What is sidebar.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the sidebar.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

Click to Run a Free Scan for sidebar.exe related errors

Sidebar.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with sidebar
Sidebar.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as Windows Sidebar or Windows Desktop Gadgets or Windows-Minianwendungen belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Windows Sidebar or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows by Microsoft ( or Siemens Industry.

Description: The original sidebar.exe from Microsoft is an important part of Windows, but often causes problems. Sidebar.exe is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files". Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 1,475,584 bytes (28% of all occurrences), 1,233,920 bytes and 34 more variants. 
The program has a visible window. The sidebar.exe file is a Microsoft signed file. The application starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: Run, DEFAULT\Run, User Shell Folders, DEFAULT\Runonce, MACHINE\Run, MACHINE\User Shell Folders). Sidebar.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 6% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: You can uninstall 8GadgetPack or Windows Sidebar, or try to get help from the software vendor. Click on 8GadgetPack or Windows Sidebar in the Windows Control Panel (Software or Programs section) to uninstall it, or click on or to visit the vendor's website.

Recommended: Identify sidebar.exe related errors

Viruses with the same file name

Is sidebar.exe a virus? No, it is not. The true sidebar.exe file is a safe Microsoft Windows system process, called "Windows Sidebar". However, writers of malware programs, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans deliberately give their processes the same file name to escape detection. Viruses with the same file name are such as Infostealer or Trojan.Gen (detected by Symantec), and Application.BitCoinMiner.EW (detected by F-Secure).
To ensure that no rogue sidebar.exe is running on your PC, click here to run a Free Malware Scan.

How to recognize suspicious variants?

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as sidebar.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the sidebar.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

It slows your computer down to a crawl! if you are just using your computer and all of the sudden the entire OS seems sluggish go into your process manger and stop sidebar.exe
for universal ghost
High chance of being a trojan, but unable to confirm at this time.
Its not dangerous but it does cause severe system slowdown
  Max D  
This is Windows Gadgets for Windows Vista/7, but if you have XP and you have sidebar.exe, it's most likely to be a virus!
Sidebar monitors what gadgets are running. entering "sidebar" in program search opens the monitor window, allowing you to deactivate running gadgets
if the process is in folder "C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar" its not malicious and related to the windows 7 gadgets, the process starts when i open the gadget window or a gadget itself and automatically goes away when i close it (until a gadget is open, the process will not disappear) TommyTheNice
Sidebar.exe is a process that makes your Start menu work. But it can also be a malicious backdoor trojan. Usually safe, but virus scan everything you downloaded if feeling suspicious.
  John the Computer Nerd  
More comments can be found here:
    (further information)

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of sidebar.exe: based on 56 votes with 9 reviews. 26 users think sidebar.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 5 users think it's probably harmless. 10 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 7 users suspect danger. 8 users think sidebar.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 9 users don't grade sidebar.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving sidebar issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with sidebar. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the sidebar.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

sidebar.exe [all]