Microsoft’s Windows operating systems already have a plenty of built-in customization options including desktop widgets, transparency and animation tweaks. However, there is a limit to what you can do with these widgets. The built-in widgets/desktop gadgets are weak in features. Rainmeter aims to rectify this by bringing an extremely customizable set of desktop widgets that will enhance your Windows experience and bring in information that are very useful. It is surprisingly easy to customize and has large community support to back it up.
The Rainmeter software comes with an installer and once installed, it can be configured to run on the computer in background with system startup as well. The Rainmeter in itself does not have a UI or is of any utility but the main functionality is imparted by the desktop applets it displays. The applets are easy to install and widely available from various sources. The applets can display information or perform actions regarding RSS feeds, weather data, system information like CPU and RAM usage, network bandwidth, etc.
Further applets can also play music, create slide show from pictures and display clock and reminders as well. The latest version marks a significant update as it enables actionable conditions and PERL style matching for applet creators. The “If” conditions and If match are venerable tools which will bring more rich applets over time. Further, there is a continued move from old GDI+ based interface to 2D H/W accelerated one for better performance and more rich interactivity. The customization can be done via simple editing of theme files, which allows one to tweak fonts, backgrounds, colors and transparency. The software also comes with two default themes as well.
On Windows there are many such customization tools available. The default Windows desktop gadgets provide fair bit of functionality but lacks the customization options. There is also Windows sidebar but then again, they are limited in functionality. XWidget is another such tool on Windows that has similar features akin to Rainmeter and is also present in Android. However, it has fewer widgets/applets and the community for desktop is not as vibrant. Stardock is a similar functionality but instead of adding applets, it adds shortcuts to various programs in a Mac like dock and hides the taskbar.
Rainmeter is an excellent desktop customization utility that can add some handy applets to organize and view information. The official site hosts many themes as well as many third party sites as well – the most important one being Deviantart.com. The customization options are easily accessible for any user and do not require extensive analysis.
About Open Source
Rainmeter is an open-source and free to use software. The source code is hosted on GitHub repository and is GNU GPL v2 licensed. The software development is member driven along with a very active forum for newbies and contributors.
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