W8 Sidebar is a system monitor, task scheduler, Registry cleaner…
W8 Sidebar is a handy Windows 7/8 gadget which crams the maximum desktop-friendly power into its compact portable frame.
A simple system monitor displays your CPU and RAM usage, free drive space, upload and download speeds and external IP address, all on the same screen. Icons next to each section link to related areas, so the RAM monitor opens Task Manager, while clicking a drive icon opens that drive in Explorer.
A simple scheduler automatically displays a message, runs a program or opens a URL at the time of your choosing. This is very basic -- your task can only be triggered once a day -- but as W8 Sidebar is portable, you can at least keep your schedule with you, and that has some value.
An MFT-based (we think) search tool quickly locates files by their name (not content). It’s also basic, and has some obvious flaws (results don’t update as you type, or even if you press Enter -- you have to click Search). But again, it could be helpful when working on an unfamiliar PC.
A system cleaner locates and wipes junk files and orphaned Registry keys. It’s not CCleaner, but it’s not bad: you’re able to choose which Registry hives it searches (HKCU, HKCR, HKUS, HKLM), as well as back up any highlighted keys (or the entire Registry) before they’re deleted.
A “Computer Performance” module lists various system stats (last shutdown time, last logon time etc). It has sections listing your processes, services, installed applications and Windows startup programs, and you’re able to close, stop, uninstall or delete them with a click.
There are icons to shut down or restart your PC, log off, hibernate or sleep with a click, while an Auto Shutdown tool does the same at a specified time.
Your system uptime is also on display. A "Prevent Sleep" button ensures your monitor and computer will stay available, and there are one or two configuration options to help you get everything working (like the network adapter you’re monitoring for upload/ download speeds).
Some of these modules need work, and there are a few odd interface annoyances. We’re not sure why the sidebar can only be moved by dragging it from the bottom, for instance; if that’s by design, the area should be highlighted to help users discover it. Still, there’s a lot of features here, and if you’ll use two or three then W8 Sidebar might be worth a look.