How to activate Aero under Windows 8

Aero has been an integral part of Windows 7 and there are certainly users who appreciate the look and feel that it added to the operating system. If you are a regular user here you know that Microsoft has done away with some of Aero under Windows 8. What you for instance won’t get anymore are many of the transparency and eye candy effects that made Aero what it is under Windows 7.

If you like your transparency effects, then it may interest you that it is currently possible to activate them under Windows 8 again. This has been tried and tested under the Windows 8 Release Preview, and we will update the article as soon as we get our hands on the RTM to see if it is still working under that version as well.

First, here is a screenshot of Windows 8 with Aero activated

windows 8 aero enabled

Activate Aero under Windows 8

You need to follow the instructions to the letter to activate Aero in your version of Windows 8.

  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize from the context menu that opens up.
  2. Locate the High Contrast #1 theme in the Personalization window and activate it with a click on it.
  3. Click on Window Color once the theme has been switched, but do not make any changes to there. Just keep the window open for now.
  4. Right-click on the desktop again and select Personalize again.
  5. Select the default Windows theme under Aero Themes.
  6. You should see the transparency effects right away.
  7. Now click on Save changes on the Window Color and Appearance window and close all open windows.

If everything worked out fine, you should now have transparency effects for all Windows on the desktop. Please note that this seems to only affect windows and the taskbar, but not the startpage interface or other eye candy effects. (via Mike)

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