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How to install a Rainmeter skin from an INI file on Windows 10

Rainmeter skins are normally distributed/published as RMSKIN files. They’re easy to install; you run the file and Rainmeter takes care of the rest. These files have everything a skin needs to run and look the way it’s meant to. Every skin has at least one INI file in it which, if you’ve ever edited one, changes how a skin behaves. In rare cases, you might find a Rainmeter skin that’s just an INI file. Running it with Rainmeter will do nothing. It won’t install. Here’s how you can install a Rainmeter skin from an INI file.

Rainmeter INI file

Before we can explain how you can install a Rainmeter skin from an INI file, it’s important to know how the app itself is installed. Rainmeter can be installed as a normal app, or as a portable app.

The installation type decides where the Skins folder is created. If you have a standard installation, the Skins folder will be in the following location.

C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents\Rainmeter\Skins

If you went with the portable version, the Skins folder will be in the folder you created/selected when it was being installed.

Now that you know where the Skins folder is, open it. Inside this folder, create a new folder and name it the same as the skin you want to install or one that will tell you what the skin is for. Move the INI file that is the Rainmeter skin to this folder.

Exit Rainmeter and run it again. Access its settings and on the Skins tab, you will see the new folder that you added for the skin. Expand it, and under it, the INI file will be listed. Select the file, and in the pane on the right, select ‘Load’.

INI files vs RMSKIN files

A RMSKIN file will have at least one INI file in it. A RMSKIN file is a ‘packaged’ skin and it contains everything fonts, images, etc., that a skin needs. An INI file is just one configuration file. It will be basic and won’t be able to use any special elements e.g., a custom font, or an icon.

That said, an INI file can still be used as Rainmeter skin. There’s no need to package it as an RMSKIN file unless you want to edit it to use additional items. Even then, the RMSKIN file is unnecessary. You can move the items you need to the folder that you created for the skin and it will be able to use them.

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