Give Windows a big makeover with RainMeter 2.5

If you’re looking to give your Windows desktop a radical makeover, then Rainmeter 2.5 is one tool worth looking at. This open-source desktop customization tool goes beyond Windows’ own rather limited tools by provide alternative “skins” that can be downloaded or created from scratch.

Version 2.5 offers a number of new features – many aimed at skin developers – including a new FileView plugin, support for the scroll wheel and macro mouse variables. The update also promises dozens of other improvements and bug fixes.

The headline new feature is the FileView plugin, which can be used to index and gather information about all files and folders within a specified path. The plugin supports commands for scrolling through the file index, moving around the folder tree and selecting files for display or opening in a specific program.

Skin and meter developers gain a new ClipString=2 and ClipStringW/ClipStringH options for more dynamic clipping and wrapping of strings when sizing the containing meter to accommodate all its contents. Also added are new Mouse Actions to support the scroll wheel, and Mouse Variables to provide the current X and Y position of the mouse in pixels or percentage. A new OnUpdateAction command allows actions to occur when supported elements (skins, meters and measures) are updated normally or by a “bang”, while an OnChangeAction command has been added to Measures to allow actions to take place when the measure changes.

Developers can also now execute actions when a skin gains or loses focus when clicked in Windows via OnFocusAction and OnUnFocusAction commands. All measures and meters can also be updated with bangs by the addition of support for * as a wildcard parameter to !UpdateMeasure and !UpdateMeter commands.

Fixes include a plugged memory leak for the Skin Packager, while the Calc now handles negative numbers that haven’t been enclosed in brackets correctly. A dialog layout problem with right-to-left languages has also been resolved.

Rainmeter 2.5 is a free, open-source download for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP or later, including Windows 8.

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