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Challenge/Experiment: Can You Turn off Aero in Windows 8?

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#1 Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 17:47

Windows Aero is a theme introduced in Windows Vista that takes advantage of hardware acceleration to draw Window elements. It is known for its glass window boarders, taskbar thumbnails, full-screen screen magnification, and Fade effects when opening, closing, and minimizing Windows. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, Aero could be easily turned off either by the user or automatically by the system. Turning off Aero would disable features like taskbar thumbnails and glass. On Windows Visa and 7, Aero would be turned off under the following circumstances:
  • Switching to Windows Basic, Windows Classic, or High Contrast theme
  • Turning off Aero from the "Advanced System Settings" dialogue box
  • Starting Windows under Safe mode
  • Uninstalling graphics driver or running Windows on virtual machine without any "guest additions"
  • Running a software that turns of Aero, like the game "Half Life"
  • Ending "Desktop Window Manager" process from the taskbar
Windows Windows 8, none of the methods above seem to work:
  • Windows Classic theme does not exist. Windows Basic theme is replaced by Aero light, and High Contrast themes still keeps Aero on.
  • It is impossible to turn off Aero from the "Advanced System Settings".
  • Starting Windows in Safe Mode keeps Aero enabled
  • Uninstalling graphics drivers does not disable aero. Aero still works without virtual machine's guest additions
  • No software, thus far, has been able to turn of Aero, including Half-Life and Roller Coaster Tycoon.
  • Attempting to end "Desktop Window Manager" process from the taskbar warns that Windows will crash and shut down.
I have tried very hard to disable Aero (for experimentation) but no methods have prevailed. My challenge for you is to discover a way to turn of Aero on Windows 8. If you can do it, please post a screenshot!

Here's a pic of Aero still running when I switch to a High Contrast theme. Notice that the taskbar thumbnail is present:
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#2 xendrome

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 17:49

Disable "Desktop Window Manager Session Manager" service instead of stop it? What does it do.

Any why would you want to disable Aero?

#3 OP Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 17:49

Disable "Desktop Window Manager Session Manager" service?


As I noted on the main thread, it crashes the entire system and shuts down Windows. Does not work. Check the list of methods I tried on the main thread, all of which seemed to fail.

To answer you second question: I don't want to disable Aero, I want to experiment with Windows 8. It is amazing how Microsoft has managed to keep Aero on under very circumstances, such as bad graphics drivers, something that was beyond imagination on the days of Vista. Kudos to Microsoft. I wanted to see how far we could push Aero on Windows 8.

#4 Coolicer

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 18:27

Maybe it falls back to a software renderer?

#5 Detection

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:07

I disabled the Display adapter in vmware, screen went black for a few seconds, and when it came back on I had 1024x768 with aero still running

I don't think you can kill it

#6 OP Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:10

So, Microsoft's claim that Aero has to run on advanced graphics hardware during the vista days was a lie? Sinofsky has disproven Vista dev team.

#7 Hell-In-A-Handbasket

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:10

As I noted on the main thread, it crashes the entire system and shuts down Windows. Does not work. Check the list of methods I tried on the main thread, all of which seemed to fail.


My DWSM crashes all the time for the last 2 Nvidia driver updates whenever I try to watch a vid, never shuts down. Stays that wat till I restart the service

#8 HawkMan

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:20

So, Microsoft's claim that Aero has to run on advanced graphics hardware during the vista days was a lie? Sinofsky has disproven Vista dev team.


Things are not static, meaning they change, 5 years of developement can do a lot you know. And besides, what hardware are you testing on, could it run aero in vista?

#9 CentralDogma

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:21

What happens if you install Windows 8 on a PC with a graphics card that doesn't support WDDM?

#10 Detection

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:27

What happens if you install Windows 8 on a PC with a graphics card that doesn't support WDDM?


There are specific specs needed for Win 8 Metro UI, maybe it won't allow the install ?

#11 CentralDogma

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:34

There are specific specs needed for Win 8 Metro UI, maybe it won't allow the install ?


Then, what if you install it then swap cards?

#12 vetsanctified

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 19:41

What if you rename the dwm.exe to .bak and restart?

#13 OP Nazmus Shakib Khandaker

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 20:02

I did try Windows 8 on devices that Vista failed to run Aero on. Windows 8 ran Aero just fine! About installing 8 on PCs without WDDM, I don't know what happens. Can anyone emulate that on a VM?

#14 bogas04

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 20:11

Aero should run even on ARM devices so i guess they made it much less resource hungry

#15 Detection

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 20:16

What if you rename the dwm.exe to .bak and restart?


That :laugh:

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