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To build your own, custom PC-in-a-desk, follow this all-in-one tutorial for a fantastic workspace mod. Whether your goal is to make your desktop look beautiful or you want an information-rich desktop that provides constant track of your system status, RSS feeds, and other info, Rainmeter is the best tool for the job.
The single biggest hurdle in getting started with Rainmeter is its terminology — the app uses a few terms differently from how most of us would normally understand them in the context of software, and it can be very confusing when you’re starting out.
When you first load up Rainmeter, you should see a few skins (again: widgets) on the side of your screen.
Some skins work right out of the box: the clock shows the time, the Recycle Bin shows how many items you have in the trash.
Users of the illustro suite must edit everything through each skin’s configuration files. Similarly, if you wanted to change the RSS feed that showed up in the RSS skin, you could right click on it, hit Edit skin, and search for the feed’s variable (in this case, the one labelled feedURL.
Generally, just scanning through the config files for a few minutes will give you a general idea what the editable parts are, and what each one does. Some suites, like the Enigma suite, contain options windows that let you specify certain options without digging through a configuration file. Let’s say you have a few different Rainmeter setups that you like, and you want to alternate between them.
The illustro suite is a great place to start, but as you check out different setups (like those commonly seen in our Featured Desktop series), you’ll undoubtedly want to try other suites and skins. Chances are, you’ll spend a lot of time adding new skins, making themes, and tweaking your setup to your liking. Rainmeter can be very confusing at first, but once you get the basics down, you should be able to create a pretty swanky, information-rich desktop with just a bit of tinkering.
I like the theory of having a cool desktop with widgets all over it, but then the reality sets in.
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If you want to build one, the discussion thread is very well detailed with some superb high resolution photos.
It’s just one simple installer, from which you can do a full install or a portable install, which keeps everything in one folder and allows you to run it off a flash drive. If you aren’t a fan of illustro, head to the Downloading New Skins section below for info on how to expand your Rainmeter skin library. You can click and drag them around, line them up with one another, and, if they contain links (like the RSS skin), you can click on the info inside.
From there, you can make it draggable (or not draggable), make it snap to the edges of your screen, make it ignore your mouse clicks, and more.
Others, though, like the RSS skin or the Disk skin, require configuration, since Rainmeter needs to know what disks or RSS feeds you want displayed. Paste in the RSS feed you want, refresh the skin, and it should show your feed on the sidebar instead of the default. For example, I have a work setup that just contains the essential things like an unread email count, the weather, and my disk drives. You can find great ones on the Rainmeter Forums, on DeviantART, and on Customize.org, as well as just by searching Google. Only download ones that have comments confirming their viability, and as always, keep your antivirus up and running. If you ever need to reinstall Windows or move to a new computer, you can carry all those tweaks with you by backing up all your Rainmeter folders using Rainmeter’s built-in backup tool. Make sure the location of your Rainmeter installation is correct in the first box, pick a location for the backup file in the second box, and then hit Backup. Of course, the more you dig into the config files, custom skins, and other goodies, you’ll probably need a bit more direction, so head to the Rainmeter documentation if you have any questions. Among other things, this can be used to remove geo-blocks on overseas content -- which means you can access Netflix's entire US library in Australia without paying anything extra. Be it video games, movies, TV, geek art, or web gems; the EB squad has your best interests in mind.
But the Compudesk is not just a computer built into a desk with pretty lights – there’s some serious hardware (Intel Core i7 980X processor, two 17”, and one 27” monitors) storage (10TB), and all of it is completely water cooled. It has a ton of different configuration options, informational tools, and settings that let you customise almost every square pixel of your desktop exactly how you like it — plus it looks fantastic. You could mix skins from different suites, but it wouldn’t necessarily look very cohesive, so in general you want to stick to a specific suite.


After configuring your desktop just the way you like it, you can save it as a theme and reload it later. The configuration files can be pretty intimidating at first, but they actually aren’t terribly hard to understand and edit.
I have another with much more information, like CPU temperatures, disk usage, and RSS feeds, that I use when I have a little more time to get distracted.
Just download it, double-click on the .rmskin file, and hit the Install button in the window that pops up. Rainmeter will create an .rmskin file that, after you install Rainmeter on your new system, you can double click to re-load all of your old settings, skins, and tweaks. If you can't decide which title to pick next, this 90-game flowchart will help you to reach the right decision. Instead, when trying to quit, focus on indulging in your bad habit in a consistent, limited way. LEGOs were made so that children could think outside of the box and build whatever their hearts desired.
That way, you could have one minimalist theme that only has a small sidebar with need-to-know information for when you are working, and a more blown-out theme with two sidebars, more widgets, and a taskbar for when you can afford to get distracted. Here are the two popular ways, using the illustro suite and the Enigma suite as examples (you can download the Enigma suite below). From there you can choose which music player the Music skin uses, which hard drives the Disk skin measures, and more.
This walkthrough will get you started down the road to desktop-customised bliss without any hair pulling. For illustro, this means only changing one instance, though other suites might have more than one (say, one that denotes the drive, and one that denotes what label your skin uses).
By clicking on the other icons on the left you can input your Gmail address for the Gmail skin, choose the suite’s font colours, and much more. This is a slightly more user friendly way of editing skins, but not all suites contain this editor, so it’s important to know how to tweak skins both ways.



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