UPDATE: Article updated with new information. Charms Bar resources have been updated to match Windows 8 Consumer Preview UI.
If you are regularly reading our articles, you must be aware of new "Charms Bar" introduced in Windows 8. When Microsoft released Windows 8 Developer Preview build to public, it contained this Charms Bar in bottom-left corner of screen. When you move mouse cursor to bottom-left corner, this small black panel appears which contains few useful shortcuts like Settings, Devices, Share, Search and Start. Charms Bar is also referred as Start Panel, Tiny Start Menu, etc by few people.
We shared a few utilities to get similar Charms Bar in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 which can be found at following links:
- How to Get Windows 8 Metro Style Start Menu (Charms Bar) with Clock in Windows 7?
- Win8Menu: Get Windows 8 Look-Like Tablet UI with Sidebar Panel (Charms Bar) in Windows 7
If you use Windows 8 on a touch enabled device like tablets, Charms Bar appears in right-side of screen. Now Microsoft has released free public Beta (Consumer Preview) of Windows 8 in which Microsoft has slightly modified look-n-feel of Charms Bar.
Today we are going to share a small and very easy to follow tutorial which will help you in getting Windows 8 look-like Charms Bar in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
In this tutorial, we'll take help of an excellent RocketDock skin created by AskVG's DA group member "PeterRollar".
So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial. Following is a preview of the output which you are going to have after following this tutorial:
1. First you'll need to install RocketDock utility. RocketDock is one of the best and our favorite dock utility for Windows. If you are already using RocketDock, you can skip this step. If you are not using RocketDock, you can download it using following link:
You can also use portable version of RocketDock:
2. Once you have installed RocketDock, download following skin:
Once you download the RAR file, extract it using 7-Zip or WinRAR. After extracting, you'll get 3 folders:
- Charmbar transparent
And a file StartMenu.exe which we'll use later in this tutorial.
3. Now open RocketDock's folder present in Program Files. You'll find RocketDock folder in following locations:
C:\Program Files\RocketDock\ (for 32-bit Windows)
C:\Program Files (x86)\RocketDock\ (for 64-bit Windows)
4. First copy "Charmbar transparent" folder to "RocketDock\Skins" folder.
5. Now copy "Icons" folder into "RocketDock" folder directly. The "Icons" folder will already exist in RocketDock folder, replace it.
6. Now its turn of "Settings" folder. It contains 2 files "Settings.ini" and "Settingstransparent.ini". Replace default "Settings.ini" file present in RocketDock's folder with this new one.
7. At last copy StartMenu.exe file to RocketDock's folder.
8. That's it. Now run RocketDock and get ready to enjoy Windows 8 Charms Bar in Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.
PS: The extra "Settingstransparent.ini" file present in downloaded RAR file can be used to have a transparent background for Charms Bar instead of default black. Simply rename "Settingstransparent.ini" file to "Settings.ini" and replace the "Settings.ini" file present in RocketDock folder with this one.
NOTE: If a shortcut in RocketDock doesn't work for you, you can edit its Properties by right-click on the icon and select "Icon Settings" option and then edit the shortcut path mentioned in "Target" text box to the correct path according to your system.