How to Get the Aero Glass Theme on Windows 10

Christian Cawley 22-09-2015

It was one of the most requested features from Windows Insiders. Still, Microsoft decided not to add Aero Glass back to Windows 10, after removing it in Windows 8. Here’s how you can get it back.


The Aero Glass theme introduced in Windows Vista and refined in Windows 7 was (oddly) withdrawn by Microsoft for Windows 8, and although some elements were briefly introduced in an Insider Build in April, it remains conspicuous by its absence in Windows 10.

But worry not, fans of curved edge, slightly transparent windows and dialogue boxes. The Aero Glass transparency theme can be added to Windows 10, if you know where to find it.

Why Revert to Aero Transparency?

While there are some who claim that the move away from the aesthetically pleasing glass look of Aero is what sealed Windows 8’s fate as a failure, it is more likely that it was dropped as part of the move to modernize the operating system. This modernization now includes unifying the OS across mobiles, tablets, Xbox One consoles, and desktops and laptops, with a more battery-efficient How to Optimize Windows 10 for Battery Life Battery life is a pretty important factor for mobile devices. While Windows 10 does offer new features to manage power settings, the defaults are not necessarily contributing to optimal battery life. Time to change that. Read More UI.

Reverting to Aero essentially brings back the good vibes from the Windows 7 days, a feel which Microsoft has yet to repeat. Despite the spread of Windows 10, after Windows XP, Windows 7 was Microsoft’s biggest success, with a UI and speed that was arguably the only time Windows has matched OS X.

The desire for a return of the option has been so strong that it has garnered over 50,000 votes at the time of writing on the Windows Feature Suggestions page, where ideas are posted by Windows Insider members.


States the person who made the suggestion:

“I understand you’ve made concessions with Windows Aero (lite) we’ll call it to allow for better battery life on portable devices; Microsoft is forgetting that over 250 million (75 million of them on Steam alone) are using Gaming PCs capable of driving more GPU and RAM hungry OS shells like Aero Glass.”

Until Microsoft responds to this, if you’re missing Aero, there is the option of using a third-party tool to revive the theme. Three are currently available, which we have featured below.

Use Glass2K for Windows 10 Aero Effect

The first solution you should take a look at, Glass2K is available via Softpedia, and once downloaded you should run the file to open the app – no installation is required.

(Glass2K doesn’t state that it is Windows 10 compatible, but it will work with 32- and 64-bit devices What Is 64-bit Computing? The packaging of a computer or computer hardware is crowded with technical terms and badges. One of the more prominent ones is 64-bit. Read More .)



What you’ll see is a settings box, and along with options to auto-load the tool as Windows 10 starts and remembering transparency settings for individual windows, you can add the Aero-like theme by clicking Save. You may want to disable Transparency Popup, however, as this will impede on your usual Windows right-click context menu.


You now have control over transparency of various elements. For instance, you can open the Start menu and tap CTRL+SHIFT plus a number 0-9 to adjust the transparency level. You can also adjust the Taskbar Transparency by dragging the corresponding blue bar.


Glass 2K gives a good Aero-like effect, but if you want a more authentic Aero experience, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Aero Glass for Windows 8

For a more complete Aero look, the Aero Glass for Windows 8 tool from brings the transparency and color options that you expect from the classic Aero of Windows Vista and 7.

To run with Windows 10, use the download option for the latest version, Aero Glass for Win8.1+ v1.4.1. Once installed, you’ll have the visual pleasure of transparent blurring of borders, and enjoy the return of window shadow, caption glow effect, and rounded borders.



Once you’ve downloaded the Aero Glass .EXE file, double-click to run and work through the installation wizard. Pay particular attention to the third screen, Select Additional Tasks. Here, ensure you check the Install Aero Glass theme box, although take note of the warning against using with custom themes. The other two settings are optional, and are best left disabled as they involve disabling security settings in Windows 10. Click Install to proceed.


When this is done, right-click the desktop and select Personalize > Themes. You’ll notice that Aero Glass displays a popup message; ignore this for now, and select the unsaved desktop theme to activate the Aero Glass theme. You’ll see some transparency is added to your window borders.

Now, if you’re happy with Aero Glass, you might want to keep it installed. But the watermark in the lower-right corner might put you off. Worry not, this can be removed.

Here is the follow-up video from TechEasy.

Winaero Tweaker also Runs with Windows 10

You have possibly seen Winaero Tweaker mentioned previously at MakeUseOf as a tool for tweaking Windows 8 Rearrange The Windows 8 Start Screen With Registry Tweaks & Utilities As befits a new operating system, over the past few weeks we’ve featured many articles about how to use and tweak Windows 8. With the focus largely on tweaking. After all, when so many developers... Read More , and this is also compatible with Windows 10. Packaging a collection of UI tweaks into a single app, it’s easy to use and gives good results.

After you have downloaded the ZIP file, extract the contents and run WinAeroTweaker.exe and agree to the license terms.


The app will then open, so browse in the left-hand pane to Appearance > Aero Lite. Here you can activate Aero Lite, a hidden theme in Windows 10 (and Windows 8.x).

When you’re done, close the app. If you decide that you don’t like Aero Lite, it’s easy enough to launch WinAeroTweaker again and revert to the default theme, as illustrated. You can also undo all changes made with this tool using the Reset to defaults button.

Three Aero Alternatives for Windows 10 – But Where’s the Real Thing, Microsoft?

Having enthusiastic developers create Aero tweaks for Windows 10 is one thing, and we’re grateful for it. But what we really want to know is when is Microsoft going to restore this much-wanted theme to its operating system?

Got something to add? Are you sticking with Windows 7 until/unless Aero is available for Windows 10? Tell us in the comments.

Check out our Windows 10 desktop themes The 10 Best Windows 10 Themes for Every Desktop A new Windows 10 theme gives your computer a fresh look for free. Here are the best Windows themes and how to apply them. Read More  or Windows 10 dark themes The Best Windows 10 Dark Themes for Your Eyes Windows 10 has its own dark theme now. But try these other Windows dark theme customizations too and prevent eye strain. Read More articles for more customization ideas!

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Customization.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. andrea
    March 25, 2018 at 10:11 am

    the aero theme was great. I´m still using Windows 7 mostly because of the horrible look of 8 and 10, plus various software incompatibilities. It would be enough just to give the chance to enable or disable it. and that´s all. but that would be too simple. maybe people don´t like simple things...

  2. Jordan Sklar
    February 15, 2018 at 1:12 am

    i love aero and yes it did prevent me and my brother and my mom from getting 10 but we need 10 for certain programs so i just use a few programs to emulate aero because i love using my xbox 360 wired controller for minecraft on my pc cant do that on 7 only on 10 and the mail app is helpfull so is the store app if the mail and store was on 7 i wouldnt ever updated because those are the only things that make 10 better in my eyes i dont like the flat ui i like the more glass 3d look of 7 plus 7 is way faster despite my core i7 proccessor minecraft runs the same on either os but my emulators run better on 7 10 studers

  3. isname
    September 3, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I had to uninstall this software. I am a gamer and the nagware pops up at the most unexpected moments. Also, it leaves a watermark on your Desktop. That was too much trouble. However, if you stop the nagware policy, I will consider installing it again. Otherwise it is good.

    June 27, 2017 at 9:21 am

    coupon cabin review "coupon cabin review"

  5. Ed
    March 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I just got a small, powerful laptop for work that, unfortunately has 10 on it. My personal machine has 7 and I'm looking to get another 7 machine before they disappear altogether. The price of a copy of 7 has gone through the roof when you can find one at all. MS needs to understand that a mouse, full featured keyboard and a 24" screen (or pair of them) are not easily driven by an interface designed for a 6" phone touch screen. The desktop market is still here and if MS can't afford to invest resources in it, then just leave us with the fast, stable, aesthetic Windows 7 and add such features as are needed to keep it technologically current. Aesthetics are *important*. Who would deliberately buy an ugly car?

    • Larry
      July 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Yes, but that's all very subjective. I personally actually enjoy the aesthetic of Windows 10. I hated 8 when compared to 7, but 10 feels like a step in the right direction, at least to me.

      • isname
        September 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm

        I do not like Windows 10 messs of menus. You cannot see where one ends or begins. Everything is in one pile. So, I had to install Classic Shell.

        • isname
          September 3, 2017 at 12:43 pm

          and even so Windows 10's interface looks like a pile of text.

      • Jason
        July 28, 2018 at 10:14 pm

        it's is NOT subjective. The desire to have aero, obvious contrasting windows and elements, and improved depth is an ergonomic requirement, regardless of design fads such as the current flat crap we're having to deal with. Design engineers know this because we study the standards. Developers do not seem to know this, do not care, or do not have access to real human factors engineers

  6. Jeff Yaple
    November 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    How do i remove watermark from glass8 win 10 version?

  7. Luis
    August 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    To all the people saying "I'll just stick to Windows 7"

    For how long ? It's not a long term solution, sooner or later you will have to leave it behind.

    Software will start to not support it anymore, or explicitly require Win 10 or 11 or 37.

    MS has already screwed you even if you are trying to prolong the inevitable.

    So, what then ?

    • Some Guy
      December 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      There will most likely never be another windows made, and some OS incompatibilities can be easily fixed.

    • Ahmad
      December 27, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      I am still using Windows XP and it works great, compatible with everything I need it to do.

      Windows 7 is also a great system and I have it installed on my more powerful desktop.

      • Larry
        July 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        I would not recommend using XP at this point, ESPECIALLY if you are connected to the internet with that machine. Microsoft officially dropped support for it a while ago now, which means no more patches or security updates. You are leaving yourself open to viruses.

    • Jordan Sklar
      February 15, 2018 at 1:14 am

      thats happening for me

  8. Britton
    August 10, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I've been using Windows 10 since it was offered last year at the beginning of the free upgrade offer. I can't say I loved it at first either, but it has gotten a lot better in the past year. So much better that I don't want to use Windows 7 anymore.

    I think many people were expecting it to pop out the box and look and feel like 7. It doesn't do that, sorry, but you can customize the hell out of it and make it feel very similar to Windows 7 and with all the new features that many people do like about Windows 8. While you can't get the full aero effect with 10, the start menu is semi transparent. The explorer menus can have a colored title bar which matches up with the start menu tiles. Pretty sure all the old 3rd party apps that die hard customizers want/need still work with 10. Though you may have to manually edit folder permissions for them to work correctly.

    I tried the anniversary update a few days ago and that incarnation of Windows 10 felt like I was going backwards. Immediately reverted back to build 1511, they can keep 16xx. Still no true aero action for any version that I've tried so far. It would be nice if M$ would at least put the option to run a glass based theme in the personalize settings. So people with modern hardware could turn it on based on their preferences.

    On a final note, those of you who say Windows 10 is "slow and useless" I think you should really consider upgrading your PC or hardware in general. It's the fastest Windows operating system I have ever used. If the operating system is running slow for you, then you're doin' it wrong.

    • Ed
      March 29, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      I agree 10 is fast, smooth and so far stable. I'm not overjoyed at the aesthetic barreness of it though. Moving from 7 to 10 is like going from color movies to black and white ones. 10 seems to have no visual appeal at all. Was it deliberately made plain and ugly?

    • Steam Punk
      May 27, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Windows 10 is 3 times slower than windows 7
      i have:
      intel core i7 6700 4.0ghz
      32gb ram 3000 mhz
      nvidia geforce gtx 1080 8gb
      and two ssd drives
      one 800gb ultra fast pci (Windows 10)
      and one 500 gb classic sata ssd(Windows 7)

      "Windowses" are newly installed, so I dont have any startup items.

      But I can feel the difference in speed... even when Windows 10 is on faster drive.

  9. Calvin
    July 25, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Anyone notice Peter Capaldi in the first photo?

  10. Banx
    June 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the glass2k amazing stuff

  11. John
    May 22, 2016 at 1:06 am


    I'm John and I'm a Win10-aholic.

    I've gone eight months without Windows 7 until today, only in an effort to stop the attack
    of Cyberdine Systems Skynet takeover of many friends pc's with the un-invited Windows 10.

    After a night of cheap wine, endless Cuban cigars and endless attempts to uninstall and restore their favorite system, I suggested they format their hard drives, turn off automatic
    updates and head to Iron Mountain until Microsoft gets their head out of their ass.

    I admit it. Aeroglass is sexy. It taunts me to return to my wiley ways. Then I ask myself:

    "Is it worth the nightmare of checking for updates? The endless nights waiting for a full
    shutdown to close the lid? The Updatng 30% for up to an hour?"

    Nope. Don't miss that part at all.

    • Ed
      March 29, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Windows 10 does all those things too. My new i5 SSD laptop spent more than 15 minutes doing layers of updates and reboots and at the end, some of my custom settings had been changed.

      Back to the drawing board, MS. If you can't do BETTER than 7, don't do anything at all.

  12. tinman
    May 21, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Will continue to use Windows 7 as my main OS due to Windows 10 looking bland, slow, no way to turn off auto updates and select updates manually, unable to turn off or completely disable the Microsoft Spy/adware, no media center and unable to disable the lock screen... Until this changes, windows 7 remains king... the king is dead, long live the king.

    • Alex Atkin
      June 30, 2016 at 3:39 am

      Not sure what you mean by slow, Windows 10 is much more responsive than 7.

      The only way its slower is if you happen to need one of the options that have been moved from Control Panel into the touch-based settings. But those aren't things you need on a daily basis anyway.

      • Some Guy
        December 26, 2016 at 4:04 pm

        Win 10 is definitely slower than 7.

        My windows 7 runs half a dozen programs in the background, including dreamscene. For those who don't know, Dreamscene allows users to use a video as a desktop background. As one would expect, this has decreased the performance of my PC.

        Then I installed 10 in a new partition. Out of the box, 10's performance was not a 10. It was a 1. It was almost unusable, and that was with NO additional programs installed. I had to disable most of the spyware and fix incorrect default settings to increase 10's performance and stability.

        Even with the performance improvements, 10 is slower than my 7. Anyone who claims 10 is fast is working for Macrosoft.

        • Alex Atkin
          December 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm

          Working for Microsoft? I primarily use Linux thank you and STILL think 10 is faster than 7.

          Of course its slower "out of the box" as for one it spends ages running all the latest updates. Plus none of your default apps will be set, but they wouldn't on 7 either unless you only use the default apps, which I don't.

          I can agree that the modern UI apps are slugglish compared to desktop apps, but the point is you don't HAVE to use them. No OS is ever ideal from a fresh install, the only fair comparison is once you have all the apps you want on there and THEN its faster than 7 IMO.

        • akram
          May 11, 2018 at 6:23 am

          on my pc windows7+windows8.1+windows10 spring update all side by side on 3 different partitions windows 10 long time to start even are newly installed with no apps windows 8.1 is the faster boot and able to add glass free for windows 8.1 with no water mark and is very good looking and very fast with dozen of apps but start screen is ugly . windows 10 is the best start screen but slower than 7 and 8.1

        • akram
          May 11, 2018 at 6:42 am

          in windows 10. 1803 any body notice the similar to aero glass in microsoft edge browser title bar ???? i.m wondering
          why not all windows explorer title bars is the same ???

  13. andy r
    April 20, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    "It is more likely that it was dropped as part of the move to modernize the operating system. This modernization now includes unifying the OS across mobiles, tablets,"

    By "modernize" this article seems to mean "one size fits all". In other words, the high performance interfaces like PCs with multiple screens have to dumb down to the lowest common denominator.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 20, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Microsoft means "one size fits all". But discussing the merits or otherwise of their current approach is beyond the remit of this article.

  14. null
    April 8, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    I love how you guys are calling Windows 10 absolute shit because the ui looks a little different.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 20, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Strange thing to "love"

  15. John Emery
    March 27, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I have TWICE had my HP 22 inch touchscreen upgrade overnight to MS10 without any permission. I am VERY unhappy about this and that MS10 does not have Aero Glass. I will NOT upgrade to MS10 without it...

    How can I stop my machine from doing this (I am not a geek and had to take my machine into the Geek Squad twice to have it rolled back).

  16. Manuela Braga
    March 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    I have windows 7 and without aero no way to move for 10

    It's ugly

  17. Windows7haterthatlovesitslooks
    February 7, 2016 at 12:05 am

    BTW I want an aero glass like the one on the first image of this article, the one that looks like a bathroom glass, it's so beautiful and way better than windows 7 aero... About the gpu impact i have no idea how it will be...

  18. Windows7haterthatlovesitslooks
    February 7, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Big windows 7 HATER here, seriously i don't understand the love that outdated boring buggy garbage gets... At least OS like windows 98 had style and where classy and even when xp was fucking ugly you could make it look like 98 and it was really stable and worked amazingly... unlike 7... ANYWAY.... even then i agree, the new colorless windows from windows 10 are UGLY, seriously, what made MS think that getting rid of startup and shutdown sounds and putting awful bland colors instead of beautiful glossy transparent ones on windows was a good idea... and, whether w7 fans like it or not, the start screen IS beautiful, pretty much the only beautiful thing on windows 8 because the cartoony hyper saturated colors of windows are UGLY and colorless when not focused on and i miss the effect the windows had on W7, the only good thing of windows 7... the looks... And it would handle old games way better than 8...

    If you don't want viruses don't download from shitty sites like softpedia or cnet or softonic...

    As for the start menu complaining and whining... EASY, download classic shell... then you can have either both start screen and the outdated start menu at the same time, or only the later and it DOESN'T have viruses, and you can even skin the start menu as well... And i managed to bring the gadgets back on 8 too... And also for the people that STILL use that thing called windows 7 or the ones that haven't upgraded 8 you can also get multiple screens like on 10 with a program called dexpot, you can even get compiz like effects too with a program called nimi visuals... Why the hell would you not use "third party apps"? I mean, if you have the chance to make your pc to look good and PERSONALIZE IT as if it was ubuntu (but with the ability of run pc software without crappy emulators) why not do it? I mean, on android you have third party apps to change the looks of the phone with launchers, what the hell is so bad of doing it on a pc?

    On my windows 7 i tried dexpot and nimi and it was rad. And when i get 10 i will personalize it like that and with aero (from a normal site without viruses) as well...

    PS I THINK you can make the windows colorful on 10... I haven't installed that os though... But i will because windows 8 is as unstable and annoying as 7... And supposedly windows 10 is the stablest new os on old pcs... i don't know if that's true...

    • wolf
      March 5, 2016 at 1:44 am

      Best Idiot of the decade

      • wolf
        March 5, 2016 at 1:46 am

        Lol sorry..but I hate 10

    • Christian Cawley
      March 5, 2016 at 9:59 am

      That's quite possibly the most unusual comment I've read. Thanks!

  19. James
    January 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    ditch windows 10 and install 7. there, beautiful aero where it should be. no dumbed down bland flat colourless horrendous UI that is 10. i despise the UI so much. even the calendar is huge and hopeless. all the setting pages are so empty, huge empty spaces and horrible square one colour boxes. Seriously dont use dodgy apps, i remember using some on win 2000 to change the theme like windows blinds, all cause extra issues. 7 is all you need.

  20. Guest47
    January 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    I don't care if Windows 10 is ugly. I DO care when I cannot see the applications, such as Windows Explorer properly due to a complete lack of contrast. The white background is so tiring on my eyes, especially when viewed in a dark room. I am so sick of this dumbing down to computers in order to converge them with tablets.

  21. Rosco
    December 1, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Windows 10 is even more stupid and ugly than windows 8.

    I could understand the attempt to make 8 a "tough device" OS but 99% of users had existing desktop applications that they relied on and voted with their wallets that they were not simply going to give up their desktop software just because M$ wanted them to.

    But to patch the failed "Start Page" menu of 8 onto the side of a 7 style menu - well that just beggars belief.

    Even though 10 is "free" they can stick it up where the sun don't shine unless they bring back some common sense and allow users to install aero if they wish to !

    Haven't they realised yet that they are simply losing clients with this nonsensical mish mash of BS called windows 10 !

  22. critical
    November 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I found the Win-10 interface bland, a major step backwards after Win-7 the Aero theme. And I don't recommend downloading third-party enhancements to replace something Microsoft should have migrated into Win-10. Packaging Aero with Win-10 as an optional theme wouldn't defeat Microsoft's desire to deliver a multi-platform OS. If your device can't run it efficiently, you don't select that theme. But maybe that's too difficult for Microsoft.

  23. Alan
    November 28, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Love that the Twelfth Doctor is in your screenshot. ;-)

    • Christian Cawley
      November 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Ah but of course!

  24. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I agree with likefun butnot on this one. Be careful of where you download things.

    On another note: Does anyone know how to make Dreamscene work on Win10?

    • Anonymous
      September 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm


      • Anonymous
        September 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm

        Arpit, are you agreeing with likefun as well or do you have some info on using Dreamscene with Win10?

        • Anonymous
          September 26, 2015 at 10:58 am

          Kasey Clark, I meant to say that I know how to use Dreamscene with Windows 10. You can contact me at my email Until then Au Revoir!

  25. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I want a desktop option for ALT-TAB. It is so frustration having to go to WIN-D all the time :(

  26. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Glass2k apparently contains a trojan.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 22, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      What result did you get? When I tried it (running Bitdefender) there was nothing reported, and nothing suspicious about the download.

      • Anonymous
        September 22, 2015 at 7:04 pm

        I have been using VoodooShield for about a week and it scans things against 57 different engines, 2 of which identified it as a trojan. I didn't write down the exact diagnosis, just deleted the file. It may have been a false positive.

  27. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I would be more than a little wary installing random software from Softpedia, especially an auto-run program that appears to be modifying basic Windows settings, has no direct homepage and relatively few downloads.