University of Southern California

Windows Vista and 7 Users Advised to Disable Sidebars and Gadgets

Posted on by beltzer

Microsoft has released a security advisory that urges users with computers running the Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating systems to turn off their Windows Sidebar and Gadgets due to a serious security risk that exploits these functions.

The Windows Sidebar appears as a vertical bar at the side of your desktop. This bar contains Gadgets, which are mini-programs such as a clock, a news headline feed, and a weather reporting program, among others.

Microsoft says that hackers could use certain insecure Gadgets to run malicious code on your computer, allowing them to take control of your computer. Since Microsoft does not currently have a patch to fix these security holes, they recommend that users discontinue using the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets completely.

For more information on the security risk posed by running Windows Sidebar and Gadgets and for information on how to disable these functions, see the Microsoft Security Advisory on this issue.

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