Hated by some, loved by others, the truth is that the Vista sidebar can be quite handy – that is, if you find the right gadgets to use with it. But what if you use XP instead of Vista? The answer is Vista Rainbar V4, a Vista sidebar clone that has been especially designed for Windows XP.
Vista Rainbar V4 looks very similar to the original sidebar and includes a bunch of very varied gadgets to get you started: analog and digital clocks, sticky notes, calendar, mail checker, CPU meter, RSS feed reader, weather tool and many more. You can also choose between different skins to customize the sidebar appearance and make it suit your desktop wallpaper.
The gadgets in Vista Rainbar V4 are easy to install, though it may not seem that intuitive at first sight. Just open the gadget menu by clicking on the plus sign on top of the toolbar and click on the gadget you want to add. It will open right on the desktop, from where you can drag and drop it on the sidebar. The gadget menu includes a link to download more, but it didn't work for me.
Vista Rainbar V4 is easy to install and uninstall, but unfortunately the configuration of gadgets is generally not that easy. The main sidebar's settings are based on an INI file (which is not the easiest for a novice user), the weather gadget requires the weather.com ZIP code for your city and the email checked configuration simply doesn’t work. All of the other gadgets though work perfectly fine without any configuration requirements.
Vista Rainbar V4 is a very attractive, fully customizable Vista-style sidebar you can use without having to give up Windows XP.