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The Aero Glass theme introduced in Windows Vista and refined in Windows 7 was (oddly) withdrawn by Microsoft for Windows 8, and although some elements were briefly introduced in an Insider Build in April, it remains conspicuous by its absence in Windows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 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 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 www.glass8.eu/download.html 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, 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 article for more customization ideas!