The ultimate guide for installing and using the Rainmeter app to customize your Windows 11 Desktop Experience.
Are you bored with your standard Windows desktop? Personalize your desktop in every way you like with Rainmeter. Rainmeter is a free, open-source desktop customization tool that allows you to customize the look and feel of your Windows desktop.
Rainmeter skins expand the capabilities of your desktop to be more than just a wallpaper with a bunch of icons. They show useful information like CPU usage, memory, RSS feeds, weather forecasts, data speed monitor, and more. Skins can also be functional widgets – they can launch apps, control your media player, search the web, shut down your PC, show the music visualizer, etc.
Rainmeter has been around since Windows XP and has remained an open-source project since its inception. Over the years, it has garnered a huge community following which is built around creating beautiful skins and sharing their work. As a result, you can find and download hundreds of skins from the internet for free. Rainmeter skins are highly customizable and easy to use.
You can not only give a complete makeover to your desktop with the downloaded skins but also edit existing skins or create your own skins with the Rainmeter app and share it with others.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about installing the Rainmeter app, using Rainmeter, installing skins as well as editing and creating skins on Windows 11.
Before you start using the Rainmeter app, here are a few terminologies and what they are:
Skin: The term Skin in Rainmeter refers to the widget that sits on your desktop underneath your Windows. They are graphical user interfaces (GUI) or small apps like clocks, weather widgets, calendars, etc. So, Skin is basically what the widget is and what it does rather than what it looks like.
Skin Suit: A skin suit is basically a collection of similar-looking skins (or widgets) by the same developer. Skin suit usually comes in a package. For instance, when installing Rainmeter, it automatically loads the illustro skin suit with various widgets. However, you can mix and load different skins from different suits to create your own custom skin suit. Skins from different suits have different aesthetics and designs so they don’t always look good together.
Layouts: A layout is simply the position of the skins on your desktop. Most of the skin suits have a pre-defined layout(s) that you can choose to load while installing or after installing the package. You can also load the skins that you need, position them however you want, save them as a layout and then reload it later.
Installing Rainmeter on Windows 11
Rainmeter is open-source software that you can download from the official website. First, visit the Rainmeter website and download the latest version to ensure stability.
Run the Rainmeter installer after it’s downloaded.
Rainmeter can also be installed as a portable tool but it doesn’t install the necessary library files for extensive customization features. So, select the ‘Standard’ option and click ‘Next’.
If you want to install the app in a different location, use ‘Browse..’ to change the installation location. Here, make sure to select the ‘Launch Rainmeter on startup’ option, otherwise, you need to launch the application after every startup. If you have an older system with a longer startup time, then you may uncheck this option. Then, click ‘Next’ to continue.
Finally, click the ‘Finish’ button to install the application.
You can launch Rainmeter anytime from the Search bar or as a desktop application.
When you launch the Rainmeter for the first time after installation, you should see a few things on your desktop similar to the below screenshot. At the center of your screen, you will see a welcome window with a few links to skins, manuals, forums, etc. In the top-right corner, you will see widgets for Clock, Disk Usage, and System stats. This is the default skin – ‘Illustro’ – that loads automatically after Rainmeter installation.
Finding and Downloading Rainmeter Skins
The official Rainmeter site does not offer any skins or skin suits, the only skin the software comes with is the default ‘Illustro’ skin suit. However, you can find Rainmeter skins on the internet created by various developers and the Rainmeter community. Here are some of the most popular and trusted websites where you can find hundreds of Rainmeter skins:
Among these, DeviantArt is the largest repository for Rainmeter skins. You can also find skins on several sites. Here are some of the best-looking skins and suits you could try:
- PaperThin (Suite)
- Shared Sunset
- Rusa Jantan (suite)
- Jarvis Shield
- The Gemini Suite
To obtain skin from the DeviantArt page, look for the download button below the image as shown below. Click the small arrow that says ‘Free Download’ when you hover over it to download.
The Rainmeter subreddit is another great place to find the best setups and skins from the community of Rainmeter developers and enthusiasts. On the subreddit page, find the skin you want to install and select the post to open it.
After that, scroll down the Reddit thread and use the link below to download skin elements.
Installing Skins on Rainmeter
The Rainmeter skins not only add aesthetics but also various useful functionalities to your desktop. The skins will include several elements or widgets like a clock, weather, calendar, date, and more.
Once the skins are downloaded, it’s time to install them. Rainmeter skins usually come in as .rmskin files but they can also come inside .zip or .rar archives. So there are two ways to install the Rainmeter skins.
Install Skin from the .rmskin file
First, navigate to the location where you saved the downloaded skins. To install a skin, just double-click on the .rmskin file.
When the Rainmeter installer opens, uncheck the ‘Apply included layout’ option if you don’t want everything loaded at once. Then, click ‘Install’ to continue.
When you deselect the ‘Apply included layout’ option during installation, Rainmeter only adds them to the list of skins in the software but does not apply them. You can manually load the skin later. Repeat the above steps for the skins you want to install on your device.
Install Skins from .zip or .rar Archive
In case your skins or suites come in ZIP or RAR archives, you can extract the contents to the
\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins directory. First, download the archive files that contain all skins you want to use.
Then, right-click the archive file and select ‘Extract All…’ from the context menu.
Next, click the ‘Browse..’ button to choose the location.
Now, browse to the below location and extract the contents into the ‘Skins’ folder –
After extracting the contents, open the System tray on the taskbar corner, right-click the ‘Rainmeter’ icon (little raindrop) and then select ‘Refresh all’ from the overflow menu.
This will update the skin list on the software.
Unload the Skins on Rainmeter
Before you apply new skin, you need to clear the desktop of any previous skins. Most of the time applying a new skin layout will automatically remove the existing skins. If you want to remove the default skin or any other loaded skin, there are three ways you can do it – from the context menu, taskbar, and Rainmeter settings.
Unload Individual Skins from the Context menu
Each widget is a separate skin, you need to unload them individually. If you apply the skin layout when installing a skin with a .rmskin file, it will install all the available skins inside the file at once.
You can easily unload skins by right-clicking each individual widget or skin and selecting ‘Unload skin’ from the context menu. Alternatively, right-click on the widget, move to ‘Variants’ and then select ‘SkinName.ini’.
Right-click on every skin and unload them one by one. However, you can choose to keep any of the skin and use them with other skins.
Unload Skins from the Taskbar
Instead of right-clicking and unloading (disabling) each skin individually, you can unload them all at once from one place – taskbar overflow.
Simply click on the overflow icon (System tray) to show hidden icons. Then, right-click the Rainmeeter icon (little raindrop) to show an overflow menu.
Now, just hover over each skin option on the overflow menu and click on ‘Unload skin’ from the sub-menu.
Unload Skins from the Rainmeter Settings
You can also unload skins from the Rainmeter app settings.
To launch the app Settings, open the System tray and click on the Rainmenter icon.
Alternatively, you can also right-click the skin on your desktop and select ‘Manage skin’ from the context menu.
This will open up a window where all your installed skins will be listed on the left-hand side panel. Now, open the skin suite and select the widget or skin you want to unload or disable. For example, we are selecting ‘Google’ under the default skin ‘illustro’.
Now, double-click the skin folder to expand and select the ‘.ini’ file. Once you select an INI file, you will see the ‘Unload’ button on the right. Click on it to disable that particular skin. You can do the same to unload other skins under the suite.
You can follow the same procedure to unload or disable any other skins you have installed.
Load or Apply a New Skin with Rainmeter
The installed skins will be added to a list in the Rainmeter app. Let us see how to load an installed skin on Windows 11.
Open the hidden icons from the taskbar and click on the Rainmeter icon to launch the Manage Rainmeter window.
Under the ‘Skins’ tab, you will see a list of installed skin packages on the left side panel. Now, click on the Skin package or skin suite (group of skins) that you want to apply to expand. In the below example, we have 7 skin packs added (including the default illustro) to the app but we want to load the ‘Ageo ‘skins, so we are selecting that.
From the list of folders, select the skin element or widget you want to add to the desktop and double-click on the concerned ‘.ini’ file under it. Or, select the .ini file and click the ‘Load’ button on the right. One by one, load all your desired skin elements you want on the desktop.
Alternatively, open the hidden icons from the taskbar, right-click on the Rainmeter icon, hover over the ‘Skins’ option, then move over to the skin suit package you want to install (Ageo).
Then, hover over the skin element you want to add to the desktop and click on the ‘.ini’ option.
This is how it looks when you load the Aego but it doesn’t exactly look like how it is shown in the screenshot on the Deviantart page. You have to customize the skin a bit to make it look more attractive.
Now, drag the skin elements to your desired places on the desktop.
For many skin packages, wallpapers (shown in the skin preview) are not automatically applied when you install or load the skin. You have to manually apply them using the provided .PNG files.
You can find the wallpaper in the skin’s directory (for example, Documents/Rainmeter/Skins/Ageo). They can be found inside the ‘Resource’ or ‘Wallpapers’ folder inside the particular skin directory.
All you have to do is locate the wallpaper image inside the Skin’s directory, right-click and select ‘Set as desktop background’. You can also change the fitting of the image in Windows Settings if necessary.
Here’s how the desktop looks after re-arranging the skins.
Here’s how the desktop looks after setting the provided image as wallpaper. You can either set the provided image as wallpaper or pair the skin with your wallpaper that matches the theme and design.
But skins don’t look good with desktop icons in the background. So we will hide the desktop icons. Right-click on the desktop, hover over ‘View’, and unselect the ‘Show desktop icons’ option.
Now, we have a minimalistic rainmeter skin that gives your desktop a modern-day productive look. It sports several widgets such as weather, time, date, email, music player, etc. Aego rainmeter also shows motivational quotes which change every day.
If you are an audiophile, you can add a music visualizer to your desktop which showcases the audio levels while playing music. There are several different music visualizers available on the web. Some skin packages include their own music visualizer. Here’s a customizable music visualizer you can try.
This music visualizer allows you to configure audio sensibility, smoothing level, and resolution as well as bar size, color, count, and width. You can also drag and place the music visualizer anywhere you want.
Here’s another rainmeter skin suit that has more skin elements than the above minimalist skin.
If you think your taskbar is sticking out and contrasting with the rest of the theme, you can choose to hide it or make it transparent.
If you wish to load all the skin elements or multiple elements at once, you have to select the ‘Apply included layout’ option when installing skin with the .rmskin file.
Load Skins Variants
Sometimes, there may be more than one .ini file under the same folder. These multiple INI files are called ‘Variants’. The Skin may have several variants but they all share the same location, settings (almost the same), and function. Each variant differs in size, color, function, or design and only one of the skin’s variants may be loaded at one time.
You can load a skin variant from the Manage settings panel or the context menu of the skin.
To load a skin variant, right-click the loaded skin, go to ‘Variants’ and select one of the variants if available.
Mix and Match Skins and Save Custom Layouts
You don’t have to use skin elements or widgets from only one skin package. You can mix and match elements from different skin packages to create your custom design. For example, if your current skin suit doesn’t have a weather widget, you can add it from a different skin suit.
In the below example, we have used the Honeycomb skin pack to add multiple skin elements on top of the Aego skin. These skin elements will act as icons to launch specific apps.
Save Custom Layouts on Rainmeter
After customizing the skin or mixing and matching the skin elements from different skins, you can save and restore the current settings of the Rainmeter, including skin position, size, and loaded and unloaded skins as a layout.
To do that, open Rainmeter Settings by clicking the Rainmeter icon in the System tray.
When the Manage Rainmeter window opens, switch to the ‘Layouts’ tab and make sure to check the two options: ‘Exclude Unloaded skins’ and ‘Include current wallpaper’.
After that, give a name to the current layout in the ‘Name’ field and click the ‘Save’ button.
Your new layout will be saved to the panel on the right.
To restore a saved layout, go back to the ‘Layouts’ tab in the Rainmeter app, select your saved layout and click ‘Load’.
The saved layout will be restored with all the loaded skins and settings intact.
Unload all the Skins on Rainmeter
Although you can install and load all or several skin elements together on Rainmter, there is no specific option to unload all your skins at once. You can only unload skins one at a time in the Rainmeter settings, which takes time. If you want to quickly remove all the skins immediately, there are two tricks you can use to unload all the skins. Here’s how:
Open the Manage Rainmeter window and move to the ‘Layouts’ tab. Under the Save new layout section, check the ‘Save as empty layout’ option and enter a name for the empty layout. Then, click ‘Save’.
This will add an empty layout to the Saved Layouts. Now, whenever you want to clear all the skins from the desktop, go to the ‘Layouts’ tab, select the saved empty layout from the list and click ‘Load’. That’s it.
This will remove all your skins from the desktop. However, the wallpaper will remain if you had manually set it.
Alternatively, you can go to the Skins directory by navigating to
Documents\Rainmeter\Skins. Then, select and delete the skin pack you want to remove from the directory.
After deleting the folder, go back to the Rainmeter app, and click the ‘Refresh all’ button at the bottom of the window.
You will see a prompt saying ‘Unable to refresh skin “XXXX”: File not found’. Keep clicking ‘OK’ until all prompts disappear.
Customize Rainmeter Skins
Rainmeter allows you to customize any element of the Skin like widget size, position, color, transparency, and more. Nearly all skin settings can be changed via the Manager (Rainmeter Manage window), the context menu, or bangs (.ini configuration file). Some of the skin packages come with their own Settings panel that enables you to configure other elements of the Skin suite. Let us see how to customize skins on Rainmeter:
Change Rainmeter Skin Settings
When you select a skin file (.ini) in the Manage panel, a list of settings will be available to you for changing Skin position, transparency, draggability, etc.
Make the Rainmeter Skin Stick to the Desktop
Some Rainmeter widgets are hard to notice, so they can be easily moved with an accidental click and drag of the mouse. You can easily configure to make any or all widgets unmovable on the desktop.
Simply, right-click on the particular widget, hover over ‘Settings’, and then unselect the ‘Draggable’ option (uncheck) from the sub-menu to stop the widget from moving.
To move the widget again, right-click on the widget, select ‘Settings’, and enable the ‘Draggable’ option.
If you wish to make the skin element part of the desktop, you can make it click-through, so that it will ignore any clicks you make on it. To do that, right-click the skin, go to ‘Settings’, and then select ‘Click through’ from the menu.
Now, when you right-click on the skin, it will show you the desktop context menu instead.
To disable click-through, open the Rainmeter setting, expand the element for which ‘Click through’ is enabled, and select the .ini file. Then, uncheck the ‘Click through’ option from the right-side pane.
To temporarily disable ‘Click through’, press the Ctrl key when interacting with the mouse over that particular skin.
Move Skin out of the Screen
If the ‘Keep On Screen’ is deselected, you can move the selected skin elements out of the screen boundaries. If the ‘Keep On Screen’ is checked, you won’t be able to move the elements out of the screen.
When you drag skin to another monitor, it will jump entirely onto the other monitor but not bridge them.
If this option is selected, all changes to the skin’s position will be automatically saved to the Rainmeter.ini file. If you don’t want to save changes to the current position of the skin, uncheck this option, and the next time Rainmeter loads, it will automatically restore the skin to its previous position.
Snaps to edges
When this option is enabled, the skin will snap to edges when dragged within 10 pixels of another skin or the edge of the screen.
By enabling this setting, you can add the current skin to the ‘Favorites’ list which can be accessed from the context menu. You can quickly load or unload your preferred skins from the Favorites list without having to navigate the entire skins list.
To remove the current skin from the Favorite list, simply uncheck the ‘Favorite’ setting.
You can also use the ‘Coordinates’ option to change the position of the skin on the desktop screen.
The position option decides where your skin will appear on the desktop relative to other windows and skins. You can choose from one of the following positions:
- On desktop – When you select this option, the skin will be visible on the desktop and stay behind other application windows.
- Bottom – With this option, the skin will not be visible on the desktop (if you press Win+D) and stay behind other application windows.
- Normal (Default) – The skin will be visible on the desktop and brought to the foreground of all other standard windows and skins.
- Topmost – When you select this option, the skin will be visible on the desktop and stay on top of other normal application windows.
- Stay topmost – The skin will be visible on the desktop and always stay on top of all other windows including other skins.
In the below example, the position is set to ‘Topmost’ of the Data and time skin, so that the widget appears on top of an application window.
If you have two or more overlapping skins that have the same Position (above setting), then you can use ‘Load order’ to specify in what order the skins should be loaded. You can set any value as a load order (even negative). The skin with the lowest load order is loaded first (it means bottom ) and the skin with the highest load order is loaded last (means on top).
For instance, if the load order is set to
2 for two overlapping skins respectively. Then, the skin with load order
-1 will load first at the bottom while the skin with
2 will appear on the top.
This setting lets you set the transparency level for your skin. You can choose between 0% to 100%. The default value is 0.
This setting control skin appearance when the mouse is moved on and off it. There are four options under this setting:
- Do Nothing – Nothing happens when you hover the mouse over the skin.
- Hide – Skin will fully disappear when you move the mouse on or off of it.
- Fade – Skin will gradually appear and become fully visible when you hover the mouse over it.
- Fade out – Skin is made to gradually disappear and become fully invisible when you hover the mouse over it.
To temporarily disable this setting, you can also press the Ctrl button while moving the cursor over the skin.
After changing any settings in the Manager, make sure to click the ‘Refresh all’ button at the bottom left corner to apply the changes.
Edit Rainmeter Skins using the INI files
Due to its open-source nature, you can easily edit the skins yourself with the controls left behind by the creators to customize them to your liking. Some skin packages may contain documentation or instructions in the INI file to help you customize the skin elements.
An INI file is a configuration file that is used to customize various aspects of Rainmeter skins using the bangs action command. Manage Rainmeter window doesn’t allow you to customize the appearance of skin such as skin size, color, text size, text color, alignment, etc. They can be changed using Variables in the configuration file.
A skin in Rainmeter is controlled by a .ini file which is stored in its own named folder within the Skins folder. The INI file contains several options and option values that can be used to control the appearance and behavior of the skin element.
To edit a particular skin element, right-click the widget and select ‘Edit Skin’ from the context menu.
Alternatively, you can open the Manage Rainmeter window, select the skin from the list and click the ‘Edit’ button.
However, if the above setting doesn’t work, navigate to the Skin folder and open the specific skin folder.
Now, open the folder that is named after the widget you want to customize.
Double-click on the .ini file.
This will open the INI file in the Notepad.
To resize the skin, look for the ‘Scale’ option in the code. The Scale option and its values control the size of the skin element. It is usually under the ‘Variables’ sections. If you can’t find it, press Ctrl+F and type ‘Scale’.
After finding the option, change its value. Here, we are changing this value to 0.65.
Now, click ‘File’ and select ‘Save’ or press Ctrl+S to save your changes. Then, go open the Rainmeter settings and click ‘Refresh all’.
As you can see below, the Date skin size is reduced as compared to one of the previous screenshots.
Change Skin Color in Rainmeter
If your skin package contains a settings skin, you can use it to personalize your skin including changing skin and font colors.
However, If you don’t have the settings skin, open the .ini file in the Skins directory and locate the options that control the color of the elements (like design color, font color, etc.). To change the color of the skin element, you need to change RGB or RGBA color code.
If you don’t know the RGB color code, open the MS Paint app and click the ‘Edit Colors’ button to open the color palette.
In the Edit colors panel, choose ‘RGB’ from the drop-down menu and pick a color.
Once you select the color, you will get the Red(R) Green(G) Blue(B) color codes on the right-side panel.
Now, you can use the RGB color code you got from the Color picker to edit the code in the INI file. Then, save the file with Ctrl+S and refresh the Rainmeter app to apply the changes.
Change Other Skins Settings Via the Rainmeter.ini file
You can also change widget settings like (draggability, click-through, position, etc.) for all of your widgets in one place using the Rainmeter.ini file.
To access the Rainmeter.ini file, type the following command in the Run command box (Windows+R) and press Enter.
When the folder opens, double-click on the Rainmeter.ini file to edit it.
In the file, each widget will have a section (e.g. [Ageo\Pictures]) and options for how that widget is loaded and displayed on the screen.
As you can see below, there are 7 options under each section and their corresponding value.
To unload a specific skin widget, just change the value of the ‘Active‘ option to ‘0’. To disable an option, type ‘0’, and enable it to type ‘0’ instead.
You can also add other skin options ( such as load order, position, etc.) to a particular skin section to change its function and appearance.
For instance, if you want to enable click-through for the PIitures widget, simply change the value of the ‘ClickThrough’ option to ‘1’.
Change Skin Options Globally
Let’s assume you have lots of skin widgets loaded on your desktop and you want to make them all immovable but you don’t have time to go to every widget on the Manage Rainmeter window and change its value. Here’s how you can change the Draggable setting globally at once:
To change the Draggable option globally, you need to find and replace every instance of ‘Draggable=1’ with ‘Draggable=0’.
In the Rainmeter.ini file, click ‘Edit’ and select ‘ Replace’ or press Ctrl+H. Then, type ‘Draggable=1’ in the Find field and enter ‘Draggable=0’ in the Replace field. After that, click ‘Replace all’ to change the value for all the Draggable options and press Ctrl+S to save the changes.
Finally, right-click the Rainmeter icon from the System tray and select ‘Refresh all’ from the overflow menu.
Game Mode in Rainmeter
The Rainmeter app doesn’t require a lot of system resources even with every widget enabled in a skin package. If you are using a high-performance PC, you will barely notice frame rates drop or a lag when playing a game. It also depends on the loaded skin. Although, some skins like music visualizers tend to consume more RAM and VRAM.
So if you are running more resource-hungry skins, it may affect your gaming performance. That’s why Rainmeter provides a gaming mode feature that lets you manually or automatically disable your skins whenever you are playing games.
Open the Manage Rainmeter app window and switch to the ‘Game mode’ tab. Here, you have two options on the left. By default, the game mode is disabled.
To automatically trigger game mode when playing the full-screen game, check the ‘Full-screen games’ option and select ‘Refresh all’.
Once it’s done, Rainmeter will automatically enter the Game mode (by automatically unloading the skin) when any full-screen D3D game is active on your primary monitor.
You can also add non-game processes (one process per line) to the ‘Additional process list’ box below to trigger game mode when running these processes.
For example, if you are running resource-intensive video rendering or editing software, you can check the ‘Additional process list’ option and add those processes (one process per line) in the text box. This will automatically trigger the game mode when any of these processes are running.
Then, click on the ‘On start’ drop-down to choose whether you want to unload all skins or any specific layout when Game mode starts. By default ‘Unload all skins’ is selected but you can also select any specific skin layout or custom layout.
Next, click on the ‘On stop’ drop-down and choose whether you want to reload the current layout or any other layout.
You can also manually start and stop Game mode from the Rainmeter tray icon context menu. Right-click the Rainmeter tray icon and hover over ‘Game mode’ on the context menu and select ‘Start game mode’ from the sub-menu.
To manually stop game mode, right-click the rainmeter tray icon and go to ‘Game mode’ and select ‘Stop game mode’.
Configuring Rainmeter Settings
The Settings tab in the Manage Rainmeter window controls some of the important Rainmeter application settings such as interface language, update settings, logging, default editor, etc.
Under the General section of the Settings tab, we have 7 Settings:
Language: The Rainmeter application supports up to 32 different languages. Click on the drop-down next to ‘Language:’ and choose your desired language for all Rainmeter interfaces. However, the Rainmeter user interface language does not affect the languages used in skins.
Editor: The .ini file can be edited on most text editors like Notepad, Notepad++, etc. Enter the installed location or browse to the text editor you want to use when the ‘Edit skin’ or ‘Edit settings’ button is clicked in the Manage.
Check for updates: Select this option to check for the latest version updates. When a new version is available, you will be notified. Clicking on the notification will take you o the Rainmeter official website, where you can manually download and install the latest version if you want.
Automatically install updates: When both the ‘Check for updates’ and ‘Automatically install updates’ options are checked, the Rainmeter app will automatically download and install the latest version.
Disable dragging: When this setting is checked, it prevents dragging for all active skins.
Show notification area icon: To show the Rainmeter icon in the System tray, check this option. To hide the Rainmeter icon from the System tray, uncheck this option. However, if all the skins are unloaded, the Rainmeter icon will appear in the System tray whether this setting is enabled or not.
Use hardware acceleration: Turns on or off the Hardware acceleration option to offload or move some graphics and text rendering from the CPU to the GPU to reduce latency and improve the PC’s performance. However, this increases the burden on the GPU and causes display issues if you don’t have enough VRAM. This requires the Rainmeter to be restarted, click ‘OK’ on the prompt box to restart.
Reset statistics: Click this button if you wish clear all saved network and other statistics from the Rainmeter.stats file in the Rainmeter directory.
Under the Logging section, you manage Debug mode and real-time logging of errors, warnings, and notices in the Rainmeter app.
Debug mode: If you are debugging a problem, enabling the Debug mode will create creates a more detailed logging file that can be used to test errors or bugs in the Rainmeter app and the skins. Make sure to disable this option after debugging otherwise it can impact Rainmeter’s performance.
Log to file: When enabled, the Rainmeter app adds log entries to the Rainmeter.log file in the Rainmeter directory while running.
Show log file: All the log entries will be stored in the Rainmeter.log file located at
C:\Users\rajst\AppData\Roaming\Rainmeter. You can view the Rainmter.log file in the default text editor set for .log files by clicking this button.
Delete log file: To delete the Rainmeter.log file, press this button. A new log file will be automatically created when new log entries need to be stored.
Creating New Skins on Rainmeter
Rainmeter can also help you create your own skins that let you personalize every pixel of your desktop to your liking.
If you are not interested in sharing a skin and only want to create a skin for personal use or if you are testing or learning Rainmeter, then you can just add new skin folders and files to Rainmeter without creating a .rmskin file package. Here’s how you can do this.
On the official Rainmeter website, you can find a manual that offers starting guides and tutorials for creating and editing skins. To create your own skins on Rainmeter, all you need is a text editor (Notepad, Notepad++, Sublime Text), an image editor, and Rainmeter.
First, open the Manage Rainmeter panel, and click the ‘Create new skin’ button next to the Active skins drop-down menu.
First, we need to create a root config folder that will encompass all the individual skin folders and files. A Create a new skin dialog window will open up. Here, click the ‘Add folder’ to add a new folder to your Rainmeter skin list.
Then, rename the folder with the name you want to give for the Skin package.
By clicking ‘Add folder’ again, you can create sub-folders for individual skin elements under the main package.
Then, rename the folder accordingly (e.g. Clock). To create a sub-folder under the sub-folder, select that folder and click the ‘Add folder’ button.
If you wish to rename or delete the folder, right-click on it and select ‘Rename’ or ‘Delete’.
To create a skin file, select the particular file, and click ‘Add skin’. You can add as many skin files as you want inside a folder.
To create a @Resource folder for additional files under the root-level config folder, simply hit the ‘@Resource’ button. From the ‘Template’ drop-down, you can choose an existing template file, and every new skin will automatically use that template. If you don’t have any saved templates, the default template will be selected.
You can also create, edit and delete templates in the ‘Template’ tab. To create a new template, type a name and click ‘Save’.
To edit a template, select the template from the Saved templates, and click ‘Edit’. Your skin folders and files won’t be saved until you click the ‘Close’ button.
Once you click the close button, your new folders and skins will appear in the Skins panel of the Manage window. If you wish to add more folders and skins, right-click your folder name from the Skins list and select ‘Create new skin’.
Now, you can select the newly created .ini file, and click ‘Edit’ on right.
It will open the new skin file in your default or defined text editor ready to be edited.
Create a .rmskin file (Skin) for Sharing or Distributing Skin
If you wish to share your custom skin with friends or distribute it on a public domain like DeviantArt, you need to create an RMSKIN file. It is how Rainmeter skins are distributed. Here’s how you do this:
Before you start the process, make sure that all the files necessary for each skin element/widget (e.g. clock.ini) are placed inside a separate folder with the same name as the folder (e.g. ‘clock’ folder). If you have variants of the same skin, they must be placed in the same folder. Additionally, if you have additional files that the skin needs (add-on utilities or fonts), they must be put into a folder named ‘@Resources’. Then move all the widget folders to one folder (root config folder) named after the skin package name.
Once you have all the files and folders set up on your local drive, you can create an RMSKIN file.
To create a .rmskin file, open the Rainmeter app (Manage window) and click the ‘Create .rmskin package…’ in the bottom-left corner.
When the Skin Packager opens, enter the basic details of your skin – Name, Author, and Version. The version of the skin can be a number, a date, or any string.
After providing the basic details, click the ‘Add skin…’ button to add the files.
In the prompt window, choose ‘Add folder from Skins’ if you want to use the existing skin package folder in Rainmeter, then select the folder from the drop-down menu.
To use your own files for the skin, select the ‘Add custom folder’ option, then browse to the root config folder you created earlier and select it.
After selecting the folder, click ‘Add’.
If you want a layout (theme) installed along with the skin, click the ‘Add Layout…’ button in the Skin packager. A layout is basically a saved ‘session’ or ‘state’ of the skins. You can add the layouts you have saved using the Layout tab in the Manage window. You can add as many layouts as you want for a skin package.
In the small window that appears, select ‘Add custom folder’ and click the browse button.
Then, browse to the folder that contains files for the layout, select it and click ‘Add’. You can find your saved layouts from the Rainmeter app in this folder –
Make sure to replace
USER_NAME with your user name.
After adding the layouts, you can also add custom plugins (.dll files) to be installed along with the skin. You can add any number of plugins. Moreover, you can find more information and source code templates for creating third-party plugins in this manual. Rainmeter installs a list of standard plugins with the app and you don’t need to reinstall them.
To include a custom plugin for skin, click the ‘Add Plugins…’ button.
For compatibility on all systems, you need to include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the plugins. Browse and select both 32-bit and 64-bit plugins, and click ‘Add’.
After adding all the necessary files, click ‘Next’.
On the next window, specify where you want to save the created .rmskin file. Then, choose the option you want the Rainmeter to take right after installing the skin package. If you choose ‘Load skin’, you need to specify what skin you want to load from the package or if you choose ‘Load layout’, select what layout you want to load (if multiple layouts are included).
Under the Minimum requirements section, you can set the minimum ‘Rainmeter version’ and Windows version required for the Skin. By default, the current version of Rainmeter is set but you can set it to an earlier version if you are sure it will work on the earlier version. If a skin will work on all minor versions in 4, you can use 4 or 4.3 for all revisions of 4.3. You can also set a specific version (e.g 4.0.2731).
By default, the ‘Windows version’ is set to 7. You can set this to a higher version based on the plugin, add-ons, and others.
After you are done with the Options tab, move to the ‘Advanced’ tab for additional settings. Here, we have three options:
Header image (option): With this option, you can select a custom header image you want to be displayed in the Rainmeter Skin Installer. The image must be a bitmap image (.bmp) and it should be 400×60 (exactly) resolution.
Variables: This option is used to add the @include files that are stored in the @Resource folder. The @include files must be formatted with the .inc extension and should have the same name as the .inc files referred to in the main skin files (.ini files).
In the Variables field, specify the .inc file location starting with the root config folder name, followed by the skin folder name, followed by the .inc file in the @Resource folder (e.g.
My Desktop Skin\Weather\Variables.inc). If you include multiple @include files, they must be separated with vertical bars. For e.g.,
My Desktop Skin\Weather\Variables.inc | My Desktop Skin\Weather\Usage_Date.inc
Merge skins: If you select this option, the Skin installer will not remove any existing files found in the Skins directory. If you are creating an expansion or a patch to a previously-existing skin, you need to check this option.
Finally, click the ‘Create package’ button at the bottom to start the process. Once it’s done, click ‘OK’ in the prompt.
Now, the new .rmskin package is created and ready to share.
Rainmeter App or Skin not Working?
Although Rainmeter is mostly stable and free from bugs, sometimes it can crash or stop working due to buggy skin packages, malware, incompatible skins, missing files in the skin, incomplete installation, or corruption in the app.
Since Rainmeter and skins are open sources, anyone can create or alter them, so make sure to always get your Rainmeter app and its updates from its official website. Avoid downloading Rainmeter skins from untrusted sites and social media websites, because they may be corrupted or contain malware.
Remove The Bugged Skin
If your Rainmeter skin package is corrupted, or missing files, the skin may fail to open, not work properly, or cause issues in your system. If you are experiencing issues after loading or installing a specific skin, chances are it is bugged or missing files. Remove that skin from your device right away. Follow these steps to delete a bugged skin:
Rainmeter’s Mange panel doesn’t have an uninstall option, so you need to delete the source files.
Open File Explorer and navigate to the
Documents/Rainmeter/Skins folder. Then, right-click the corrupted skin folder and click the ‘Delete’ button.
Then, restart your computer.
Reinstall Skin Package
If a skin is not responding, or some of the skin elements are not working, it may be due to incomplete installation of the skin package. It can be fixed by reinstalling the problematic skin package or switching to a different skin.
First, delete the problematic skin using the above method. Then reinstall the skin package and if it doesn’t work try a different skin suite.
However, if only a particular skin widget is not working, then unload the widget and load a similar widget (from a different suit) that matches the aesthetic of the skin.
To delete only a specific widget, open the Skins folder in Documents and delete the widget folder.
Then, click the ‘Refresh all’ button at the bottom left corner of the Manage window.
Clear Rainmeter Settings Cache
Clearing the Rainmeter settings cache will remove corrupted cache files in your Rainmeter settings (if there are any). This may fix your Rainmeter not working or responding issues on Windows 11. Clearing the Rainmeter cache will reset your skin’s latest changes without deleting your skin data. Here’s how you can do this:
Open the Run command with Win+R, type
%appdata%, and hit Enter.
In the list of folders, go to the ‘Rainmeter’ folder.
Now, simply delete the ‘Rainmeter.ini’ file and restart the Rainmter app. Don’t worry, this folder will be automatically recreated after the restart.
After the restart, Rainmeter will load the default illustro skin suit. You can now load your desired skins again but load them one at a time to narrow down the skin that caused the issue. If you find it, delete it from your system using the above method.
Check if Your Firewall is Blocking Rainmeter
If your web-related skins (like the Weather widget, Search bar, etc.) are not working, it may be due to Windows Defender Firewall blocking the Rainmeter. To fix this, you must add Rainmeter to the list of exceptions/ trusted apps in the Windows Firewall.
Search for ‘Windows Firewall’ in Windows search and select the top result.
In the Windows Defender Firewall control panel, click the ‘Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall’ link on the left panel.
On the next page, click the ‘Change settings’ button at the top to edit the settings.
Next, scroll down the list of apps and make sure all the boxes of the ‘Rainmeter desktop customization tool’ app are ticked. Then click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.
If the Rainmeter desktop customization tool is not available in the Allowed apps and features box, here’s how you can add it.
After clicking the ‘Change settings’ button above, click the ‘Add another app…’ button below the box.
In the ‘Add an app’ dialog window, click the ‘Browse’ button.
Then, navigate to where you installed the app and select the ‘Rainmeter.exe’ file and click ‘Open’. By default, the Rainmeter is installed in
When you get back to the Add an app dialog window, click ‘Add’
After adding the Rainmeter tool to the allowed apps list, tick the boxes for both Private and Public networks and then click ‘OK’.
Some third-party antivirus programs (e.g. Kaspersky Internet Security) may end up blocking Rainmeter. Hence, Rainmeter might not be launching properly. You can try disabling the antivirus or removing the program completely. Additionally, you can also try disabling the anti-virus real-time protection and see if it works.
You can also try adding the Rainmeter to the white list or allowed apps list and then restart your computer. If Windows Defender blocks you or your skin, then here’s how you disable real-time protection.
Launch the Windows Security app, move to ‘Virus & threat protection’ on the left panel, and click on ‘Manage settings’ under Virus & threat protection settings section on the right.
On the next page, turn off the toggle for the ‘Real-time protection’.
The Real-time protection will turn back on automatically after a while.
If you are using a wi-fi router, check if the router has the option to block apps and websites, then ensure it’s not blocking your Rainmeter app.
Change the API Key
Weather skins use WebParser to pull data from weather websites (such as weather.com, openweathermap.org, etc.). The skins use the API key to link to the websites and fetch data. However, these websites often change their API keys, so the weather widget won’t be able to collect and display weather information. Hence, updating the weather API key can solve the issue.
First, go to the Skins folder (
C:\Users\[Username]\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins) and open the Skin package folder with the malfunctioning weather widget. Here, open the @Resource folder and locate the files named ‘Variables.inc’, ‘WeatherComJSONVariables.inc’, or ‘WeatherVariables.inc’.
Then, open these files and look around for the API Endpoint. To open an INC file, double-click on it, select your preferred text editor (Notepad, Notepad++, etc), and click ‘Always’ or ‘Just Once’.
In the code, look for the option that says ‘APIKey=’.
Now, go open your browser and visit weather.com.
Press Ctrl+U to view the site source code. Then, press Ctrl+F, and type ‘apikey’ or ‘v3_API_Key’. From the highlighted match, copy the API key value.
After that, go back to the INC file where you found the code and replace the value of ‘APIKEY=’ with the copied API key.
Then, save the file with Ctrl+S and refresh the skin.
Clean Reinstall Rainmeter App
If the above methods don’t work for you, then re-installing the Rainmeter app is your only option. Although you can back up your desired skins from the Rainmeters’ skins folder, it is recommended that you completely uninstall the Rainmeter app by deleting all the files including the installed skins.
First, terminate the Rainmeter app by right-clicking the Rainmeter icon from the System tray and selecting ‘Quit’.
After quitting the app, open Windows Settings with the Win+I shortcut key, go to the ‘Apps’ tab on the left and click on ‘Installed apps’ on the right.
Find the Rainmeter app from the list, click on the 3-dots icon next to it, and select ‘Uninstall’.
Click the ‘Uninstall’ option again to confirm.
In the Rainmeter uninstall window, check the ‘Completly remove all personal settings and files’ option and click ‘Uninstall’.
Now, we need to make sure there are no traces of Rainmeter left behind.
First, go to
C:\Program Files, and delete the Rainmeter folder if it exists. Then, go to
C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents\ and delete the Rainmeter folder there as well.
Next, navigate to the
C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming and delete the Rainmeter folder.
Finally, get to the
C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup location and delete the Rainmeter icon if it is there. Then, restart your PC.
After that, go to the Rainmeter website, download the latest release, and install it. Now, load all the widgets in the default illustro skin pack and check if they are working correctly.
Then, add the skin you previously installed one skin at a time and check if any of them is causing the issue. Do the same for any plugins you have installed before. If you made a backup of skins and plugins before uninstalling, you could try adding them one at a time as well.
Rainmeter is a great app to personalize your Windows desktop experience and take it beyond anything Windows currently has the capability to offer. With Rainmeter, you never have to stare at the same desktop if you don’t want to. And hopefully, using this guide, you’ll become a pro in using it in no time.