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Rainmeter 3.0.1 r2151

Rainmeter Editor's Review

One of the areas where Windows 7 noticeably improves things as opposed to Windows XP (and Vista) is the visual customization. But what if, instead of the default widgets, you want to try something else. Let’s say a third party software that is focused on managing desktop gadgets, skins and even themes. Rainmeter is the perfect example for such a demand and its latest version 2.1 proves one more time its detailed and comprehensive approach towards dektop customization.

Rainmeter comes with a variety of handy applets that can provide useful information such as weather, RSS feeds, calendar, e-mail, news, notes, clock, and much more. Moreover, you can view stats of your computer components such as CPU usage, download and upload speed, hard-drive condition, RAM usage and much more. With version 2.1 comes also the option to control your audio player directly from the Now Playing tool which can be activated and located on any Rainmeter layer. It support any player including the popular AIMP, Foobar2000, iTunes, MediaMonkey, MusicBee, Winamp, VLC Media Player, or Windows Media Player.

Rainmeter comes with a default theme called "Illusto" and optionally, three other different (recommended) theme suites, "Enigma", "Gnometer" and "APB". All list themes are gorgeous and highly customizable. However, for those who aren't crazy about these themes, there is a wide variety of themes around the Internet thanks to the enthusiastic community of fans. Features also vary from theme to theme but they can be reconfigured in many ways, as each individual module can be dragged and dropped anywhere wherever you want on the screen.

If you're using Rainmeter for the first time, you should install the Recommended themes: Enigma, Gnometer and APB. To change between these themes, right click Rainmeter's system tray icon and go to themes. In there, you should see all the installed themes. To add, remove or configure a gadget of your current theme, right-click on the Rainmeter skin and from there, you can change the skin, edit skin parameters, change skin position, add other widgets (such as clock, disk, feeds, network, weather, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and much more.

Pluses: Free; open-source skins; enthusiastic community; highly customizable;

Drawbacks / flaws: Quite hard to understand and configure. You'll have to spend some time reading the documentation if you want to use this program at full power.

In conclusion: Rainmeter is a highly customizable desktop platform that allows you to add and drag around sidebar gadgets that can offer you all the information that you need: feeds, tweets, Facebook, calendar, mail, network, notes, system and much more.

version reviewed: 2.1

What's New in Version 3.0.1 r2151 of Rainmeter

- Direct2D: Fixed crash of Rainmeter in D2D when String meters had a negative width or height
- Rainmeter: Fixed an AnchorX/Y issue caused by a change to support D2D
- SkinInstaller/SkinPackager: Support Unicode characters in skin paths when creating or installing .rmskin files
- Installer: Fixed that the illustro default layout was not loaded when Rainmeter was installed in portable mode
- Language: Updated Hungarian and Romanian languages.
- NowPlaying: Clear details when track ends with iTunes
- Installer: Reset to English instead of Arabic when a user's system has an unrecognized language code in Windows
- Installer: Removed 64-bit install checkbox for standard installs on 32-bit systems
- Rainmeter: Updated project files to support Windows 8.1
- Installer: Removed the need to support / install older versions of .NET and C++ runtimes
- Installer: Embed msvcr110.dll and msvcp110.dll C++ 2012 runtime libraries, so if they are not currently installed on the user's system, Rainmeter will not need to try to download and install them
 

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This product is also listed in: OS Enhancements

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