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Rainmeter 4.1 Beta
Recommended

Transform your desktop with this customisation tool 

Rating:
Operating Systems:
Windows 10, Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8
License:
Open Source
Developer:
Rainmeter.net
Software Cost:
Free
Category
System & Desktop Tools
Date Updated:
02 June 2017
Downloads To Date:
36266
Languages:
English
Download Size:
3.04 MB

Customising your Windows desktop can be as simple or as complicated as you like. For most people, the options provided by Windows itself are often sufficient, while others want to push the envelope further. One way in which your desktop can be made to work harder is by using it to display all kinds of useful information – in Windows 7, there are specific gadgets that perform this function, but they’re limited and a little clunky to implement, while XP/Vista users are left completely in the cold.

This is where Rainmeter comes in: this desktop customisation tool works on the assumption that the desktop is yours to do with as you see fit. It offers an alternative platform to the Sidebar used in later versions of Windows, offering a wide variety of customisable “skins” (Rainmeter’s rather confusing term for gadgets) that allow you to pretty much cover the desktop with your choice of information, tools and shortcuts.

These skins can act as simple information portals – giving you access to system information, favoured RSS feeds or the latest email count in your inbox, for example. They can also be developed further to provide interactive functionality, such as skins that record notes or let you tweet direct from your desktop. You can also use skins to serve as a panel containing shortcuts to all your favourite programs, allowing you to banish the taskbar or clean up the desktop.

Skins can be developed by hand – they’re open-source, so widely available – or you can download packages known as “themes”. You’ll be prompted to download additional themes after installation, although a basic “illustro” is provided to give you an idea of what’s available. Rainmeter will launch with a selection of skins pre-loaded, such as date/time, disk information, a Lifehacker RSS feed and a Google search box, enabling you to launch web searches direct from the desktop. There’s also a welcome panel with links to articles helping you familiarise yourself with the program.

Edit skin settings by right-clicking the skin itself – this opens a .ini file in Notepad where you can tweak settings by hand. You can also configure the program from its icon in the Notification area of the Taskbar.

This is the first Beta of Rainmeter 4.1.

Verdict:

Transform your desktop from simple wallpaper to something more functional and useful with this powerful customisation tool - albeit one less suited to novices. 

Your Comments & Opinion

No longer unreadable on a big screen
16 March 2014 04:06, Lawry McCarthy
@Ed, what is nonsense is countering a review more than 12 months after it was made and after a problem was obviously addressed. Also 1600 x 900 is not 1920 x 1200.
Mind you I should have added one more word in 2012 = "default".
The current version is different to the 2.2 version I downloaded and reviewed in Jan 2012. The default text is now readable on a 1920 x 1200 screen. Most people use the default text rather than editing a complex configuration file. My criticism was intended to be constructive I am glad the problem was addressed.
Unreadable on a big screen?
01 April 2013 14:54, Ed
@Lawry, that is nonsense, every rainmeter skin is fully editable whether it is yours or someone elses. Text too small? right click on the skin and select "edit skin", everything to edit is right there. I use 1600 x 900 screen resolution and have no problems whatsoever with rainmeter, you just have to know how to use it.
Rainmeter
16 January 2012 23:52, Carroll Donald
I LOVE RAINMETER! Very nice, ton of downloadable add-on apps, and if you like tweaking your system to your every aspect that can be twisted and bent... this is the program for you! And if you do install this, be sure to get Omnimo add-on, gives your system the new Windows 8 look and feel and totally customizable to what ever you want. If you don't mind editing a few config ini files then the sky is the limit!

I've been using Wincustomize/Deskscapes for a few years now and I am totally impressed what Rainmeter/Omnimo are able to do. Two Thumbs Up!
Unreadable on a big screen
11 January 2012 00:56, Lawry McCarthy
I installed this and found it to be a waste of time. All the the skins I found used tiny text that was virtually invisible on my 1920 x 1200 monitor. Ok you can do your own skin but that means you miss out on trying other skins.
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