Disabling the sidebar and gadgets is the very first thing I do on a new machine!
I got attached to it with Vista. I even added a (skinnable) gadget to it that put the Vista style sidebar on Win7.
No meters? Whaddya want, idiot lights on your computer, just like on new cars?
I've been a "hands on" technician all my life. Pressure, frequency, voltage, amperage, resistance, temperature, if it has it, I have a way of monitoring it. I couldn't function without proper accurate test equipment, I don't expect my computer to either.
Now if the sidebar was just a bunch of RSS feeds , clocks, and search gadgets or limited to what came with Windows, I could do without it.
I never got the hang of sysmetrics. Maybe I should give it another look.