Understanding Windows Aero

by Barry Dysert
(last updated March 9, 2015)

Aero is a set of graphical enhancements designed to improve the aesthetics and, to some extent, the functionality of your Windows experience. It is built into most of the editions of Windows 7 with the exception of the Home Basic and Starter editions. (You can tell which edition of Windows you're running by going to Start | Control Panel | System and Security | System.)

One of Aero's effects is that of glass borders. This is a presentation feature that makes the borders of your windows translucent. Because of this you can better focus on the main content of your windows without being distracted by their borders. You can also change the color of your window borders, the Start menu, and the taskbar. You do this by right-clicking on an empty spot on the desktop and selecting Personalize from the Context menu. Click the Window Color link, and you'll see the Window Color dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Window Color dialog box.

Here, you can select what color you want, set the intensity of the color, and indicate whether you want your borders to be translucent. Once you click Save Changes, your new scheme takes effect. (It should be noted that the Window Color dialog box only appears as shown here if you have an Aero-based color and user theme in use on your system.)

Running Aero also affects the taskbar. Among other things, the taskbar, of course, contains icons for all of your open windows. By hovering your mouse pointer over an icon you can see a small preview of what that window looks like without having to actually bring the full window to the foreground.

Aero Shake is another key feature of Aero. New to Windows 7, Shake allows you to quickly minimize all but the active window. You do this by clicking and holding on a window's title bar and quickly moving it side to side (like you're shaking it). After a shake or two, all other windows become minimized. When you want to restore the other windows, shake the window again.

 This tip (12172) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Increasing the Number of Restore Points

You may feel constrained by the low number of restore points your system is keeping. You can increase the disk space ...

Discover More

Controlling the Display of System Icons in the Notification Area

A sometimes overlooked area of Windows customization is the notification area. This tip explains how you can control the ...

Discover More

Saving a Windows Search

Windows has a built-in search utility that allows you to search for strings inside of files. You can even save your searches ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Hopefully you'll never find yourself in a situation where you need to restart your computer in Safe Mode. If you do, though, ...

Discover More

Understanding the WinX Menu

One of the new features of Windows 8 is a special menu that allows you to easily access many common tools in the operating ...

Discover More

Using Windows Defender Offline

Normally Windows Defender is used in an online environment. You can, if desired, also use it offline. This tip describes how ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.