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How To: Trick Out Your Desktop with Rainmeter

The Skinny on Skins

When Rainmeter first came out, configuration of the skins required manual editing of the .INI files, so it was more popularly used by people with coding knowledge or by the more technically minded. With the 1.3 release, more of the skin developers have offered a GUI-based configuration tool. Gnometer, one of the default skins that comes with the Rainmeter installation, has a nice GUI for configuring the look, changing the RSS feeds, etc.

Rainmeter was initially available at Customize.org, but that site lacks updates and the most recent additions are at least a year old. These days, the site of choice is Deviant Art. DA is a decade-old site that claims to be "the largest online social network for artists and art enthusiasts with over 13 million registered members, attracting 35 million unique visitors per month."

Rainmeter skins are just one portion of DA, which mostly has a graphics art theme, with subjects ranging from literature to paper craft. The Rainmeter section lets you browse by most recent additions, so you can keep up with what's new.

One thing you have to get used to with DA's skin collection is that people like to bundle existing skins together into a package along with their own mods and additions, ranging from new skins to adding art and wallpapers. Other folks make them entirely from scratch.

If the skin does not come with a GUI to configure it, you can edit a skin by right clicking on it and clicking on Edit Skin. Since these are often transparent skins, you may get the Windows desktop instead of the skin, so keep clicking. Selecting Edit Skin will bring up the .INI file, and if it's well written, there will be comments in there telling you how to make changes. For example, the Weather skin that I use has this:

;-- LOCATION -- Go to http://www.weather.com/   search for your city.

;when in your city page, Copy the 8 digit code at the URL in the address bar | Paste the location code below.

 

Location=USCA1267

 

;-- UNIT -- Choose either m, for metric (Celsius/km), or f, for imperial (Fahrenheit/mi) | Choose the unit below.

 

Unit=f

Pretty straightforward, right?

  • ssddx
    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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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! =)
    Reply
  • 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/
    Reply
  • cosmie
    Which weather skin is being used on the sample desktop?
    Reply
  • ecnovaec
    I love your desktop! can you please tell us what clock/etc you are using??
    Reply
  • tgandy
    Cosmie,

    I use the Felix weather widget. It comes with the Rainmeter install.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • scottman777
    I've also downloaded Rainmeter after reading your article - awesome! Where'd you get that calendar?
    Reply
  • scottman777
    n/m I found it! Thanks for the article!
    Reply