Want to add a new look and some very handy new features to your Windows desktop? Try the free open-source software called Rainmeter and have access to a big selection of useful system gadgets.
Rainmeter is Gizmo’s top choice in the free resource meter category but the program provides much more than that. It is a versatile desktop customization program that can be used to provide many different system monitoring apps and other features. It has the virtue of having a small footprint and uses small amounts of system resources like CPU and RAM.
Rainmeter isn’t new but it is frequently updated and the latest version 3.3 is just out. It is marked beta but is also said to be a stable version. There are both 32- and 64-bit versions. There is also a portable version. The download page is here. It is said to work in Windows XP on up. I tried it in Windows 10, 64-bit and it worked with no problems. The initial download is only 2.3 MB and comes with a small selection of gadgets called a “skin”. These include the ones illustrated in the Windows desktop segment shown in the graphic on the left. One of the strengths of the program is that it is well-established with an extensive following. Many of these keep developing new skins for Rainmeter. There are said to be thousands of skins and these can be downloaded from many sources. It is always possible that malware can be slipped into one of these download sites so care should be taken to stick with sites recommended at this Rainmeter page and to always check any skin with anti-malware programs before installing.
Rainmeter can be used straight off but to get the most out of the program you should look at the manuals and other information provided at this Rainwater docs page. There is also a user’s forum at this link.
And there you have it - Rainmeter can be used to provide a few simple system monitoring utilities or it can be used to set up an extensive panoply of features. You can even write your own gadgets.
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.
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