Download RocketDock Skin to Get Windows 8 Charms Bar in Windows XP, Vista, 7

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 utility to get similar Charms Bar in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 which can be found at following link:

How to Get Windows 8 Metro Style Start Menu (Charms Bar) with Clock 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:

Download RocketDock

You can also use portable version of RocketDock:

How to Create Portable Version of "RocketDock" for USB Drives?

2. Once you have installed RocketDock, download following skin:

Download Windows 8 Charms Bar Skin for RocketDock

Once you download the RAR file, extract it using 7-Zip or WinRAR. After extracting, you'll get 3 folders:

  • Charmbar transparent
  • Icons
  • Settings

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.

Also Check:

Transform Windows 7 into Windows 8 without using Customization Pack

Transform Windows XP into Windows 8 without using Customization Pack


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Posted in: Themes & Wallpapers, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • Is the settings.ini the only way to get this or can you also tweak the settings by hand?

  • VG

    ^^ RocketDock saves your settings in Settings.ini file. So if you change the preferences using RocketDock Settings, it'll overwrite values given in Settings.ini file.

  • @ Vishal : You state you can find the RocketDock folder eg: C:\Program Files (x86)\RocketDock\ (for 64-bit Windows) in your above description ! Yet,on the Rocket Dock site it is noted that it is not compatible with any 64-bit versions ! Before I install Rocket Dock on my Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition,I want to ensure I do not run in to any problems ? Please verify ! Thanks in advance ! Cheers mate !

  • VG

    ^^ I'm using RocketDock since XP days and its working absolutely fine here in Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit edition since the release. :)

  • ^^ Thanks so much Vishal for the info ! I trust you more than you would know, my friend, and I do not trust just anyone ! In all the time I have been a member of your site(quite a few years) you have never directed me wrong ! For that I do thankyou ! Cheers mate !

  • Spelling errors:

    Step 7 : "RocetDock"


    Good article!

  • VG

    ^^ Thanks. Corrected. :)

    Glad to help you mate. Thanks for showing faith in me. :)

  • can anyone help me when i'm click start in rocketdock it says

    C:\Program Files\RocketDock\StartMenu.exe the specified path does not exist

    please help me i already put the startmenu.exe in rocketdock folder
    sorry for bad english thx

  • @farras

    You don't mention your operating system. You shouldn't have a program called StartMenu.exe.

    If you're clicking on the link in your start menu and getting that error message, go to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\RocketDock (in Windows XP) using Windows Explorer, right click on RocketDock.lnk, then select "Properties". Change the target value to "C:\Program Files\RocketDock\RocketDock.exe" (including the quotation marks). Then click OK. If you do that, then using your start menu to select RocketDock should get RocketDock to start.

  • Nice !
    Please add my version, which is compatible with Omnimo for rainmeter...

  • Hi, VG.
    Check out the Charms app on my web site, it is a fully functional charms app for Windows XP/Vista/7. It is far better than a RocketDock skin because it features real search, share, devices and settings charms with almost all the options found in Windows 8. Give it a try, please: Thanks and keep up the with the good work.

  • VG

    ^^ Thanks for sharing. Featured - :)

  • what did you mean at steps 6?
    i was confused with this steps.. sorry :D

  • there is no settings.ini file and settingstransparent.ini then how help me pls

  • same problem as Bryan please help and specify what version of RocketDock you're using. I downloaded the last one : 1.3.5

  • ok so I tried a lot of version but I can't find in no one the settings.ini file.
    I tried next versions:1.0.1 1.1.0 1.2.0 1.3.0 1.3.3 1.3.4 1.3.5

  • VG

    ^^ Check out following tutorial and it'll create settings.ini file:

  • where is the settings.ini file present in rocketdock?

  • when i download the file Startmenu.exe is not there :(

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