Desktop customization reaches a whole new level

By Jake Dobbs
Staff Writer

Having a cool wallpaper for your computer is nice, but if you want to take your desktop to the next level, Rainmeter is the program for you.

Photo by Jake Dobbs. This is an example of one of the many Rainmeter skins you can download. It includes a clock (bottom right) and a CPU usage area (top left). The globe is just for fun.

Rainmeter is an open source desktop customization program. It uses little desktop gadgets called “skins” to enhance your desktop. Some skins have functions (like weather and processing use), others are purely decorative (spinning globes and ribbons). There’s a wide variety of skins to choose from and it’s entirely free.

Worried that Rainmeter is too resource intensive to work on your computer because of all of the assets or that it is not compatible for computer?

First, it’s really surprising how little resources Rainmeter uses. It is a very small program with such a tiny digital footprint it’s like it never runs.

Also, there is no Mac OS X version of Rainmeter. So if you’re a Mac user, you’re out of luck (nothing’s perfect).

But if you’re a Windows user, you have nothing to worry about. Rainmeter is compatible with Windows XP all the way up to Windows 8, so unless your computer is real old, it’ll work fine.

What makes Rainmeter truly interesting is the fact that it’s open source.

An open source program is a program that is free to download and allows users to edit it the way they want to, and post those changes so that anyone who wants to can use them.

The open source aspect of Rainmeter allows for an unlimited amount of creativity. Don’t like the way this media player looks? Have no fear, here are 15 more to look at.

Also, most people give directions on how to edit their skins in the description, to make it as easy as humanly possible.

Rainmeter has been around for a while so there are quite a few skins to choose from. And the coding aspect adds yet more skins. Another thing about Rainmeter that may be cause for concern is that many of the skins are in weird file types, like .zip or .RAR.

But don’t let these unusual files scare you. There’s a program that lets you download them: WinRAR. WinRAR allows you to extract the files and convert them into a usable format for your computer.

To download WinRAR, just choose the language you want, and then make sure to select the “get it free” button. It claims to be a 40 day limited trial, but after the 40 days you can still use WinRAR to its full extent. Download WinRAR here.

If you’re now intrigued with the creativity and pure fun of Rainmeter, download it for yourself here . It’s free so there is no risk at trying it out, and you may fall in love with it.