Windows 8 Doesn’t Come with Aero – But You Can Add It With These Tools

Christian Cawley 08-02-2013

add aero windows 8Whichever way you look at it, Windows 8 has been a controversial release. The latest version of Microsoft’s domestic operating system has built in touch and no Start button on the Desktop view, something that has led many to avoid it (although it can be undone). This is a shame as beyond the Start screen and Charms bar, things run pretty much as they always did. One area in which Windows 8’s Desktop isn’t quite the same as Windows 7, however, is in the selection of themes.


By default in Windows 7, the various Aero features (Aero Glass, window animations, Peek, Snap, Aero Shake to minimize other windows, and the Flip 3D open programs viewer) are activated and form part of a pleasing user experience. Microsoft has claimed that they’ve moved on from Aero, but this simply isn’t true. There are various features in Windows 8 that either have their roots in Aero or are actual Aero legacy features. Some features have gone, but others remain.

Restoring The Aero Lite Theme

The most obvious Aero omission is the lack of a theme in Windows 8. Just a handful of themes are included, none of which have the same sharp look and border transparency as Aero.

add aero windows 8

However, you can restore the old Aero Lite theme designed for low-end systems by following the steps detailed in our list of the The Top 5 Cool Hidden Features In Windows 8 The Top 5 Cool Hidden Features In Windows 8 It’s very square, Windows 8, don’t you think? Those tiles have such defined lines – edges you could almost cut yourself on – and impressions of the whole user experience seem to change from person... Read More . It takes just a couple of steps, and although this doesn’t restore transparency it does revive some old buttons from Aero.

Get Windows Transparency In Windows 8

If it is the transparency that you’re looking for, however, this can be achieved with WinaeroGlass, a third party tool that you can download from


add aero back to windows 8

This tool is currently in beta, so although it can be used, the UI requires some work. To use it, unzip the contents of the downloaded file and run WinaeroGlass.exe.

At present the utility doesn’t offer blur, only complete transparency of the window borders in the Desktop view, but the developer of the tool is promising some blur soon. Due to the lack of a GUI, you will need to restart or log off Windows 8 in order to disable WinaeroGlass.

Why Aero Hasn’t Completely Gone

It’s fair to say that there is some confusion as to what Aero aspects remain and what have been removed from Windows 8, especially as early releases of the OS retained the transparency and blur so admired in Windows 7 (despite occasionally failing How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7 Read More ).


So, here’s a list detailing which Aero elements can still be found in Windows 8.

add aero back to windows 8

  • Aero Peek: the various features of this tool are now called Peek, and include mousing over a taskbar thumbnail and using the button in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar. If this isn’t active by default, right-click the taskbar, select Properties, check the Use Peek to preview the desktop… option and click OK to confirm.
  • Aero Snap: as in Windows 7, this works by dragging the window to the top of the display, at which point it will “snap” out and maximize to full-screen.

add aero windows 8

  • Animations: seen when you open and close windows, or minimize/maximize and restore, the “zoom from taskbar” animations are still present.
  • Aero Shake: Perhaps my favorite Aero feature (and certainly the most-used), this works by left-clicking the top of a window and “shaking”. The result is that the other open applications should all minimize.


The perception that Aero has “gone” has been pushed by Microsoft, but given the reaction against Windows 8 from many quarters this seems like a strange tactic. However, there is no need to worry – apart from the issue of window transparency, the vast majority of what we once knew as Aero is still a part of Windows.


Have you come across any other tools that restore the Aero transparency features to Windows 8? If so, please share them below!

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  1. PowerUser
    April 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Microsoft had just 2 cool things. Aero-look and Intellimouse. And both are not available any more.
    "Content before Chrome?" . What a shit...

  2. Mike Hajsiuk
    February 14, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Stardock has some really superb tools to use on Win8. Start8 gives you back the start page just like in Win7. Decor8 gives it some good display & background options.

  3. Shubharup Ganguly
    February 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

    You don't need to log off or restart to disable WinAeroGlass. Just end the process via Task Manager. However, this wont get rid of the transparency effect. To get rid of that, right click on the desktop and click on 'Personalize". Then, change the color from whatever it is set at to something else. This will get rid of the Aero effect. Now change back to the color scheme that you had before.

  4. bard
    February 10, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Screw that...fix the internet slowness bug. Yes, tired every solution to date!

    • Omar Hiweish
      February 11, 2013 at 1:04 am

      I had the same problem, and if I remember correctly I solved it by disabling "use proxy server" in my antivirus, I use ESET 5.

      Hope this helps :)

  5. Richard Borkovec
    February 9, 2013 at 3:25 am

    One of the first things I did with Win7 was disable Aero and set the color to black. It made it looks soo much cleaner, at least in my eyes.

  6. Daniel
    February 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Black wallpaper + This aero effect = Invisible letters and menus that happen to fit in the windows borders