How-To Listen To Pandora As A Desktop Gadget In Windows 7

Pandora is an online music streaming service that has several cool apps you can use with Windows.

Update: Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft. If you want a similar experience on Windows 10, install Pandora as a PWA.

Pandora Widget

Do you love listening to Pandora but hate the fact that you have to leave your browser open?  Countless times my favorite song has been playing only to be promptly interrupted when I accidentally closed the wrong Firefox window.  One of the ways to bring Pandora “beyond the browser” is to run it as a Gadget in Windows 7 or Vista.

As a gadget, Pandora will never be interrupted by browser mishaps again.  It will run in a small window (approx. 130 x 300 pixels) directly on your desktop.  The gadget retains nearly all the same functionality of the web app, and I find that its minimalistic approach is immensely efficient.

pandora windows 7 gadget


How to Set Up Pandora As A Gadget On Windows 7

1. Download the Pandora gadget from

download pandora gadget windows 7

2. Run the downloaded .gadget file and Install it.

install pandora gadget windows 7

That’s all there is to it.  Once installed you should be able to run it and immediately start listening to music! Well usually. In my case, I ran into a few issues, and I’ll show you how to solve them.

The gadget requires Flash version 9,0,115,0 or greater.

Flash is no longer supported by Microsoft on Windows 10. Check out how to uninstall Flash from Windows 10 if you still have it. Get rid of it as it’s a security risk.

If you see this message, there are two possible reasons.  Let’s look at the first.

flash error pandora gadget windows 7

Since this is a Windows 7 gadget, it has to use the same Flash plug-in installed on Internet Explorer.  If you’re like me and you only use Firefox or Chrome, then there is a good chance that your Internet Explorer Flash is way outdated.

To fix this, Open up Internet Explorer and visit to update it.
Alternatively, click here for the Flash direct download link,  no Adobe DLM (download manager) required.

The second reason why you’ll see this is you’re running a 64-bit operating system.  Microsoft didn’t add 64-bit support for Flash-based gadgets in Windows 7 or Vista, which is lame.  Fortunately, we can work around this problem by running the 32-bit sidebar at startup, which is supported.

How To Fix The Windows 7 64-bit Pandora Gadget And Run The Sidebar In 32-bit Mode

3. In Windows 7, browse to the following folder or just open Explorer and paste this location in the address bar:

C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartup folder

Once you’ve located this folder, Right-Click an empty spot and Select New > Shortcut.

new shortcut to run windows 7 sidebar in 32 bit mode

4. The Create Shortcut window should pop up.  In the location box, Type or Paste in:

C:Program Files (x86)Windows Sidebarsidebar.exe

Press Next.

sidebar location in windows 7 for 32-bit on 64-bit

5. On the next window Name the shortcut whatever you like and then click Finish.

name a shortcut in windows 7

6. You can confirm that the shortcut is in the correct location from your Start Menu.  Click the Windows 7 Start Menu Orb and then Select All Programs > Startup, the new shortcut should be there.

startup folder for 32bit sidebar windows 7

7. Now that the shortcut is in place, Close all of your currently open gadgets (including the Pandora gadget).

close all windows 7 gadgets including pandora

8. Once all of the gadgets close, Restart your computer.

restart windows 7 computer

9. When your computer boots back up, you should be ready to rock. Startup the Pandora gadget and Click Connect to start.  If you have an account, you can log in; if you don’t, it will let you create one.

connect button to start pandora gadget windows 7

  • The memory footprint it uses is small in comparison to the strain the web app puts on your browser.
  • It’s tiny and works very similar to the iPhone app.
  • It’s never interrupted by anything except for computer shutdown or loss of internet connection.
  • It starts with your computer, no more delay waiting for your browser to load up.  You get to listen to your music instantly.

pandora gadget windows 7 is groovy


Even though the Pandora gadget can’t minimize, you can make it fade out by changing the Opacity in the right-click context menu.  The screenshot below shows it set to 20%.  For groovy overlay effect, mix different Opacity with the “Always on top” option.

pandora gadget windows 7 opaciity and always on top trick

Any questions? Post a comment below! We’d love to hear about any other groovy techniques you might know for listening to Pandora or other Internet radio.



  1. EpicArnold

    Thanks for this article. I have to say that the desktop gadget is 100 THOUSAND TIMES BETTER than running Pandora in your browser. God, it lags the browser soo bad. But the desktop gadget is sleek, small, and sexy. It’s like having an iPod nano on my desktop. I took your advice and adjusted the settings to Opacity -> 20% and enabled Always on TOP, so it just floats almost invisible above everything so I can change songs and what not rather easily.

    SO a groovy thanks from an even happier Pandora fan here – had no idea this even existed before I read this post.

  2. Daniel Hudson

    Windows 7 Pandora Gadget automatically launches about 10 Pandora Web sessions, each playing music. Thats no good – not to mention that I can’t listen to 10 stations at once.


    • Evan

      Daniel I am having the same problem but its only two browser windows. Have you found a solution for this?

      • Narg

        There are multiple ‘Pandora’ gadgets. Make sure you are getting the correct one…

  3. Narg

    “Microsoft didn’t add 64-bit support for flash based gadgets in Windows 7 or Vista”

    Wow, you are way off base. Microsoft doesn’t make or support Flash. That’s Adobe. Adobe is the one being a problem here, NOT Microsoft. Get your facts straight!

  4. cbebop

    Yup its Adobe not Microsoft thats responsible for 64bit flash gadgets not working. Anyways now that Adobe has released a beta version of 64bit flash, u should have no problem using the default 64bit Windows sidebar.

  5. Narg

    Yep, saw that yesterday. Hell hath froze over :)

    • MrGroove

      hmm…. flash on the iPad / iPhone next…? :)

  6. Jack Hunt

    I am running the Pandora Gadget on a 32-bit Win7 1.4 Mzh Pentium M laptop (6-7 years old) on a wireless system that downloads at about 1/2 the speed of my wired DSL while I have open 3 internet windows, a running anti-spy program session, a clock Gadget & a calendar Gadget plus a CPUID program. Pandora has not missed a beat. I don’t have a lot of resource power to give so, obviously the Pandora Gadget does not need a lot of resources to work and has worked flawlessly for me on Win7. I can close all of my internet windows and Padora continues to work. I run it “always on top” and like 100% opacity. About the only thing the Gadget does not have that the full Pandora Window has is the ability to add additional programs to an existing Pandora radio station. I have to go back to the regular Pandora Window. (You can still add stand alone stations from the Gadget.) It also will not let me set up a quick mix from the Gadget & won’t show what stations are in the quick mix. It does not have a stop/start button but does have pause & of course the Gadget can be closed. As is, Pandora & the Gadget are super deals. Give me the items mentioned plus the ability to set multiple Quick Mixes (Q1, Q2, Q3) & the Pandora Gadget would be almost perfect.

  7. Eric

    Don’t bother with any of the Pandora widgets. Just install the freeware Desktop app OpenPandora. It’s much better.
    Get it here:

  8. William

    i wasn’t able to find the file.
    can you write down the steps of how to reach the file to create the shortcut?

  9. ButtheadCDXX

    This worked for me as I am using a 64bit version of win 7 home Premium on my laptop, but the outlook didn’t look like the images you posted with this fix. My fixed version doesn’t have any of the similarities that the actual Pandora gadget is supposed to have bu that it works. Also I am able to enlarge it a bit then make it to the size of the original gadget. And there is a stop button on a black bar at the bottom of the gadget that when pressed turns the window black with the word Pandora in the middle then when pressed again it reloads the last station you had it on. It’s basically a small version of a web page because it still has the full on commercials instead of just the voice adds like the 32bit gadget and there’s no web address bar.

  10. Evan Sullivan

    Can you STOP Pandora from playing right away? I don’t want it to, I want to control when it starts.


  11. Jeremy

    one word… EPIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Zak

    For whichever reason.. I am not able to create a new shortcut when I right click in the folder, I am only able to create a new folder. I have full administrator rights. What could be the problem here? Thanks

  13. cory

    thanks for pointing out this gadget. I think it’s time pandora updates their page to say “windows 7” gadget instead of vista. I had no idea there was a gadget anyway. this IS a million times better than using the browser.

  14. Tim

    Hey Zak, follow the instructions Pandora has on their site, you have to create the shortcut a different way. I was having the same issue, and just found this. It did work exactly like it’s supposed to. I didn’t restart my computer though, just the sidebar. Enjoy.

    • Sin Shadow Fox

      How do you restart sidebar only?

  15. Ashley

    I just wanted to say thank you cause my gadget wasn’t not working for weeks and I kept updating the flash player and it didn’t do anything, so finally today i decided to google some help and came across your site and the 2nd reason was why it wasn’t working… So thank you for bringing my pandora back I sincerly missed it, homework is not the same without it…
    Your fellow follower, Ashley

  16. Randy

    Thanx Ashley. Downed the gadget from the supplied link and it worked just fine. No having to update flash or anything.

  17. pennay

    this will be great

  18. music lessons

    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!

  19. Bill

    I really like the gadget, except for one thing. My computer will not got to sleep if I leave the gadget open, but pause the stream. This means I have to remember to exit the gadget.

    Anyone else having sleep problems?

    Windows 7 SP1, 64-bit.

  20. Alex

    Ok, I’m really jammed on the shortcut making part. I can only make a folder. And when i went to the Pandora website, which was recommended, it didn’t help at all. Help?

    • Sin Shadow Fox

      I ran into the same problem. What I did was go to the program you want to make a shortcut of, right click on it, select create shortcut and it will say you can’t make a shortcut here would you like to put the shortcut on your desktop. Say yes then move the shortcut from your desktop to the folder in question.

  21. smcotncandie

    Thank you soooo much. I have been trying for days to set Pandora on my desktop and it would not allow me too. With your instructions it took me less than 5 seconds.

  22. phatton

    Ok the gadget works fine until I shut it down. I haven’t been able to put a short cut on my desktop for it. How do I get it to start back up again without having to download it again?

  23. r-bads

    Downloaded gadgaet and installed it on a 64 bit system with no problems at this time but it is great to be able to listen to pandora with out opening a browser. Now if it can have a icon to load it again.

    • r-bads

      UP Date – Went to the download folder and clicked on the pandora file. Then a window was opened in the gadget box. Found pandora it in the gadget box and it is now on the desktop.

      • Austin Krause

        Glad you figure it out! In the future you can easily access the Gadgets box by right-clicking the Desktop and selecting Gadgets from the context menu.

        Thanks for reading groovyPost!

  24. kaushimk

    working !!!! thanks ,and It doesn’t come on start menu or in desktop shortcuts ,but I just right clicked on desktop and it gives “Gadgets ” when I click that , there it is .

  25. Orlando Cerda

    Easy to follow except there are no backspaces (in the running in 32bit mode section) which might confuse a few readers out there. I do like that the gadget has its own sound mixer so I can lower that and higher my programs (games) while I work (game).

  26. Richard

    Surprisingly, this little widget still works for Windows 7. I just downloaded it, updated flash for IE (I use Chrome so not surprised this wasn’t up to date) restarted the widget and I was good to go once I signed in. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a clean little player instead of having a web tab open.

  27. David

    Great article! Just wanted to see if there was a way to change the default settings for the gadget…. For example, when the gadget launches, it will start with 20% opacity and be set to always on top already without having to fiddle with the settings menu. Is that possible?

  28. Priscilla Thomas

    It works!! Thank you for the help, I was going nuts trying to figure out how to install Pandora app on my windows. No problems what’s so ever. Works perfectly. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


To Top