Vista SideShow

SideShow has always been a feature of Windows Vista, however I’ve never used it because I’ve never had a SideShow enabled device and such device are few and far between unless you just go out and buy one without real purpose, until today.

Ok so in actual fact it’s a while ago, but I today discovered the CTP Windows Mobile SideShow Client which means Windows Mobile can be connected via Bluetooth to your Vista box and function as a SideShow device.

Meaning? You can do all sorts of things, some of which are kind of pointless in my opinion especially being that as it’s Bluetooth based your at most of 10m away from your PC, however some of it is quite cool.

By default Vista ships with two SideShow gadgets: Inbox for Windows Mail and Windows Media Player. You can get more gadgets from most of which are from Microsoft themselves so you know they are safe.

I’ve installed an additional gadget for Office PowerPoint Remote. This is awesome because it allows you to control remotely a PowerPoint presentation much like these little pointer RF devices you can buy, however this one is free just by installing a little application and your using integrated functionality from the OS. Sweet!

I checked out the supplied Windows Media Player gadget and this is also really cool. It allows you to browse your media library and you start, stop and pause playback as well as change tracks and increase and decrease the volume, however one of the coolest things about this is that Windows Media Player doesn’t actually run in the foreground, it runs some kind of lightweight background media player instance so you don’t even see it running.

The thing that actually brought me to the SideShow client for Windows Mobile was the fact that there is a gadget for operating Vista Media Center (VMC) however Microsoft have yet to release a gadget update to support Fiji which is the TV Pack 2008 for Media Center which although is supposedly available for OEM’s can be found all over the internet forums related to VMC along with an updated driver codec to support H.264 which isn’t natively supported.

People reading this who don’t know where to get these files can contact me for links if desired as I know a lot of the links to places like RapidShare don’t work any longer.

The only thing I think would be a great gadget for SideShow is an one for operating Zune being that Zune requires it’s own software and I feel that Zune is better and has more eye candy than WMP so I would rather not use WMP at all although that said VMC is a eye candy front end for WMP although Zune also integrates for transferring Recorded TV, hence another reason for wanting VCE instead of Sky’s default offering. It’s just a shame Sky make it do damned hard to get VMC/MCE to work.


Richard works as a Cloud Consultant for Fordway Solution where his primary focus is to help customers understand, adopt and develop with Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and System Center. Richard Green is an IT Pro with over 15 years' of experience in all things Microsoft including System Center and Office 365. He has previously worked as a System Center consultant and as an internal solutions architect across many verticals. Outside of work, he loves motorbikes and is part of the orange army, marshaling for NGRRC, British Superbikes and MotoGP. He is also an Assistant Cub Scout Leader.