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Rainmeter is a program that allows Windows users to personalize their desktop environment. With a wide range of customization programs called skins, users can go beyond changing their desktop backgrounds or taskbar colors to create a desktop that works for their needs and personal tastes. Basic installation and use requires no special computer skills, making Rainmeter a fast and easy way to improve your desktop experience. A rich online community provides tons of information and skins to help users customize their desktop.

Materials:

  • Windows computer with internet access

Step 1: Download Rainmeter

  1. Go to https://www.rainmeter.net/ and find the Download section on the homepage.
  2. Click the download button for the Final Release version of Rainmeter.
    • In my case, it was version 4.0.

Step 2: Install Rainmeter

  1. An executable should pop up in your browser.
    • An executable (.exe file) is a file that can perform a variety of tasks on your computer.
    • In this case, it runs the installer.
  2. Click the executable to run the installer for Rainmeter.
  3. When the installer pops up, keep the default installation settings and click "Next" and then "Install".
  4. After Rainmeter has finished installing, it should automatically run.
    • In Rainmeter, each visual component is called a skin.
    • The standard installation for Rainmeter includes a basic skin package that includes a welcome screen skin, a clock skin, and a few other skins. These are just placeholders and will be replaced with more usable options in subsequent steps.

Step 3: Set Up Desktop for Rainmeter

Right now, your desktop probably has a bunch of shortcuts and a taskbar on one side of the screen. We don't want these to be in the way of our Rainmeter skins, so we're going to hide them.

  • First, we'll hide the desktop icons
    1. Right click an area of the desktop free of any shortcuts
      • A menu should pop up to the side of your cursor
    2. Hover over the "view" option at the top of the menu
      • A second menu should pop up
    3. Click on the "Show desktop icons" option at the bottom of the menu
      • Your icons should disappear from the desktop
  • Now, we'll work on hiding the taskbar
    1. Right click the taskbar and click the "Settings" option in the menu that pops up
      • A new window will appear
    2. Find the option that says "Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode" and make sure that it is "on"

Your final desktop screen should look like the large picture above. There should only be the default Rainmeter skins on the screen.

Step 4: Choose a Skin

Now, let's add a custom skin to Rainmeter.

  1. Go to https://www.rainmeter.net/discover
    • The Discover page lists a few websites that contain skins made by the community
      • A variety of individual skins as well as skin packages will be available to download
      • However, skin packages may be easier to work with since all of the skins are designed to work with each other
    • Download a skin from one of the websites
      • For this tutorial, I'll be using the Kotoko Suite v4.3.1. The download button should be on the right side of the page

    WARNING:

    Be careful when downloading any Rainmeter skin. Although uncommon, some skins have been found to contain malware. Use an anti-virus program to check all files.

    Step 5: Download and Set Up Skin

    1. Once the file is done downloading, press the file to launch the installer
      • Every skin has a different installer but should follow the same general setup
      • In our case, a particular window pops up for our skin package
    2. Press "Install" in the window to install the skin
      • Once the skin package is finished installing, two things will pop up: a skin from the skin package and a window that allows us to edit the settings of various skins in the skin package
    3. Play around with these windows to change settings according to your needs

    Every skin package is different. In our case we were given a setup skin and a settings window

    Step 6: Clear Desktop for New Skin

    Right now, we have a few default skins on our desktop. We want to get rid of these to make room for our new skin package.

    1. Right click the welcome skin that came with the default skin package and click "Unload skin"
      • The skin will disappear from the screen
    2. Do the same for the three other default skins in the top right corner of the desktop

    The desktop should now only have a skin from the downloaded skin package

    Step 7: Customize Desktop With Skins

    Now for the fun part.

    1. Right click the skin from the downloaded skin package
    2. In the menu that pops up, hover over the name of the skin package
      • For us, it is "Kotoko 4.0"
      • A secondary menu will appear with quite a few options
        • These are the types of skins available in the package
      • Hover over one of these options, another menu will pop up containing one or many ".ini" files
        • These are the particular skins available for each option.
      • Click on a particular option in this menu.
        • The corresponding skin will appear on your desktop
          • Go through each option and find which ones you like.
          • If you don't like a skin that you click on, you can always use the "Unload skin" option as described in a previous step to make it disappear from your screen.
        • If you like a particular skin, drag it anywhere on your screen by clicking and dragging the skin to another location on your screen.
        • Once you find a location that you like, right click the skin and go to the "Settings" option.
        • Go to the "Draggable" option and click it.
          • This will prevent the skin from moving, even if you click and drag it.
        • If you want to move it again, go to the "Draggable" option and click it to allow you to move it to another location.
        • Repeat the above steps until you have all the skins you are interested in on your screen and in the right places.
        <p>Interesting</p>

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