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26 Windows SideShow

Windows SideShow is a new technology developed by Microsoft to enable real-time viewing of information, data, and media from your computer, on secondary displays and mobile devices. For example, you could check your email, contacts, and appointments without turning on your main computer.

Windows SideShow is available in all Vista editions except Home Basic.

Compatible Devices

Devices and products compatible with this technology should have a Windows SideShow logo displayed on the box.

The following are a few examples of devices that could support Windows SideShow:

  • Laptop lid displays, as shown in Figure 3.28
    Figure 3.28

    Figure 3.28 Example of a laptop with external Windows SideShow-compatible display; courtesy of ASUS Computer, Inc.

  • Keyboards
  • Mobile phones
  • Digital picture frames, as shown in Figure 3.29
    Figure 3.29

    Figure 3.29 Example of a Windows SideShow-compatible digital picture frame; courtesy of I-Mate, PLC.


Gadgets (or add-ons) give Windows SideShow devices their functionality. Windows Mail and Windows Media Player are two gadgets that are automatically included with Windows Vista. Using the Windows Mail gadget, for example, allows you to view your email messages from Windows Mail on your Windows SideShow device.

There are many more gadgets you can install for additional functionalities, such as the following:

  • Picture viewers
  • Weather applications (such as WeatherBug)
  • Feed and RSS readers
  • Support for email services (such as GMail)
  • Stock market tickers

Keep in mind that the compatibility of gadgets is dependent upon the Windows SideShow device.

Installing and Setting Up Devices

For Windows SideShow devices separate from your computer, you must install/set up the device with your computer. You should follow the vendor or manufacturer directions. Then after the device installation, you can customize your device and configure the gadgets.

Here's how to access the Windows SideShow settings:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. Double-click the Windows SideShow icon.
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