurgen, the download links are right after the ‘Binaries’ notice.

  32. 32 Jurgen


    hehehehe I finaly found the link and I’m downloading as I write back….Thanx man for such awesome toy :)

  33. 33 hema_000

    thx u so muchhhhhhhhhhh

  34. 34 Marko_grcich

    Can i set the Sidebar to be transparent, when Windows is not in Vista Environment (for example in classic or normal visual stile)?? Or at least change color of sidebar(don’t wanna that lousy gray one)

  35. 35 A. Sotelo

    Hello Simon, well first of all I would like to thank you for your awesome work, I think is an amazing piece of software.

    My petition for you is that maybe you could do something about the interface from Sidebar…
    Its pretty annoying to have all those giant gadgets in there all time.
    My idea is to create a Mac’s Dashboard-like application that hides Windows sidebar and then with a keystroke or pointing to a corner of the screen show us the gadgets just like Dashboard does.
    I think this could be made with the gadgets… Am I wrong?

    I’ve realized that you are a very talented programmer so I dare to ask you for this… I’m a programmer too, but my expirience obviously is way smaller than yours.

    I hope you have some free time to experiment with that…

  36. 36 A. Sotelo

    Sorry I’ve made a mistake and changed your name… Its so embarrasing… I apologize…

  37. 37 quik_silver_sam

    can u help me 2 find the background u posted in those sample pics above…

  38. 38 Alex Kraev

    Its nice to see that a fellow Bulgarian created this. Mersi mnogo brato. =]

  39. 39 frank

    I installed the sidebar styler but would like to know where it is.
    I don’t find it in programs or control panel.
    So where is it?

  40. 40 Burning

    Seems to be a problem with sfc.dll…when added to the sidebar folder it errors sidebar everytime on start im not sure why its doing this.

  41. 41 Windows vista features and requirements guide

    Is this side bar affect speed of windows vista as they are having high graphics .

  42. 42 motionfx

    Hi Stanimir,

    I can see a digital clock, a google search and App Launcher gadget in y our latest WinShine1.jpg style. Can u please tell me where I can find these, or release them if you made them? There seems to be a shortage of simple, small gadgets like the ones you have

  43. 43 Stanimir Stoyanov

    motionfx, the WinShine style is not designed by me but simply is made to be applied by WSS. According to WinCustomize its author is “Steel89″ whom you can contact at

  44. 44 Brandon

    Stanimir, this looks like a great tool although the only feature I would probably use is not available. I need to be able to resize the sidebar. Any word on when the new release will be available?

  45. 45 Wehere

    Wheres mthe download link?

  46. 46 Stanimir Stoyanov

    The download links are located right next to the “Binaries” label.

    Brandon, I am currently preparing v2.0.6 for release in August and it will definitely contain the ability to resize the Sidebar horizonally.

  47. 47 Gordon

    Hi, I like the tool, however i am trying to get rid of the black gradient on the sidebar but i cant figure out how to do this. i want it so the sidebar is invisiable (apart from the gadgets/icons) and the dark bit to only appear when the mouse is hovering over the sidebar. is it possible to do this ?. Thank you !

  48. 48 Gothicknight

    Ok the problem i am having is when i load WSS in a yellow bar just below User Interface Language i get the following error:

    An error has occurred while trying to load Windows Sidebar!

    I have installed it properly,i am using Windows XP Proffessional with SP2 with all the lastest windows updates.

    Another problem i am having is when i try and apply a sidebar, the following popup appers:

    Please select the directory of Windows Siderbar before applying a style.

    On my computer the directory for Sidebar is as follows

    C:\Program Files\Stanimir Stoyanov\Windows Sidebar Styler

    but when i point it to this location i get the following error

    A generic error has occured while loading the executable file.

    Could u pleasse try and ouk out what i am doing wrong as i am stumped.

    Thanx heaps and looking forward to putting this to use.

  49. 49 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Gordon, I presume you have already applied fully-transparent images for the default state of Sidebar. If so, simply apply the same images for the (Hover) state and then you should have a transparent Sidebar appearance.

    Gothicknight, the error appears because the directory you have pointed it to is not correct–it should be the one where Windows Sidebar is installed, not Sidebar Styler. Since you are using Windows XP you must have VAIO and the Windows Sidebar binaries installed, just point the application to the correct directory.

  50. 50 Gordon

    Thank you for the fast reply, i made a 100% transparent picture to replace the normal look and another image for the mouse-over using Ultimate Paint and it now looks great. Thanks alot for the help ! I hated the old look, just made the whole screen seem dull.

  51. 51 Jurgen


    are there any good Sidebar skins out there ?? Wanna add some more skins to choose from :)
    Thanks Stan you rock :)

  52. 52 coach

    thank you

  53. 53 Pascal


    I’m realy happy with the new resize feature! But I have one problem……I can’t find it?

    Maybe i’m a noob, but I can’t seem te find an option to resize my sidebar.

  54. 54 Stanimir Stoyanov

    Pascal, simply right-click on the Sidebar and select “Unlock” after which resize it just like any other window. You can “lock” the bar to fix its size.

  55. 55 Neomazer19

    i can resize the sidebar but do the icons resize themselves because in mine it just shoves them off screen

  56. 56 shattrdOblivion

    Bummer… not working on my VAIO. =(

  57. 57 Zerg

    Very Nice Site. Thanks! Payday Loans

  58. 58 Greg

    I’m having an issue where a background i got off of wincustomize loaded just fine. However when i try to load a different theme, it doesn’t change. I tried uninstalling twice, removed everything from the directory, and when I reinstall that previous background is already selected by default even when I had deleted the files out. any ideas?

  59. 59 Carlo

    is there a way to have a custom sidebar style like the product red of dell and M$??

  60. 60 oclenj

    Imagine czk4490 loop. Froogle has an abcba53fe4 items checker.

  61. 61 mohammed

    wo0ow so nice i love it

  62. 62 Felix
  63. 63 Mehmet

    I Download Windows Sidebar Styler but An Error Has Occurred While Trying To Load Windows Sidebar Error Message . Why ?

  64. 64 dejco

    can you make in the next release option to remove tray at the top please

  65. 65 sebastian

    Wave,i could not install the item,and wanted to know if i could help .This is my mail

    “ ”

    i sent a reply porfabor

  66. 66 Thuc

    so good, i want it

  67. 67 daf

    I dont understand what’s the Xaml 3D Test Gadget!!

  68. 68 Leomate

    The program awesome. but my sidebar not resizable and fail to activate resizeable sidebar plugins in right click. I am using windows xp with alky 1.1 and sidebar from vista sp1

  69. 69 jon

    Is this compatible with Windows 7? I tried and couldn’t get it to work or recognize the WPF gadget.

  70. 70 Gabriele

    Awesome program!
    But I would like to make the sidebar’s backgound transparent… Can you tell me how to do this?

  71. 71 Kitana

    Hi…When I try to open the Sidebar styler,it says “an error occorred while trying to load windows sidebar” I’ve tried using the correct directory and everything…It still says “A generic error has occorred.”
    Please help :(

  72. 72 leomate

    If you using sidebar.exe from vista in win7 still work

  73. 73 fuck you


  74. 74 ???‚?°?€?° ?—?°?????€?°

    ???°???‚ ?“???»???? ???‚?°?€???? ?—?°?????€?‹ ?????????????€???΅?‚ ???€?΅???? ???°???‚???? ?? ?????€?????΅ ???‚?°?€?° ?—?°?????€?°, ?????????° ?»?????? ???‰?΅?‚ ?? ?“?????»?? ???»???????????‡?΅?‚?°?????΅ ???‚?°?€?°-?—?°?????€?° ?? ???»?????°: ???????????‚??, ???????΅??, ?°???‚???±?????‹, ???€?????‚?‹, ?±?°?????? ?? ?‚?°?? ???°?»?΅?΅.

  75. 75 Smithb58

    I’m seeking weblogs which all have fantastic guidance on what’s popular and specifically what the top rated makeup is.. defbeeebaf

  1. 1 » Posts » Windows Sidebar Styler
  2. 2 Eric Nelson - Development for .NET Framework 3.0 for ISVs
  3. 3 Windows Sidebar Styler » Enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0 resources
  4. 4 David Boschmans Weblog
  5. 5 Windows Vista Sidebar Styler - Error
  6. 6 The CTRAN weblog » Blog Archive » Windows Sidebar Styler
  7. 7 Views on Windows Vista
  8. 8 Bitelia » Windows Sidebar Styler, personalizando el Sidebar de Vista
  9. 9 Aero Maxclear Theme for Windows Vista
  10. 10 Windows Vista Sidebar Styler
  11. 11 Free Vista Theme - Aero Plex , MaxClear 3 and Aero Unified Vista Theme
  12. 12 5 Nice NEW Vista Themes at Vista Underground Zone
  13. 13 Youvin Blog » Blog Archive » Vista - Tips, Tricks & Tweaks
  14. 14 Dev-Toast » Blog Archive » Ultimate Vista Tweaks and Tips - Neowin
  15. 15 Meu desktop | KATIERO
  16. 16 KATIERO » Blog Archive » Thoosje Vista Sidebar
  17. 17 Modifique a apar??ncia da sua Sidebar! « Geral PC
  18. 18 KATIERO » Desktop atual, Longhorn modificado!
  19. 19 How to customize Windows Vista sidebar | Web Talk
  20. 20 Ultimate Live?„? - O Seu Di??rio de Inform??tica. | Deskmod: Maxclear V3.1 Theme for Vista.
  21. 21 » Blog Archive » Friday Relax
  22. 22 Deskmod: Maxclear V3.1 Theme for Vista. | Ultimate Live?„?
  23. 23 Maxclear V3 Theme for Vista |
  24. 24 sn says » Windows Sidebar Styler
  25. 25 ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? 32 ? 64 ?? - ??????? ???
  26. 26 Theme your sidebar: Windows Sidebar Styler | keyongtech
  27. 27 Computeric?? » Blog Archive » Optimizare & Tweak pentru Windows Vista
  28. 28 Optimizare & Tweak pentru Windows Vista | Computeric??
  29. 29 Windows XP to Vista tutorial | Logic Club
  30. 30 Take Control Of Vista - Tutorials And Tweaks. |
  31. 31 Vista Temas?± Maxclear V3 ?°ndir
  32. 32 Maxclear V3.1 Theme for Vista

Leave a Reply

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Stanimir Stoyanov is a programmer, four-time Microsoft MVP, and Windows enthusiast.



Instagram Feed