"Windows Vista Aero - The Requirements and Unique Features of Vista Aero"

Windows Vista Aero is the new user experience in Windows Vista and the one most users will want to access. It provides a number of unique features.

1) Vista Aero enables the new Aero Glass look and feel

The Start Menu (Office button), taskbar, and all onscreen windows and dialog boxes take on a new glass-like translucent sheen.

2) Certain Windows Vista features required Vista Aero

For examples, Windows Flip and Flip 3D, two new task-switching features, are made available via keyboard shortcuts (available in Aero).

To use Windows Flip, open few windows screens hold down the Alt key and press the Tab key to cycle between all of the running applications and open windows. To use Flip 3D, hold down the Windows key and press the Tab key to cycle between these windows.

3) Enables dynamic window animations and Live Taskbar Thumbnails

When you minimize a window to the taskbar, it subtly animates to show you exactly where it went. When you mouse over buttons in the taskbar, a small thumbnail preview will pop up, letting you see the window without having to actually activate it first.

4) More reliable and smoother desktop experience

Windows Vista can move windows across the screen without any visual tearing or glitches. The effect is most prominent in windows with animated content, such as when you're playing a video in Windows Media Player (WMP).

Windows Vista Aero requirements

In order to utilize the Vista Aero, the following are the requirements:

  • Running an activated version of Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate Edition. If you are running Vista Home Basic, you'll need to utilize Vista's unique Windows Anytime Upgrade service to upgrade to Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Edition.
  • The display adapter must support DirectX 9.0 with Pixel Shader 2 in hardware and be supported by a new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver.
  • The display adapter also must have enough memory (RAM) to drive your display. Luckily, most of the 3D graphics card on the market, as well as Intel's Graphics Media Accelerator 950 integrated graphics chipset, is capable of running Windows Vista Aero.

The table here explains how much video RAM you'll need to run Windows Vista Aero at particular screen resolutions.
Video RAM Display resolution
64 MB Lower than 1280 x 1024
128 MB 1280 x 1024 to 1920 x 1200
256 MB Higher than 1920 x 1200

To configures Windows Vista Aero

  • Right-click a blank area of the desktop and from the pop-up menu, choose Personalize.
  • From the Personalize appearance and sounds dialog box displayed, click Window Color and Appearance option.
  • window color and appearance in vista

  • From the Window Color and Appearance dialog box displayed, you can pick between preset color choices by selecting one of the color scheme. You can also disable transparent glass (really translucency) or vary the intensity of the translucency to meet your liking.
  • You can expand the Show color mixer option and apply varying levels of color, saturation, and brightness to achieve just the look and feel you want.
  • When finish, click OK.

In our experience, most of the preset color choices just make Aero windows look dirty. The exception is Frost, which is very clean looking.

Note: You must install the graphic/display adapter driver before you can configures the Windows Vista Aero and see the effects.

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