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    Customize Your Windows- Use Rainmeter

    Rainmeter is an application which will allow you to place what are called "Skins" on your desktop. These skins can measure and display a wide variety of information. Some examples of things you can display are:
    --System Information - CPU, RAM, Network, Drive Space, you name it...
    --Launchers and Docks - Be creative and create your own RocketDock or launcher
    --Music and more - Interfaces for WinAmp and iTunes, Internet radio or online video
    --Web-based content - Weather, GMail inbox, RSS feeds. Just about anything you can parse from the web

    Skins are fully customizable by you. They are primarily just .ini text files with simple commands that say "Measure this, and display it here looking like this". We will get into customizing skins more later, but you can use all your creativity and very simple Rainmeter statements to really make your desktop your own!

    Installation of Rainmeter
    Download the latest release or beta version from Rainmeter.net. You may download and run the installer (.exe) version or manually install with the "portable" (.zip) version.

    Rainmeter is fully Windows Vista / Windows 7 compatible. The file which Rainmeter uses to keep track of the skins you have loaded and how they are configured (Rainmeter.ini) is now in your "Application Data" folder, and all Rainmeter "skins" are stored in your "My Documents" folder. This means that you do not have to run Rainmeter as an "Administrator" or worry about conflicts with UAC (User Account Control).

    Rainmeter automatically installs the suite of skins "Enigma" by Kaelri as well as the "RainBrowser" skin manager and "RainThemes" themes manager by JSMorley.

    Default file locations:
    The Program:
    -Windows XP: C:\Program Files\Rainmeter
    -Windows Vista & Win7: C:\Program Files\Rainmeter

    Your "Skin" files
    -Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\My Documents\Rainmeter\Skins
    -Windows Vista & Win7: C:\Users\YourName\My Documents\Rainmeter\Skins

    Rainmeter.ini and your "Themes"
    -Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\Application Data\Rainmeter
    -Windows Vista & Win7: C:\Users\YourName\Appdata\Roaming\Rainmeter

    An Overview of Rainmeter Terminology
    Let's talk a bit about how the terminology for the various components of Rainmeter should be referred to. Truth be known, there is no one perfect way, as different folks using Rainmeter for any length of time have evolved their own ways of referring to things, and there is no "set in concrete glossary" for Rainmeter. However it does help, especially when asking for help on the forums, to have a common understanding of what things mean.
    The organization is defined by these somewhat hierarchical terms:
    ->Suite
    -->Config
    --->Skin
    ---->Variant
    Suite
    A set of configs, normally in a single folder and many subfolders under \Skins, which have a single author and a common theme or style.
    Config
    A folder, which may or may not have subfolders, under \Skins which contains one or more skins.
    The only real difference between a "suite" and a "config" is that normally a suite is by one author, has a common style, and may include shared variables or even a tool to help user set attributes common to all the skins in the suite. A config is a folder of skins. It's how Rainmeter organizes things on the context menu.
    Skin
    The contents of a single folder, which has one or more .ini "skin" files. For all practical purposes, when you say "skin" you generally mean "a .ini file".
    Variant
    As only one .ini file per folder can be loaded by Rainmeter at a time, a folder containing two or more .ini files is considered one "skin", with some number of "variants". An example is a clock config folder with "Clock12Hr.ini" and "Clock24hr.ini" where loading one unloads the other automatically.

    Download
    Version 1.1
    32 bit
    64 bit
    Version 1.2 beta
    32 bit
    64 bit

    But Rainmeter Isn't-

    Rainmeter is not WindowBlinds(tm). It does not have any ability to change in any way your Start Menu, Taskbar, Notification Area (artist formerly known as System Tray) or any other Windows elements.

    Rainmeter does not manage your Desktop Background (Wallpaper). All those cool skins you see on DeviantArt or Customize.org may or may not come with the displayed wallpaper in the download, but in any case it is up to you to load them with the normal Windows routines. Rainmeter is not Display Fusion.
     
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