It seems that a lot of Windows Vista and Windows 7 users are facing trouble with their sidebar gadgets. The weather gadget fails and reports “Service not available”.
This issue has been popped up during the last years from time to time. Some sidebar gadgets like the weather app reporting “Service not available”.
I wrote a couple of blog articles about this issue for my German blog readers. Since begin of February I recognized several thousands accesses to this really old blog post. After re-invoking my sidebar under Windows 7, my weather gadget shows the same behavior.
Microsoft has closed support for sidebar gadgets
Microsoft has announced in 2012 (as far as I remember), that due to security issues sidebar and sidebar gadgets are no longer supported. Windows 8 comes with apps, so sidebar gadgets are no longer required (in Microsoft’s view).
Nevertheless, sidebar gadgets still worked till February 1 2015. It seems, that the service money.service.msn.com has been shutdown at begin of February. So gadgets can’t reach the weather service and displays “Service not available”.
Some users are reporting, that their weather gadget is still running properly on one machine, whilst a second machine fails. One user reported, that on a machine one account works, while the second account causes the “Service not available” message. Searching the internet shows a lot of hits with partial solutions like:
- Vista – Clear cache under %LocalAppData%\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Cache\168522d5-1082-4df2-b2f6-9185c31f9472 (here is another thread suggesting another cache path)
- Search for file configw7.xml – if available, rename it to config.xml and copy it to path
%LocalAppData%\Local\Microsoft\ Windows Live\Services\Cache
- Or even simpler – open %localappdata%\Microsoft\Windows Live\Services\Cache\Config.xml in editor and save it – shall solve the problem
- Copy the files mentioned here from a working machine into the failed account.
This fixes some wrong server settings and redirects the gadget to still running services. But I guess, this will be only a temporary solution – if it even works. Microsoft’s own sidebar gadgets are dead. An alternative could be to install third party whether gadgets. I’ve tested this gadget (should be available also in English). Some other solutions could be (I haven’t tested it): 7 sidebar, 8GadgetPack. So my recommendations: Don’t waste your time fixing Microsoft’s weather gadget and use a third party solution.