Desktop gadgets are simple little tools that add simple little features to the desktop in Windows 7 and Vista. Simple, yes, but extremely useful. The most popular gadgets are clocks, calendars weather displays, Web feeds--stuff you need often and want fast. Clocks make great gadgets because there are so many ways to improve on the box-standard Windows system tray clock. We took a peek at ActiveX Clock Gadget, a free digital clock display that automatically changes hues. It works on 32-bit editions of Windows Vista and 7 with up-to-date ActiveX controls, or you can download a version for Windows XP.
We downloaded ActiveX Clock and installed it automatically using the Windows Gadget Installer, which should be the default option. We right-clicked the desktop and selected Gadgets to open the gadgets manager. We right-clicked ActiveX Clock and selected Add (the other choice is Uninstall). The clock appeared on our desktop. It's a compact affair displaying the time, a.m. or p.m., and the day and date in a window resembling a display device. The background color slowly shifted through the spectrum, a nice effect that takes advantage of improved color rendering in Windows. Right-clicking the clock display let us choose Display Seconds or an About message. Enabling the seconds display replaced the date and day display with two small digits that counted up the seconds to each minute.
ActiveX Clock has an attractive effect, but we wish it gave us more options. For one thing, we'd really like to see the flashing colon that separates hours and minutes go away, and perhaps choose a single color to stick with, not to mention changing the color of the digits. But if you're looking for a simple digital clock gadget with a nice effect that's a bit different from the usual fare, check out ActiveX Clock Gadget.