Saturday, August 27, 2011

Get Windows 8 Start Screen in Windows XP, Vista and 7

As previewed by Microsoft, Windows 8 will feature a new "Start Screen" (known as Metro) which looks similar to the Windows Phone 7 home screen. It basically shows live tiles of the installed programs in Windows 8. Check this official Microsoft video :

Would you like to have a taste of the Windows 8 today? In this post, I’ll show you a very unique way to transform your entire Windows desktop into the more modern and intuitive Windows 8 interface.

For this tutorial, I will focus on achieving the following desktop:

Once you get over with the basics, feel free to experiment and let your creativity fly.

Note :
1. You can download the wallpaper from here
2. The dock I am using is RocketDock. You can download it from here.

What you need

1. The transformation you see above is actually a very elaborate theme for an application called "Rainmeter". So download and install Rainmeter first from the following link:

Download Rainmeter

There is no need to launch Rainmeter now.

2. Now download "Omnimo skin suite" from the following link:

Download Omnimo skin suite

3. Double click on the downloaded zip file and extract "SETUP.rmskin". Now open the SETUP.rmskin file and click "Install". The extraction might take a minute or two.

3. After that you'll be guided by the Intro. Here enter your preference for time format (ON = 24 hour time, OFF = 12 hour time), unit of time (ON = Farenheit, OFF = Celsius) and whether you wish to hide your desktop icons (recommended). The whether code will automatically be filled by Omnimo.

  Click on the "arrow" to proceed.

3. Click on the language of your choice.

4.  Click on the third theme [Blank Theme] and hit "Apply"

5. After that, the "Style" window will greet you. Here you can customize the look and feel of the panels and Text Items. The "Style" window also comes with a number of themes. These themes are various pre-made styles to show all the stuff you can customize. You can even activate the clear skin, which makes the panel background completely transparent. For this tutorial, click on "HTC Skin (Neutral). Click "APPLY" and then "CLOSE"

6. Next you'll be presented with the "Gallery view", where you can choose between loads of different panels.

Simply click the icons to add the widgets to the screen. For this tutorial I chose "Flip Clock", "Fruit Clock", "Date", "Network", "CPU Meter", "RAM", "SlideShow", "Gmail", "Weather" and the "Radio" widget.

Once you are done with widget selection, click on the "CLOSE" button on the right.

Note:  You can add more gadgets later by bringing back the "Panels" window. Simply Click on the arrow on your desktop to open the "Panels" window.  If you can't find the arrow on your desktop, right-click the Rainmeter tray icon and choose Configs -> WP7 -> galleryarrow.ini.

7. Now drag the widgets wherever you'd like to. If your widgets doesn't snap very well, hold Shift and drag it for a perfect position.

Here’s how my personal Omnimo desktop looks like when I was in step 7 :

8. Now that you have the widgets on the desktop, it's time to configure them by hovering over the widget until the tiny icons appear in the upper right-hand corner, and then using the wrench to open the configuration screen. Note that not all widgets have configuration.

Lets start with configuring the Gmail panel. Hover your mouse pointer over the panel and click on the wrench to open the configuration screen. In the "GmailUsername" tab enter your Gmail username (without and your Gmail password in the "GmailPassword" tab. (Dont forget to click on "Set" before switching tabs) Click "Close". Now right click on the Gmail widget and click "Refresh Skin".

Next, hover to the "Radio" panel and click on the wrench. A text file "" will open up. As this widget depends on VLC Player, we need to provide the exact path of VLC for this panel to work. Assuming that VLC is installed, in the "PathToVLC= " provide the complete path of "vlc.exe". Once done, save and close the file.

Now click on any of the station listed in the Radio panel to start listening to that station. You can stop the radio by clicking on the " ► ".
Note : In case even after clicking ► the radio continues to play, bring the task manager by pressing ctrl+shift+esc, select vlc.exe and click on "End Process".

You can even add your own radio stations in the "Radio" panel. For that, right click on the panel and click "WP7\Panels\Radio". The "Radio" explorer window will open up. Next search and download .pls file(s) of your favourite radio station(s) from (check my earlier post for details). Rename the file(s) to something else and paste them in the "Radio" folder. Now open "" file by clicking on the "wrench" and edit "StationLink"(s) to point to the .pls file(s). Next provide a name to the station(s) by editing "Station1Title". Save the file when you are done. Refresh the "Radio" panel to reflect the changes.

If the "Weather" panel is showing the weather of our some other place instead of showing the weather of your locality, then you need to modify the weather code manually. But before doing so, go to and search your city. Now copy the weather code from addressbar (usually something like INXX0093) [see screenshot below]

Now click on the wrench of the"Weather" panel. In the "WeatherCode" tab paste the weather code. Click "Set" and "Close" and you are done.

9. To close any widget, hover your mouse pointer over it and click on the "X". Note that you can always add it back from the gallery (The gallery can be invoked anytime by clicking on the present on the desktop).

10. Some panels have an arrow that will let you rotate between views or functions. For example, on the calendar widget, using the arrow switches between views :

11. Almost every single one of Omnimo panels is resizable. The panels can be resized to any size between 100x100px and 300x300px squares. The default size is 150x150px. To start resizing panels, click the resize button in the lower right corner of the panel.

A slider will pop up allowing you to change the panel size. To fine-tune the size, you can use the keyboard arrows. If you want to cancel the resizing, simply click on the number.


The new size will be applied after you release the left mouse button.

My desktop after step 11

12. Omnimo skin is not only about Panels. It also comes with a number of "Text items" to choose from. To open multiple, different Text Items, hover over the arrow on your desktop and Click on the T on right. This will open the Text Items gallery for you. Click any one to try it out. It will open up right on your desktop. For this tutorial I chose  "Menu", "Courier", "Day" and "Custom".

13. Create your own panels :

To create panels for your own apps, folders, contacts and websites, you can use the "Omnimo Panel Creator". It creates fully functional (and resizable!) panels from your icons, shortcuts and contact files.

First download the "Omnimo Panel Creator" from here. Once you've installed it , click on the arrow on the desktop to open "Panels" gallery. Click "my panels" text on bottom right and you should see an interface like this :

Click the plus icon on bottom right and you should see an interface like this :

To start, drag an icon (.ico), an image (.png, .jpg, .bmp, .gif), a contact file (.contact) or a shortcut (.lnk) to the blue square on the left. Fill out the Name field and select an action for the panel by using the Browse buttons. When you're done, hit the Create Panel button.

 For this tutorial I created four panels : Firefox, Facebook, Media Player, Maintenance and Picasa.

14. Time for some finishing touches. Minimizing the transparency of text items is a great way to blend text items with the wallpaper. To do so, right click on a text item, select Settings > Transparency >  "Transparency Value"

In this tutorial I changed the transparency of text items Day, Courier, Custom to 30%, 40% and 30% respectively.

Another thing you can do is that you can make the position of text items and panels fixed so as to prevent accidental dragging of panels and text items. For that, right click on text items or panels, select Settings and uncheck Draggable



How do you like it?

I personally think that the new Metro interface is beautifully designed; it feels more modern than the classic, icon-dependent Apple iOS or Google Android. This is why I fell in love with this unique Windows theme. What do you think? Did you check out any of the other tile packs and add-ons available on ?

My Current Desktop

 Also check :


Your feedback is always appreciated. We will try to reply to your queries as soon as time allows.