Aero Glass can be turned on in the leaked build of Windows 8.1 update 1

Aero Glass is a theme that many loved and it broke many hearts when the theme was not included with Windows 8. With it’s tasteful transparency and the ability to tweak the tints of the glass, many hoped that the theme would return with Windows 8.1. Alas, Microsoft decided to can the theme and moved to the flatter pastures with the introduction of the modern design language.

But, if you like to live on the bleeding (and leaked) edge of Windows and want to relive the glory days of Aero, you can do so in the Windows 8.1 update 1 that has leaked. With a simple registry tweak you can bring back Aero Glass but we should note that the theme is extremely buggy and not for those who are doing anything other than simply playing with the theme.

The tweak involves changing the values inside of your registry which we might add should only be done by folks who know what they are doing as a bad registry change can kill your system. But, if you are brave enough, do the following: locate KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows and then click on 'Windows' and select New > Key and name it DWM. From there, create a Dword 32bit values and name it HideBlur, then change the value to 1.

While we are cautiously optimistic that Microsoft will bring back one of the best themes the company has created, seeing as this can only be done in a leaked build of Windows 8.1, we wouldn’t get too excited as these things are quite common. In fact, since it is a leaked build, everything is subject to change and the ability to enable Aero Glass could be an oversight by those who compiled the build.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is expected to arrive in April and could be formally announced at BUILD that takes place the first week of that month. Seeing as Microsoft has kept quiet on this update, any features that do leak could be changed (or not make it at all) before the final version is released.

Via Winbeta and @bav0

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Microsoft is still fighting with all its might giving what their customer want. Why does one have to do a registry tweak to get Aero glass? Why wasn't it included in Windows-8, since it was available and much loved in Windows-7? Similarly, why was the mouse/keyboard oriented UI removed in Windows-8 in order to pander to touch-centric devices? It goes on and on. There is hope, albeit it may be vain, that Windows-9 will restore the full functionality of Windows-7 and add the "flash" to satisfy the mobile device users.

The desktop version should have always had the choice for the end users right off the install. A simple selection where those folks that want the Metro interface could choose to and those of us that want a traditional desktop experience could choose to as well. Aero Glass should have been a selectable theme for desktop users right from the start to. It does not have to be the default at all but it should have been selectable. I am getting sick and tired of the lack of choice and an ever increasing locked down Windows experience.

While some folks may like the metro look I for one loathe it. I am all about choice, you want metro go for it but for those of us that want Aero it should have been there for us to enable.

Exactly! I like and use Windows because I have options, I can do pretty much what I want with it.

If they go down the Apple road, telling us what is best and what to like, limiting the options... well, that sux!

Still has those awful Windows Vista/7 icons - in fact many icons are still a throwback to the old Windows XP days.

Consistent modern icon set for everything please Microsoft!

I'm a big fan of options. I'm pretty used to the solid borders, but I still don't really like the default Windows borders. I wish generic windows looked more like Office 2013, with a 1 pixel border and no colored close button on the top right.

hotdog963al said,
Metro is horrendous! Glass was a step in the right direction, but there's still lots to improve.

There fixed that for you...

I hope it stays this way,not like they won't have an option to disable it anyway the boot to desktop is a great feature imo.

Eww. No, just no. It looks so dated, and the new Win8 desktop look and feel is just better.

What I'd REALLY like to see is a system-wide revamp of graphics and icons to match the new Win8 look and feel... new, flatter icons, dialog images, formatting, etc., updated fonts and typography, etc... to make the Desktop look more at home in a metro world.

The answer is really simple: All that compositing and effects (transparency, blurring, gradients, etc) use computer resources, and Win8 was concentrating on making battery life last longer. It wanted to run on Tablets, and wanted to get decent battery life like iPads do... instead of the miserable 1-2 hours it probably would have gotten without all the Win8 power optimizations.

Dot Matrix said,
Go away. Personally, I'm happy I'm not living inside a glass house anymore. Skeuphomorphism is dead.

I don't see how transparency is necessarily skeumorphic. Some of the textures they added to it were a bit.

testman said,
It was the definition of skeuomorphic. See-through glass, obv

Yea how they marketed it to the public, and put a glassy texture on the transparency. But the only use of transparency isn't for something to look like glass.

What's wrong of giving the option to re-enable aero glass.
That way you can choose to enable or disable it to your preference.
Myself, I hope it does come back, at least for the Windows 8x desktop.

I hope it doesn't come back... instead they should just remove the borders all together... it would make it look much cleaner (Office 2013 and Zune are good examples of why it looks better without borders) and it would put an end to the Aero whiners.

j2006 said,
I hope it doesn't come back... instead they should just remove the borders all together... it would make it look much cleaner (Office 2013 and Zune are good examples of why it looks better without borders) and it would put an end to the Aero whiners.

That requires UI elements that intrude on the applications internal canvas for grabbing and resizing. That's a no-no.

Imo, they have to start porting WinRT to the Desktop, so people can make Modern looking Desktop apps. That's more than just the border, although the border would need to be dealt with for legacy apps.

Mordkanin said,

That requires UI elements that intrude on the applications internal canvas for grabbing and resizing. That's a no-no.

Office 2013 doesn't have any UI elements for grabbing, you just have to select the black outline of the window, like you would a window border.

brianshapiro said,

Office 2013 doesn't have any UI elements for grabbing, you just have to select the black outline of the window, like you would a window border.

It still runs the risk of issues in the bottom corners.

j2006 said,
I hope it doesn't come back... instead they should just remove the borders all together... it would make it look much cleaner (Office 2013 and Zune are good examples of why it looks better without borders) and it would put an end to the Aero whiners.

remove the borders and make it full screen. oh snap...oh snap, again.

j2006 said,
I hope it doesn't come back... it would put an end to the Aero whiners.

We're going through this again? Just because people liked a feature and want a choice to keep it they become "whiners"?

dopydope said,
Please don't.

What is nowadays this hate for choices? I did not like the "Classic" theme in XP and did not use it but others did and use it.

From the picture it appears to be straight up transparency with no blur like AeroGlass had. BigMuscle has had an AeroGlass addon for quite awhile though.

acido00 said,
I think MS should remove the borders of the window

they would have to add (noticeable) shadows in that case. Not that I would mind...

I see less of a point to this, as the UI advances and metro apps are in windows in v9 you'll see less chrome around windows IMO. For example look at the thin title bar in update 1 for metro apps, I'm willing to bet those stay the same in 9 and they could extend that to legacy desktop apps as well. Thin out the borders and so on and there's less and less chrome to bother with.

Aero was gone? I hate how things are still transparant on my copy of 8.1! The whole desktop interface clashes with the startscreen and the rest of the new UI. As an actually satisfied Windows 8 user I want them to make the desktop theme Metro as well.

Naturally there should be choice but just look at those bubblegum-like icon-holders in the taskbar. They look terrible with the flat metro tile inside it. But Microsoft also knows how its supposed to be done. Just look at the Windows icon on the left of it. It's entirely flat and when selected it doesnt show 3D effects instead it becomes black. The solution for the metro-taskbar is simple. Have the icons with no color. But when selected/active have the tile display the same color as on the startscreen. That or any of the many ways it could be done in the modern style..

warwagon said,
Personally Aero looks a hell of a lot more current than the windows 8 theme.

Yeah that must be why everyone is copying Aero and not MS's Metro design style these days... oh wait.

neonspark said,
Yikes. Transparency in UIs is so last decade. What's next, mullets and gold chains?

I guess you missed how iOS 7 is using transparency and glass effects everywhere on all of Apple's devices...

excalpius said,

I guess you missed how iOS 7 is using transparency and glass effects everywhere on all of Apple's devices...


Which perfectly backs up the point of it being out of date.

Apple uses tons of graphic design looks from the early to middle 2000's:
Rounded corners, gradients, drop shadows, reflections, shine, transparency...

- All very dated stuff that was heavily used on things many years ago, including Windows when it was the "in thing" of the time. If Apple does it you KNOW it's dated. Apple can't innovate, they just take old ideas and rehash them.

Meanwhile everyone else is designing flatter more Metro themed graphics, and not just OS's, pretty much everything, including sites and physical hardware. Look at pretty much any new site redesign and it always looks closer to Metro.

NoClipMode said,
Apple uses tons of graphic design looks from the early to middle 2000's:
Rounded corners

Even rounded corners are outdated now, huh? Too bad...

excalpius said,

I guess you missed how iOS 7 is using transparency and glass effects everywhere on all of Apple's devices...

I call iOS 7's design style "AeroMetro" for this reason :-)

You can enable glass in 8.1, just change the theme to a high contrast one , then click on the color button (next to desktop BG), keep that window open. Right click the desktop click personalize, then change it back to a Windows 8 theme. The color and appearance window should still be open, click save changes. You can't change it back to a Windows 8 theme that auto colors the Windows, as when Windows recolors the borders, it looses the transparency.

Mordkanin said,

Why would anyone want that?

For better compatibility with programs that do not behave well with composition enabled. I have some older games and some emulators that don't work correctly with Windows 8. Windows 7 allowed you to disable it on a per application basis.

AR556 said,

For better compatibility with programs that do not behave well with composition enabled. I have some older games and some emulators that don't work correctly with Windows 8. Windows 7 allowed you to disable it on a per application basis.

That's odd. Win8 should have addressed such problems. The shell can no longer function correctly without composition enabled. It wasn't sustainable to keep both code paths working any longer.

Brandon Live said,

That's odd. Win8 should have addressed such problems. The shell can no longer function correctly without composition enabled. It wasn't sustainable to keep both code paths working any longer.

Not a "Mission critical" application, obviously but one example is the emulator HIGAN (formally named (BSNES). It doesn't support a true full screen mode and runs in a Windowed mode, only. Windows desktop composition creates issues with vsync, causing graphical stutter/jerking.

Tinkering with higan's settings allows me to get a near-perfect vsync on Windows 8.1. It can be addressed in the program itself like Retroarch does, but the developer seems unwilling to do it.

Boo Berry said,
Tinkering with higan's settings allows me to get a near-perfect vsync on Windows 8.1. It can be addressed in the program itself like Retroarch does, but the developer seems unwilling to do it.

Yeah, I can get it close to perfect, but still jerks on me occasionally. Frame rate is stable, so its not an issue with my hardware not being good enough.

Byuu (HIGAN creator) is very minimalist, and isn't interested in supporting DirectX on Windows much. He's firmly in the OpenGL/Linux camp. There would be no Windows version if Linux had any kind of market share.

What strikes me is why is this still here ? Dead code is bad. I thought they had started a serious cleanup of all the cr4p that clutters windows. Very disappointed !

I meant the code for all these silly tacky transparency effects. Should have been removed from the code base during the build of 8.0. How come 2 iterations later you can still get transparency effects. It's just the sign that the codebase is a giant inefficient mess.

dopydope said,
I meant the code for all these silly tacky transparency effects. Should have been removed from the code base during the build of 8.0. How come 2 iterations later you can still get transparency effects. It's just the sign that the codebase is a giant inefficient mess.
its part of dwm. They probably have a flag for the internal builds that still compiles this code in.

Because if your product doesnt use a functionality why keep the code for this functionality ? It increases the risk of bugs, unexpected behaviours, wastes disk space and potentially memory, makes the code more difficult to maintain ... This is not a good practice. You should only ever have the bare minimum code that you need.

That's how you end up with a Windows folder weighing a whopping 17GB

NoClipMode said,
It's only ever in the Windows 8.x beta's, this code will be removed in the final build.

May I suggest the use of "may be" instead of "will be"? Unless of course you are the Project manager although I believe that if you were.... you would not be commenting about the subject at all....

dopydope said,
I meant the code for all these silly tacky transparency effects. Should have been removed from the code base during the build of 8.0. How come 2 iterations later you can still get transparency effects. It's just the sign that the codebase is a giant inefficient mess.
Because removing it isn't a simple job, especially as you have to test all scenarios to make sure that you don't break any possible dependencies that may have been developed over the years. Easier to just "turn it off/disable" and remove it at a later date.

The Windows folder isn't anywhere near 17GB...

Are you including the pagefile, hibernation file, and system image used for factory restore?

StarLion said,
The Windows folder isn't anywhere near 17GB...

Are you including the pagefile, hibernation file, and system image used for factory restore?


Mine is, i'm talking C:\Windows, fresh win8.1 enterprise install. No idea what's in there to be honest !
Still on my DV8P with windows 8 standard it's just under 9GB. Still an awful lot.

testman said,
Because removing it isn't a simple job, especially as you have to test all scenarios to make sure that you don't break any possible dependencies that may have been developed over the years. Easier to just "turn it off/disable" and remove it at a later date.

I never said it was a simple job. You can take shortcuts and deliver bad quality. Or you can do the job properly.

dopydope said,
Because if your product doesnt use a functionality why keep the code for this functionality ? It increases the risk of bugs, unexpected behaviours, wastes disk space and potentially memory, makes the code more difficult to maintain ... This is not a good practice. You should only ever have the bare minimum code that you need.

That's how you end up with a Windows folder weighing a whopping 17GB

Prerelease code is stripped out by the preprocessor. It doesn't get compiled or included in released build. It's there to serve some debugging / diagnostics purpose. And it isn't "Aero Glass" or whatever. It doesn't have the "glass" effect at all, it's just turning off a layer that's used for something else now.

dopydope said,

Mine is, i'm talking C:\Windows, fresh win8.1 enterprise install. No idea what's in there to be honest !
Still on my DV8P with windows 8 standard it's just under 9GB. Still an awful lot.

Strange. Going from 8 to 8.1 I reclaimed some of my disk space back. This was confirmed in a lot of reports too, 8.1 takes up 10-15% less space than 8.0

edit: Try deleting your windows.old folder

Romero said,
Why?

Well Aero Glass is probably not able to enabled in prerelease builds for aesthetic reasons, but to debug code. It's possible that they want to be able to activate "HideBlur" so that they know this feature isn't influencing anything.

+warwagon - So you can only work with Windows Vista and 7 and not XP, 2000, etc., Mac OS X or Linux cos you get eye strain? Nutter!

testman said,
+warwagon - So you can only work with Windows Vista and 7 and not XP, 2000, etc., Mac OS X or Linux cos you get eye strain? Nutter!

OSX too has some amount of transparency at places if you don't already know.

HideBlur is always enabled in beta and milestone builds. It doesn't mean it will be there in RTM. Was the same for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1...

tomwarren said,
HideBlur is always enabled in beta and milestone builds. It doesn't mean it will be there in RTM. Was the same for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1...

Well hopefully they *forget* to disable it for RTM.

won't happen accidently. I am sure the build process is handled automatically. 'extra' features get included for whatever reasons, .. like extra code / functions that they have for internal purposes only. RTM builds strip that out what they don't use, or aren't actually using in the product. . The HideBlur feature is obviously in their framework, but not really part of Windows 8..

It will come from a decision that they make if they decide to ever make it a feature or not..

In the case of this feature, it could be something that's like a debug feature but not overly compatible or optimized to be turned on within the new Windows 8 eco system. a so called 'hack,' which is why they don't include it in the final product.

firey said,

Well hopefully they *forget* to disable it for RTM.

That's not how it works. Test / debugging things like this are in PRERELEASE blocks. Shipped builds don't have PRERELEASE defined.

Raa said,
I'm curious why they'd remove a feature, then add it back in... then remove it again?

Again, it's supposedly conditional code that only gets included if it's a prerelease build.

Raa said,
I'm curious why they'd remove a feature, then add it back in... then remove it again?

It's conditionally compiled for private builds only. For retail release builds it simply isn't in the compiled codebase for distribution.