Observe the Aero Glass effect on the ‘Control Panel’ menu item. If necessary, compare with the screenshot below, which shows Windows Vista Basic. As usual Microsoft’s terminology has specific meaning.
Aero Graphics – The definitive Vista look, which replaces XP’s Lunar scheme.
Aero Glass – The best of the Aero effects. Gives the translucent look to the icons.
Vista Basic – Aero, but no Glass effect!
Aero – yes. Aero Glass – no. Flip 3D – no.
I will let you into a secret, when I first applied the Windows Vista Basic color scheme, I thought that nothing had happened. There did not seem to be any differences from the Windows Aero color scheme. Foolishly, I even rebooted the machine, it still seemed the same to me. Next I applied the Windows Classic, immediately I saw the change back to the old Windows NT style. Finally, I paid close attention to the highlighted item (Control Panel), in the Windows Aero option I could see the famous ‘Glass’ see-through effect; whereas in Windows Vista Basic the Control Panel had a blue/grey background, and not that Glass effect.
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Plan B – Try Themes
Instead of configuring the Color Scheme, you could try adjusting the Themes, in particular selecting the Windows Vista theme. If you have not done this before, once again begin by right-clicking the desktop and select Personalize. This time select ‘Themes’ and Windows Vista.
Also, instead of right-clicking the desktop you could start from
Start Button, select Control Panel –> Appearance and Personalization –> Change the Color Scheme
Before you decide how to tune the Aero Graphics, think about your objectives, clarity, speed, battery life, and your individual color preferences. Here are your three main options:
- Change the color from the default, to say, ‘Teal’ or ‘Graphite’
- Adjust the color intensity using the slider control
- Turn off the ‘Enable transparency’ (I would only turn off to save battery power)
- From the Appearance Settings Screen (scroll up to see screenshot)
- Opposite the Color Scheme is an ‘Effects’ Button
- ‘Effects’ opens the door to the ClearType or Standard screen font
My preference is for ClearType on laptops and modern flat-panel monitors, but standard on the old chunky screens. However, as with all these settings – suck it and see, indeed my greatest joy is if you would experiment with Vista’s vast array of choices.
Color Scheme – Advanced (button)
On the Color Scheme menu, under the ‘Effects’ button, is the ‘Advanced’ button. This opens an Aladdin’s cave of settings. In addition to changing the fonts, you can also adjust the Icon spacing. Have fun tweaking your Vista appearance. If you are having trouble finding this screen, see here to get started.
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- Windows Aero Capable
- DirectX 9-class GPU that supports:
- A WDDM Driver
- Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
- 32 bits per pixel
- Adequate graphics memory 256 Mb (Minimum 128 mb)
If your machine meets the first 5 criteria above, you can get away with less graphics memory provided you accept lower monitor resolution:
- Adequate graphics memory for a single monitor means:
- 64 MB of graphics memory supports a resolution of 1,310,720 pixels (still allows a 1280 – 1024 monitor)
- 128 MB of graphics memory allows resolutions of up to 2,304,000 pixels
- 256 MB of graphics memory to support resolutions of greater than 2,304,000 pixels
Graphics memory bandwidth, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, of at least 1,600 MB per second
Here are ten strategies to help get your Vista Aero graphics displaying properly and showing the ‘Aero Glass’ translucent effect.
right-click the desktop, select Personalize, Window color and appearance: Now check the box that says ‘Enable transparency’.
Check Personalize, Window color and appearance; now examine the Color Scheme, make sure that
‘Windows Aero’ is selected. See here for more instructions.
a) Check that your Graphics performance score is greater than 3.0. Follow this path:
Start button, Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then select, Performance Information and Tools.
b) It could be a problem peculiar to your type of Graphics Card, check the manufacturer’s site for a driver update. (Symptoms screen flickers, colors don’t display properly, fonts blocky’)
Check that ClearType Font is selected for Flat-Panel TFT LCD Monitors. See here for ClearType configuration. (Symptoms TFT monitor seems out of focus)
Check MSCONFIG, try disabling programs from underneath Startup tab. Slightly crazy idea, but a 3rd party utility maybe interfering with your Aero Graphics. Start Orb, type MSCONFIG in Start Search.
Two readers Jim P and Colin K, wrote in saying that sfc /scannow restored their Aero Graphics. If you try this, remember to launch the Command Prompt as an Administrator before you run sfc /scannow.
The problem of Aero degradation could be caused by a particular program, for example, I have seen the finger of suspicion pointed at QuickTime and DreamScene. Good news, the problem program may have an upgrade, a patch or a driver update. If movies don’t play properly try this: Start Search: DXDiag
With intermittent problems concerning ‘Aero Glass’ on a laptop; either charge the battery! Or else choose a different Power Option, for example: Balanced.
Start button, Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then select, Power Options.
Check the edition of Vista: If it’s Vista Basic or Vista Home Basic, then it does not support Aero Graphics. If it’s Ultimate, Vista Home Premium, Business or Enterprise it will support Aero Glass. Check:
Start button, Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and then select, Welcome Center. ‘Find which version of Windows you are using’. Check the details near the top of the screen.
Aero Glass will not work with Remote Desktop unless both machines support Aero Graphics.
Make sure the following service is running:
Desktop Window Manager Session Manager.
I forgot that I had disabled this a long time ago in an effort to get rid of Aero. Now, when trying to re-enable Aero, I forgot about it! (Dan Miller)
Clutching at straws, you could try opening a CMD prompt and restarting the Desktop Windows Session Manager by typing:
net stop uxsms
net start uxsms. However, a logoff / logon or a restart would achieve the same result.
Post a request in the Microsoft.Public.Windows.Vista.General forum. For the best response, include precise details of your problem.
Summary of Windows AERO Graphics
The idea behind this page is to show you how to Personalize Vista’s Windows Aero graphics. In particular how to recover from the disappearing Aero graphics problem. Even if your Aero graphics are working fine it is worth Fine Tuning for your Aero themes. I am a great believe in investing time in getting the settings to my liking, at the beginning of my career with Vista.
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Configuring Windows Vista Topics: