Gadgetarian is a free utility that will let you enjoy your Windows 7 gadgets even on the desktop of Windows 8 and 8.1.
I like Windows 8, but disabling gadgets is something I can’t agree with. Since I’m not all day at the Start screen watching the tiles, but I use the Desktop environment, I need my gadgets.
Gadgetarian adds gadget support on Windows 8 in a couple of seconds. You won’t need to restart your PC, just right click on the desktop to find the well known “Gadgets” option, along with “Personalize” and “Screen Resolution”.
The setup includes 14 popular free gadgets, but you can always come here to download more. All gadgets are absolutely safe and free.
Note that Gadgetarian is not a separate program, it just enables the Windows native gadget functions, so that you can use all the Windows gadgets you are familiar with. To install new gadgets, just run the .gadget files. If you have a gadget as a folder (also named .gadget), paste this gadget-folder in C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets (you need first to configure Explorer to show protected system files and folders, otherwise the “Windows Sidebar” folder won’t be visible).
Sometimes I like to view my wallpapers without any gadget on top of them. For this reason I use this light but powerful freeware called Gadgibility, that lets me easily hide and show (toggle on and off) all gadgets, without losing their settings, which is the most important.