How to customize Windows desktop using Rainmeter

Rainmeter is a desktop customization platform. It can customize your desktop skins, along with applications such as Windows Media Player. Rainmeter has thousands of skins which you can access via DeviantArt. There are all sorts of skins available, be it Jarvis or your favorite anime.

Installing skins via Rainmeter isn’t hard, but customizing skins according to your taste could prove to be a bit harder.

In this tutorial, we’ll be learning how to

  • Install Skins for Windows Media Player (WMP)
  • Install Desktop Skins
  • Customize Skins
  • Use Rainmeter Settings

 

Installing Skins via Rainmeter

  1. Click here to download Rainmeter + Alienware Invader (Skin)
  2. Install Rainmeter
  3. Opening Rainmeter now should open an information tablet in the middle and some widgets at the left side of the screen. Right Click and select “Unload Skins” on the tablets and widgets to make them disappear.
  4. Open Alienware Invader Skin
  5. Rainmeter should automatically detect the skin and install it for you.
  6. Once installed, open Windows Media Player.
  7. If the skin has been installed successfully, your windows media player should look like the picture below.

Installing Desktop Skins

Desktop skins are different from WMP skins because they can be customized.

  1. Click here to download NoName Skin
  2. Open the downloaded file
  3. Check Load Included Skins when installing.
  4. Your Desktop should now have a completely different interface than the previous one, unless you haven’t checked the “Load included skins” option
  5. Unload the skins that you do not need by right clicking and selecting “Unload Skin” option.
  6. You can also exit Rainmeter to return to your old desktop.

There are cases where checking “Load included skins” option doesn’t work, hence you will have to load the skins manually.

Loading skins manually

  1. Go to your system tray and double click Rainmeter
  2. Open NoName
  3. Open Clock
  4. Double click Analog
  5. Click on Analog Clock.ini
  6. On the right side of screen, click “Load”
  7. Go to your desktop and you’ll see a clock somewhere.

Load all the skins you’d like, you can also unload them if they’re not needed.

 

Customizing Skins

Customizing skins means setting the skin up depending on your needs or taste. For example, the NoName skin has launchers which will launch an application, but it won’t work unless you set it up.

NoName is a great skin that can be used as an example for those who are new to Rainmeter, since it contains a configuration menu by default.

Let’s say we’d like our launcher to open chrome when we click on “Google Chrome”

  1. Go to your system tray and double click Rainmeter
  2. Double click NoName
  3. Open the configuration drop down, click on configuration.ini and on the right side of the screen, click “Load”
  4. The configuration menu will contain Launcher 1 and 2 along with Mini Launcher and spectrum etc.
  5. Go to the launcher that you’ve loaded and change the name, App1, to “Google Chrome”
  6. Click on the folder icon located at the left of “Google Chrome”
  7. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application and open “chrome”
  8. Go to desktop and refresh the launcher that you’ve just edited by right clicking and selecting “Refresh Skin”
  9.  Click on Google Chrome and it should open.

To sum it up :

All you have to do is to locate the file that you’d like to open via the launcher and then change the name of the launcher apps from “App1” to “Desired Application/File Name”. In case you do not know where your desired application is located, right click on the icon, open it’s properties and the location should be written in the general tab.

 

Themes like NoName already have a configuration menu, but there are many skins without the configuration menu. To edit such skins, you will have to right click on the skin and click on “Edit Skin”. That should open the skin in notepad and you’ll have to edit the name and location of the intended file manually.

Using Rainmeter Settings

Rainmeter has some settings which can be accessed by opening Rainmeter through the system tray. All of the settings are very important when you’re trying to customize your desktop. Features such as “Click-through” can turn skins that display information un-clickable unless you disable it from the Rainmeter interface.

  1. Load – It will load a skin on your desktop
  2. Refresh – It will refresh a skin, be sure to always refresh after editing a skin.
  3. Edit – It will open the skin in notepad for you to edit it manually.
  4. Coordinates – Enter the coordinates of where you want it to be placed, this feature is usually used when moving the skin a small distance
  5.  Position – Positions the skin automatically
  6. Load Order – It loads the skin after “x” number of skins have been loaded.
  7. Transparency – Turns the skin transparent depending on your percentage
  8. On hover – It will fade in or hide when your mouse cursor is on the skin. “Do nothing” is the default option.
  9. Draggable – If you uncheck this, the skin won’t be able to move when you click and drag.
  10.  Click through – Skin becomes click through
  11. Keep on screen – Keeps the skin on the screen all the time (except when you’re not on desktop)
  12.  Save position – It will save the position or coordinates of the skin so you don’t have to move it every time you restart Rainmeter
  13.  Snap to edges – Creates an outline so two skins cannot be on top of each other.
  14.  Favorite – Used to mark your favorite skins

Please comment below if you have any questions regarding this post

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Turn Windows 7 Transparent

People who dabble into desktop customization have always wanted to try a transparent desktop at some point of time. Turning your desktop transparent hasn’t been a dream for several years now. Believe it or not, two files is all you need to acquire a completely transparent desktop.

Click here to download files

Steps:

  1. Extract the downloaded files to a folder
  2. Open and install Moo0 Transparent Menu, while you’re installing it you’re free to say no to the improved version
  3. Run Moo0 and BlackGlassEnhanced
  4. Make sure the BGE.ini file is in the same folder where BlackGlassEnhanced is located at.

Open “My Computer” and it should be transparent.

Things you need to know about Moo0 and BGE

  • Moo0 and BGE, when running, are located in the system tray.
  • You can change the transparency percent by going to the system tray and right clicking.
  • You can change your BGE settings from the system tray.
  • If you do not want your desktop transparent, press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC or open Task Manager and kill BlackGlassEnhanced.exe and TransparentMenu.exe
  • You can turn your desktop transparent again by running both the files.
  • BlackGlassEnhanced is a tool that adds shine to your windows themes.
  • Moo0 is an application that turns most of your windows 7 transparent.

 

 

How to Install Custom Themes on Windows 7

Windows 7 contains many themes, you can select the theme you prefer by right clicking anywhere on your desktop and opening the  “Personalize” menu.

The personalize menu mainly contains 3 types of themes, Basic, High Contrast and Aero themes. Aero themes are the ones that you’d want to pick if you’re trying to step-up the look of your desktop, but there’s also a wide range of themes available on the internet.

There are two types of available themes for Windows :

Official – These themes are provided by Microsoft Windows officially. You can download and use them from the official Microsoft website, or by clicking here. Once you’ve downloaded an official theme, they will appear in your personalize menu as “Installed Themes”

Third Party Themes (Unofficial) – Third party themes are unofficial themes provided by random creators from all around the world. Unfortunately, Windows does not allow the installation of third party themes by default. Hence, you’ll have to patch your system files to allow the use of third party themes.

Note – Patching system files in order to allow the use of third party themes isn’t all that risky, but we recommend creating a system restore point as a good practice.

To create a system restore point, type “create a restore point” in your start menu , hit enter and click on “Create”

(Always make sure to create a restore point before messing around with system files)

Download Required Apps

As we move further into this guide, we will have to download some required applications and a third party theme which will be used as an example here.

Click here to download all required apps + theme

(The file is in .rar format so be sure to extract it into a folder located in your desktop)

Patching System files

In order to patch the system files, we will be using VistaGlazz.

VistaGlazz is an application that patches your system files to allow the installation of third party themes. It also contains an “Unpatch files” button so that you can revert to your old system files anytime.

  • Open VistaGlazz Setup and install it
  • Run VistaGlazz as administrator
  • Click on the computer icon

  • Click on “Patch files” and leave the machine for a minute or two

  • Once it has patched your system files, you will have to restart your machine.

Installing Themes with ThemeManager

Theme Manager is an application that installs third party themes in your machine. Normally, after having your system files patched up, you should be able to install third party themes with the windows installer but there are some themes that cannot be installed. Theme Manager installs those themes for you and it also reduces risk of damaging system files with incompatible themes as the themes will be installed in theme manager.

  • Install Theme Manager
  • Run Theme Manager as administrator
  • Click on “Install a Theme” and “Browse” in theme section

 

  • Locate the folder where you extracted the downloaded files, open “Airlock Theme” and select “Airlock”
  • Give the theme a name and click install

  • Once the theme has been installed, you will be redirected back to the start menu.
  • Select “Apply a Theme”
  • Click on the right arrow and apply “Airlock”

(Please leave your machine for a minute after clicking “Apply”)

To switch back to your old theme, apply “Aero” via ThemeManager or open the personalize menu and select your basic theme.

You should also be able to install any third party themes now.

Note: If you’re having trouble installing VistaGlazz, Please disable your firewall and click here to download it separately. Allow executable file to be downloaded.

Let us know if you encounter any issues via the comments below.