How To: Customize Your Desktop With Rainmeter

Most of us use Windows and a small minority of us use OSX and Linux. As time goes by, we tend to get used to the GUI so much that we hate it. We try various other ways to experience a refreshing GUI, We can try themes, use transformation packs, change the OS. But the most visited desktop remains little changed, what can we do about that ? Well to spice up your Desktop and reignite your computing experience, we’ll customize your desktop using an amazing software known as Rainmeter.

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Rainmeter is an Open Source, windows only desktop customization software that’ll let you add layers of wonders to your desktop. The first part is to download Rainmeter. You can download Rainmeter from the official site. Rainmeter is a small and nifty tool. It comes with a single default theme, once displayed you can see it for yourselves.

Like gadgets in the windows sidebar, each element in Rainmeter is called a skin. You can have multiple skins which can be arranged anywhere on the desktop (read: draggable). The best way to quickly edit a skin is to use the context menu, which can be obtained by right clicking on a particular skin. You get options to edit the skin’s settings, It’s variants and also unloading the skin. Clicking on Manage will open a new dialogue box, which is the centre place to edit your theme’s, skin’s and Rainmeter’s settings. You can check this detailed introduction to know more about how Rainmeter works.

You can download various themes for Rainmeter from the web, we’ve listed a few good places to check at the end of this, if you are looking for a good theme that suits your needs. Once you’ve downloaded your favourite theme, all you have to do is edit it to make it look like you wanted. This is a bit of a lengthy process as it requires you to edit a text file in most cases while a few themes come with a config editor. First get yourself acquainted with the flow of the skin. You can check this Rainmeter guide to get a quick knowledge on how skins work.

Suites like Enigma, Gnometer and other bigger themes are easy to edit as mentioned above. However if you’ve downloaded a less popular theme, you can search the theme files for any instructions. If not found, right click the particular skin that you want to edit and click Edit Skin. Your default text editor will open, showing the skin’s codes. You have to search for a prompt, that asks you to enter a value, like a app name, path etc. Generally these prompts can be identified easily as they have a # (Hash) symbol before and after. Edit it to suit your needs.

Once it is done, Rainmeter is ready to use. If you have an adventurous heart, experiment with a different skin everyday and make your computing experience a new one, every day.

Downloading Rainmeter Themes

Finding the theme that suits you best is a difficult task because there are a huge number of themes each begging for your attention. However you can use Google to find a theme if you have something in mind, else you can try at the resources we’ve mentioned here.

  • Rainmeter, by default comes with a simple theme known as “illustro”. Rainmeter also recommends the following skins – Gnometer, Enigma and ABP.
  • deviantArt has the largest online repositories of  custom Rainmeter resources. Rainmeter Group (curated gallery) is the home of the Rainmeter community on dA. Browse the galleries for skins vetted to be sure they work and are safe. If you are ready to take the risk, you can check the Rainmeter Category it has all the Rainmeter skins dA has to offer, but are not checked for safety, so don’t be surprised if your Anti-Virus app warns you.
  • Customize.org is also one of the largest and oldest sources for Rainmeter skins. Many Rainmeter skins available in customize.org are a part of larger suite of a collection of apps, that aim at changing your user interface radically. You can give it a shot.
  • Lifehacker Desktop Show & Tell Lifehacker maintains an entire album in flickr, which lets their readers share their desktop with fellow lifehacker readers. You can get an idea on the possibilities of Rainmeter here and of course, a few are kind enough to share how to achieve what they had done.
  • Rainmeter Forums Many fresh and new themes show their faces first at the forums in Rainmeter.net

This video will give you a short walk-through on using Rainmeter.

Hope we’ve helped you gain a idea on Rainmeter and propelled you into a whole new world of desktop fun. Try it and share your thoughts with us. If you know any awesome skin, don’t forget to mention it, so that our fellow readers will be benefited.

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Download Rainmeter

The picture shown uses the Ironman Jarvis skin by ~scrollsofaryavart and Enigma.