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Stop the Avast! desktop gadget in Windows

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An anti virus and anti spyware program is essential on Windows computers, especially if you connect to the internet and browse the web. They keep your PC safe by blocking malicious malware and preventing them from infecting the computer. Avast! produces some great security software and there are three versions for home users - Free Anti Virus, Pro Anti Virus and Internet Security. If you don't have any security software, or if you fancy a change, go to the Avast! website and download the free version (you can upgrade later). It's an excellent program, but it has one annoying feature. There is a desktop gadget in Windows 7 that you can't get rid of. It comes back even when you delete it! How and why is an interesting tale and here's how to stop that pesky desktop gadget from appearing.

Gadgets used to be displayed in the Sidebar in Windows Vista, but Windows 7 puts them on the desktop. It is simpler, easier to use and more convenient. To access desktop gadgets, right click en empty part of the desktop and select Gadgets. The gadget gallery is displayed and you can double click a gadget to add it to the desktop. The normal way to remove a gadget from the desktop is to move the mouse over it and then click the close cross in the top right corner. To remove a gadget from the gadget gallery - to uninstall it - just right click it in the gadget gallery window and select Uninstall.

This is all straightforward, but when you try this with the Avast! Free Anti Virus gadget it doesn't work and the gadget keeps coming back. Why?

If something appears every time you start Windows then it must be automatically loading with Windows. One of the best utilities for finding out what is loading with Windows is Autoruns. Run it and select the Sidebar Gadgets tab. Now I've got two gadgets, one I've added myself and the other is Avast!. The interesting thing is their locations, which is displayed in the last column. They are different. The one I added is stored at C:\Users \Roland \AppData \Local \Microsoft \Windows Sidebar \Gadgets... and the Avast! gadget is stored at C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Shared Gadgets...

You can disable the Avast! gadget and stop it running by clearing the tick box next to it in Autoruns. You can remove it completely by deleting its folder in C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\Shared Gadgets....

There are actually three locations for gadgets, there are Gadgets and Shared Gadgets folders in C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar and gadgets you've installed yourself at C:\Users \Roland \AppData \Local \Microsoft \Windows Sidebar \Gadgets... It's worth remembering this if you come across a similar gadget that you can't remove.

After disabiling the Avast! gadget with Autoruns, move the folder from the Shared gadgets folder to your personal one and it appears in the gadget gallery and you can turn it on and off just like the other gadgets.