Rainmeter and a Half-Life 2 style desktop

18th July 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I received an interesting email from Joe Albericci AKA ThePengu a few days ago and I thought I’d share the content with you.

He told me about a a desktop customization platform called Rainmeter, whilst I had never heard of that particular application, I was aware of these types of applications. The whole thing looks pretty cool and I am running it as I type, although I am yet to find the right skin for me.

Talking of skins, the application allows users to create whole themes or just skins. The types of information that each element of a skin can display is almost limitless and can be very useful.

The main reason for his email was to ask if I had seen the Half-Life 2 skin, which of course, I hadn’t.

I feel it’s worth pointing out that what you get is not just a simple desktop image, which anybody can do, but real-time information displayed via what looks like the HL2 HUD. In the image, all the elements: Ammo, Health, Suit, Crosshairs and Aux. power all display something about the actual computer. Maybe it’s HDD space free, batter power left, etc. They are customizable to a certain degree and the background image can be changed, although I think the one the author choose is pretty good.

You will need to download Rainmeter AND the HL2 skin separately, but it’s not too hard.

Could do better

As the proverbial school report says this is quite good but it could do better. Specifically, I feel I need a way to access my shortcuts that fit the theme. If I had shortcuts all over the screen it would spoil the idea for me. However, if somebody could make the weapon HUD elements and allow them to be used as drop down menus for various groups of shortcuts I would probably make the effort to use the whole package.

Can you think of any other improvements?

Time for a poll

This poll is asking about any form of Half-Life customization, maybe a skin for Winamp or a desktop theme etc. I will actually research what’s available and maybe even write a proper article about the various options. Please send me your links!

Some detailed instructions

I have to admit that I had trouble getting the skin to work and this was because I thought it was a theme, which could be just selected via the Rain Theme Manager. It isn’t and can’t. Each element must be opened and positioned separately. Joe kindly provided some help:

Because its a skin not a theme you have to enable the individual elements.

After you have put the theme in My documents/Rainmeter/Skins

open Up the Rainmeter skin browser (not the theme manager)
Easiest way is to right click the taskbar icon
–> Configs
–> Manage Skins…
That will bring up the browser,

Then click the “browse” tab and find the Half Life Desktop tree.
You can then click on the various elements such as “Ammo” and “Suit”

Example – Clicking “ammo” will shows its ‘variants’ at the bottom left.
Ammo-DiskSpaceC.ini will show the space available on C
Select this and click “load Skin” to the right.

Do this for all the elements you wish to add to the desktop.

I don’t have Itunes. So the Map didn’t work for me.

Lastly when you have everything set up right click rainmeter again.
–> Themes
–> Manage Themes…
These are all the themes on you computer.
Type something in the save field and click save (E.g. My Half Life 2 Background). This means if you loose your setup you can easily restore it.

Hope that helps.
As its not in a theme format it does take a bit of fiddling.


  1. No, but I did once for Media Player, there is a good Media Player Half Life 2 skin out there, shouldnt be too hard to find…

    1. It’s here if anybody wants it:

      Looks like it’s only for version 9 though.

  2. I’m very happy with the skin I’m in thanks!
    Old and wrinkly though it is.

    The only time I want to see HL2 is when I’m playing.

    My desktops are snow covered peaks and roaring waterfalls.
    Nature is beautiful.

  3. Why not have the icons as various enemies on your screen? when you “shoot” them, you run the program that those enemies are associated with.

  4. Zekiran

    I do use Firefox’s custom background, but that’s about it. Otherwise I use my own screenshots and such for my desktop and since I’m running XP I don’t really have the ability to download and use more complicated things. I don’t have other programs that need skins.

  5. Zonbie

    there’s probably gonna be lots of no votes because of the lack of this kind of content.

    @GreyAcumen – I don’t know if I want a program on my computer that is associated and identified by a poison headcrab zombie.

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