How To: Trick Out Your Desktop with Rainmeter

How It Works

Rainmeter uses the Perfmon.dll file, Windows' native performance monitoring library, to get the basics on your system. But if you were to run the stock Windows monitor (Start menu and run perfmon.msc), then you'll see it's pretty boring. So Rainmeter makes monitoring the activity on your desktop readable and readily available.

It also can use a number of third-party DLLs, ranging from iTunes to Sysfan (which monitors system temperature and fan speeds) to a virtual desktop manager. The list of supported plugins and how to call them from within a Rainmeter skin is available on the Rainmeter site. By and large, I leave that to the experts or the people who write skins.

Sparrow skin available on Deviant ArtSparrow skin available on Deviant Art

Rainmeter supports both 32- and 64-bit Windows, from Windows XP to 7, but the skins go in different locations depending on the OS version. So make sure to read those instructions.

Rainmeter places a raindrop-shaped icon in your system tray, from which you can see what skins are available. If you install a new skin, you'll have to refresh Rainmeter so it sees the new skins. Rainmeter lets you load the skin directly or open the whole directory to edit all of the files.

Skins are just text files. You edit them in Notepad and they tend to vary in quality. Some people write and document their code well, but others do not. Then there's the language barrier. Many non-native English speakers contribute skins and you have to wade through some less than perfect English sometimes, but that's life in a community-driven project.

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  • ssddx
    Quote:
    Sample Destop...Mine

    Hah! I see you use ObjectDock Plus! as well. Awsome program.

    This looks interesting; I will have to check it out. Is that circle in the bottom right a working calendar?
  • house70
    Hey, tom's, how come we are still getting swamped with spam? Here's an idea: mark as spam any message that has more than 2 links in it and any message that has more than twice the symbol $ in it. That should help out for a while until you come up with even better filters.
  • shoelessinsight
    I downloaded Rainmeter after reading this article and have been experimenting with it for a few hours. Though I am having a hard time getting reliable readings of my system temperatures and my current wireless bandwidth, most of the skins are surprisingly easy to customize.

    Thanks for the article! =)
  • gdroland
    Awesome article. I've got alot of Rainmeter desktops setup over on DeviantArt.com / With all the files you need to create them on your own computer. Check them out and don't hesitate to ask in the comments if you have questions/difficulties.

    http://gdroland.deviantart.com/
  • cosmie
    Which weather skin is being used on the sample desktop?
  • ecnovaec
    I love your desktop! can you please tell us what clock/etc you are using??
  • tgandy
    Cosmie,

    I use the Felix weather widget. It comes with the Rainmeter install.
  • tgandy
    ssddxHah! I see you use ObjectDock Plus! as well. Awsome program.This looks interesting; I will have to check it out. Is that circle in the bottom right a working calendar?


    Yes it is. I've been on the computer at midnight and watched it update the day and date.
  • scottman777
    I've also downloaded Rainmeter after reading your article - awesome! Where'd you get that calendar?
  • scottman777
    n/m I found it! Thanks for the article!
  • toolinthemist
    the advent of widescreen monitors did not bring about more desktop real estate. in fact, they have hampered it. The 4:3 square monitors provide more screen real estate then similarly diagonal dimensioned 16:9 widescreen monitors. the advent of larger screens and higher resolution monitors has led to more screen real estate.
  • surfer1337dude
    Does anyone know the link for this? It doesnt seem to be working from the article and a couple different sites came up on google
  • xazin1102x
    So..is this only for desktop??
  • One thing this article doesn't cover is how to skin the taskbar as it is in the first picture.

    This can be acheived in a few ways.

    The first and most simplest is to autohide the taskbar and place it on an unused side. Then just use Rainmeter as an alternate.

    Secondly you can attempt to hotkey the taskbar. There are a few programs that allow this... taskbar hide comes to mind (shareware).

    The third option, and my personal choice is to hack the Windows shell so you can reskin it. While I don't have a link handy I'm sure you can search deviantART for it (probably the best resource for windows customization).
  • If you're looking for wallpapers, but can't handle certain 4chan posters (or just don't feel like looking through), Yotoon created a great wallpaper site that scrapes the images off /wg/ and people on there tag them under various tag filters. It also has a very simple yet pleasing interface.

    http://wallbase.net/

    Say you're looking for a Nintendo wallpaper, you can type in Nintendo, and you'll see alot of Nintendo wallpapers.
    Or say you're at work and want to view only SFW images, you can set the filter to only show SFW images, and all the images that have been tagged as NSFW or Edgy (questionable ones) won't be shown.
  • kgbboy
    how did you get the aero peek to work with objectdock?? when i mouseover the dock icons...it doesnt show anything :( and is there a way to make the system tray icons high res?! tks in advance!
  • woodscrews
    am i reading this right, did you guys really just recommend browsing 4chan?
  • woodscrews
    am i reading this right, did you guys really just recommend browsing 4chan?