Windows 8 'Aero Lite' screenshots surface

It has been a big week in the world of Windows 8. Among the many new screenshots comes the first clear look at the new theme, 'Aero Lite'.

This latest information comes courtesy of winreview.ru and only show modest updates. It looks like the theme may still be a work in process, as is the entire OS, but you can see a few of the elements we posted previously showing up in the new theme.

It is believed that this theme will be for lower end hardware as it is expected that there will also by a dynamic theme as well. For those with older hardware, this should come as a good sign that you will be getting a new theme too.

The 'Metro' design language is more apparent in these images as they appear more flat and less glossy from previous themes in Windows. While not much else is revealed, we can also see another look at the new taskbar as well. The image in the bottom right shows the user who is logged in and ties directly to their Windows Live ID.

Windows 8 is expected to RTM in 2012 with the latest rumor suggesting an early January 2013 retail availability.

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I like the squared corners. I hope they keep the square corners for the hi-end themes as well. I don't really see why round is better...

Apple is going to want to upgrade the visual asthetics of the Aqua theme for Lion if they have a shot of competeing with the design of this stunning theme.

I'm sorry but anyone could have probably come up with this in (not saying it's fake but I hope it is). I really liked the gloss in windows vista and 7 but I do like wp7's nice animations but otherwise, it reminds me of 90's style web page

Where is the time we could customize Windows 2000 with minimal mods? I still love the classic theme with some mods the most. This Aero Lite will never come on my PC, it just looks like a step backwards and I guess that's not really a target goal.

Wannes said,
Where is the time we could customize Windows 2000 with minimal mods? I still love the classic theme with some mods the most. This Aero Lite will never come on my PC, it just looks like a step backwards and I guess that's not really a target goal.
+1 classic was awesome

I actually like it. They simplified theme by making it a bit flat. It looks good. This is just basic theme, and really there is no reason for server to run classic windows theme. Also i hope they get rid of classic windows theme. Less legacy stuff, lighter and better Windows 8 will be. Speaking of polishing UI it is good. Most of you here have no idea how development goes not to mention to put 3 lines of code together or write desktop or web app left alone knowing more than 2 programming language. MS did big job with Vista, Windows 7 was improvement under hood and with Windows 8 they are taking to the next level. Development process is really fast now since MS has great tools and lot of knowledge is there. Every new Windows release will be developed faster unless they decide to make OS from scratch.

Anybody notice the "Change your look" on the left in the personalization window? Maybe this ties in with the WL tile in the bottom right corner?

what the hell,Lion is shipping this summer and windows 8 only out in 2013>? what big feature is microsoft baking for the world? Maybe they just going to wait all the great feature from mac coming out in lion then steal it to polish it up like what they did with windows vista/7...similar road path microsoft is doing with vista...long over due ~ WELL,A release during the year 2012 in the summer or early might just fine AND NOT UNTIL 2013!!!

Gross. Seriously, they're tweaking the ui already? They pretty much nailed it in 7 - could do with buying and using a theme like Win Shine 2.0 or something, and concentrate on making it an OS-X killer feature-wise.

dancedar said,
Gross. Seriously, they're tweaking the ui already? They pretty much nailed it in 7 - could do with buying and using a theme like Win Shine 2.0 or something, and concentrate on making it an OS-X killer feature-wise.

Aero is from 2007, it needs an update. Windows 7 had only minor changes.
I hope they move away from the glossy and rounded look. It's so outdated. It was refreshing to see the WP7 UI lacking that particular style. Obviously Windows can't look like WP7, but I hope they use the same "less is more" approach.

Glass isn't perfect and not everyone thinks it looks great. I for one can't stand the sight of it. I'm hoping they'll come up with something totally different!

Tpiom said,
Microsoft really knows how to make things worse.

This is abysmal!


It'd be stupid to assume this is anywhere near finished. . . .

Can't be real, looks awful! There are some pretty nice basic themes out there which they should take some design pointers from. Clearscreen Sharp for example, looks fantastic in basic.

hotdog963al said,
Can't be real, looks awful! There are some pretty nice basic themes out there which they should take some design pointers from. Clearscreen Sharp for example, looks fantastic in basic.

Judging by the background TAP members don't have this build yet so its a daily MS internal build. There still prototyping the UI, at least MS makes changes to there UI when a new OS is released, the look of OS X hasn't changed in what 10 years .

eviltwigflipper said,

Judging by the background TAP members don't have this build yet so its a daily MS internal build. There still prototyping the UI, at least MS makes changes to there UI when a new OS is released, the look of OS X hasn't changed in what 10 years .

Got a point, and besides... Its BOUND to change between now and release. Just look at how much the UI changed between 2000 > XP > Vista in the beta versions. It changed a lot in every couple of builds.

eviltwigflipper said,
the look of OS X hasn't changed in what 10 years .

I suggest you do some research. Aqua has gone through pretty big changes and it will again with Mac OS X Lion.

.Neo said,

I suggest you do some research. Aqua has gone through pretty big changes and it will again with Mac OS X Lion.

Yes...its more shinny they added a gloss and finally added fullscreen apps...

TechDudeGeorge said,
But this looks strange, the back/fowards buttons are the same. Instead of the ones in that image released yesterday.

That's probably because the buttons leaked in the image are from Aero Forms (Used for the various control panel wizards). Explorer has its back and forward button resources hardcoded in ExplorerFrame.dll. They will probably change later in the developement.

This does look like that custom theme released yesterday. But I like it. Way better then Aero Basic, I mean how bad does that default colour look. Horrible. I hope this replaces Classic as well. I hate classic UI. I mean it last debuted in Windows 2000/ME. Stop using it 11 years later.

And hopefully the main UI looks so much better!

Come on people, we know this isn't great (yet) but this is MICROSOFT we're talking about, the number one software company in the world. We are going to love it when it comes out because what really, what other choice do we have?

heroinsmoker said,
Come on people, we know this isn't great (yet) but this is MICROSOFT we're talking about, the number one software company in the world. We are going to love it when it comes out because what really, what other choice do we have?

Install custom visual styles, switch OS, etc, etc

Just goes to show that Aero looks like ass if the hardware doesn't support transparancy. They should really have a UI like XP for computers that don't have a capable graphics card.

warwagon said,
Just goes to show that Aero looks like ass if the hardware doesn't support transparancy. They should really have a UI like XP for computers that don't have a capable graphics card.

They have, it's called Windows Basic. It's basically the Windows XP theme engine.

.Neo said,

They have, it's called Windows Basic. It's basically the Windows XP theme engine.

Yep but that not only looks ugly, it looks out of place. Heck even Aero with no transparency looks out of place. XP was nice looking.

Lower end hardware? What are they talking about? Even onboard 7 years old Intel GMA 950 can run Aero full speed. This is ridiculous!

Luis Mazza said,
Lower end hardware? What are they talking about? Even onboard 7 years old Intel GMA 950 can run Aero full speed. This is ridiculous!

They mean the people who still use 5 year old computers running XP and decide to upgrade. Most computers now days can run Aero.

Luis Mazza said,
Lower end hardware? What are they talking about? Even onboard 7 years old Intel GMA 950 can run Aero full speed. This is ridiculous!

They mean the people who still use 5 year old computers running XP and decide to upgrade. Most computers now days can run Aero.

Yeah it's ugly, but the focus won't be on the interface at least until the beta stages. Between now and then we're just going to see placeholders.

Looks more like "Aero retro" taking us back to Windows 3.1. Aero basic was bad, but this is worse. Besides, I don't really see any reason to use this when the regular Aero theming will work just fine on any netbook or pc these days.

BetaAddict said,
Looks more like "Aero retro" taking us back to Windows 3.1. Aero basic was bad, but this is worse. Besides, I don't really see any reason to use this when the regular Aero theming will work just fine on any netbook or pc these days.

I disagree. Currently Aero may perform just fine on any hardware you throw at it, but it sucks battery life. I can get almost an extra hour of battery life on my ThinkPad if I use Aero Basic (shutter)....

I think this is MS's last chance to get the UI right. Too many other companies are killing it in that area, and MS has been ignoring it.

So far of course the above looks just terrible. We all thought the current Basic theme was "just beta" before it turned into "**** shipped?!?!?". Looks like we are going to get square windows in Win8. I am not sure if that is a good thing. Yes, it is different than the rest of the world, but different isnt always better.

I have been bitching for a long time that MS get their UI house in order, so you know apps on the platform look like they were built for it. (Even MS apps for that matter). Metro UI style seemed like the answer to that, however having had a Win7 phone since release, I can say that it isnt the answer. Metro is too stark, too boring, kinda has a depressing feel after while. When sitting next to the pure work of art that is the iPad2, its embrassing. the iOS line UI is clean, simple, UNIFORM, bright, and very functional. Do I need 1/3rd of the screen in my contacts to say the word "people" on win7 phone? No, I dont.

Ryanlm said,
I think this is MS's last chance to get the UI right. Too many other companies are killing it in that area, and MS has been ignoring it.

So far of course the above looks just terrible. We all thought the current Basic theme was "just beta" before it turned into "**** shipped?!?!?". Looks like we are going to get square windows in Win8. I am not sure if that is a good thing. Yes, it is different than the rest of the world, but different isnt always better.

I have been bitching for a long time that MS get their UI house in order, so you know apps on the platform look like they were built for it. (Even MS apps for that matter). Metro UI style seemed like the answer to that, however having had a Win7 phone since release, I can say that it isnt the answer. Metro is too stark, too boring, kinda has a depressing feel after while. When sitting next to the pure work of art that is the iPad2, its embrassing. the iOS line UI is clean, simple, UNIFORM, bright, and very functional. Do I need 1/3rd of the screen in my contacts to say the word "people" on win7 phone? No, I dont.

So true. I feel like Metro UI is Microsoft trying too hard to look "futuristic"- and forgetting that it doesn't always work.

thekim said,
looks crappy

I really didn't like the buttons either... Need to wait for the release, though...
But, I don't know why they don't allow customization on the superbar when Basic style is activated. I would love having a black superbar with Basic Style on XD.

Jose_49 said,

I really didn't like the buttons either... Need to wait for the release, though...

Exactly. I have a feeling the forward/back buttons will be like IE9 and the window frame, buttons, etc. will be like Office 15.

osm0sis said,

Exactly. I have a feeling the forward/back buttons will be like IE9 and the window frame, buttons, etc. will be like Office 15.


Those where my same thoughts when I first saw IE9 Beta, and if they really do that, it's going to look awesome.

It is going in the right direction... getting rid of the fugly playschool bezel makes things look a little more professional. But the color choice in those screen shots are terrible. They should make the color theme lighter, like the way the Zune window looks when using the basic theme.

Critical Error said,
I know its not finalized, but man; this look horrible! Even Windows Classic looks better.

I actually love Windows Classic! <3

neufuse said,
that has to be a place holder, because even MS wouldn't make it look that bad

LOL, I agree. This is Windows 3.1 all over.

neufuse said,
that has to be a place holder, because even MS wouldn't make it look that bad

They designed Windows Basic and before that Luna... Do you need more proof?

Neobond said,
It is for computers without compatible hardware.
Basic doesn't mean it has to look ugly (which it does).

Before everybody jumps on me, yes yes it's still WIP and I know what that means.

sexypeperodri said,
Ugly is not a good enough word to describe how bad it looks.

MS should looks at the MS styles which have been made by users for non aero over the years, they could learn a lot

Neobond said,
It is for computers without compatible hardware.

I'm sorry, but that doesn't mean it has to look ugly. Something minimalistic can almost always be even prettier for the eye than full blown eye-candy, if you do it right.

Heck, Vista Basic has actually got much wider skinning capabilities than Aero - forget borderless windows, centered window captions or shadows under captions (not glow which is a bitmap, I mean CSS-ish text shadow). This is why almost every fan made Aero-based theme looks the same.

Borix said,

MS should looks at the MS styles which have been made by users for non aero over the years, they could learn a lot

Really? I've never found a theme that has ever been a true keeper. They look great in the preview pics but in reality are never quite as good imo.

Neobond said,
It is for computers without compatible hardware.

Funny you should say that considering my 2000 iMac G3 was capable of running full hardware accelerated Aqua all the way up to 2005's Mac OS X Tiger. The only thing that would be disabled was the Dashboard ripple effect, which relied on Core Image. Even with Mac OS X Leopard older hardware gets regular Aqua be it with more advanced stuff turned off. Why this can't be the case on Windows is completely beyond me.

This is great, I spoke to Jim Allchin on the release of Windows Vista and asked him why they didn't just go for a basic Aero theme for Vista without the glass, and he told me that users "wouldn't understand the difference" something I disagreed with, and now we have it! Years later!

Neobond said,
This is great, I spoke to Jim Allchin on the release of Windows Vista and asked him why they didn't just go for a basic Aero theme for Vista without the glass, and he told me that users "wouldn't understand the difference" something I disagreed with, and now we have it! Years later!

Sorry but the majority of users hate the aero basic theme.
The whole campaign around Vista was about the WOW-factor. Without aero it probably would be about the YUCK-factor

Borix said,

The whole campaign around Vista was about the WOW-factor. Without aero it probably would be about the YUCK-factor

I personally thought Vista had plenty of "yuck" factor even with Aero enabled. Dominant colours of teal, green, and black with excessive amounts of glowing text and blurry transparency (that would change to black when maximized)? The amount of polish that's happened between Vista and Windows 7 is phenomenal.

The pic up top looks like a half-baked Watercolour theme. If they finish it properly, it could be quite alright (athough not terribly modern looking).

Sadelwo said,
I wonder if Win 8 will drop the "Windows Classic' theme.

Maybe on the client side ya, dunno about server though.

GP007 said,

Maybe on the client side ya, dunno about server though.


considering it can push 3d games and HD movies through RDP without breaking a sweat, aero should work without much of a hitch aswell

Before everyone writes "FUGLY!!!", remember: there's no point in criticizing UI choices before the UI is finalized. This is milestone 3. Everything is subject to change.

Avi said,
Before everyone writes "FUGLY!!!", remember: there's no point in criticizing UI choices before the UI is finalized. This is milestone 3. Everything is subject to change.

Sorry, but this is THE moment to critize! NOT when the UI is finished.

Borix said,

Sorry, but this is THE moment to critize! NOT when the UI is finished.


Do you recall what the UI looked like for Windows 7 M3? It was basically the Vista UI with some minor modifications. Public input on the UI would be a pointless exercize. If you've ever done any requirements gathering you would know this.

Avi said,
Before everyone writes "FUGLY!!!", remember: there's no point in criticizing UI choices before the UI is finalized. This is milestone 3. Everything is subject to change.

haven't worked much on design teams have you? from the first draft you criticize it's flaws, because that molds the final result, ideas from here shape what is done in the end when we design webpages, our mockup is instantly criticized by the clients even though its a mockup, we take those ideas and integrate them make another mockup and it evolves over time

neufuse said,

haven't worked much on design teams have you? from the first draft you criticize it's flaws, because that molds the final result, ideas from here shape what is done in the end when we design webpages, our mockup is instantly criticized by the clients even though its a mockup, we take those ideas and integrate them make another mockup and it evolves over time

That's assuming this really is a first draft and not a placeholder. Early builds rarely look anything like the final product. Remember the Watercolor theme when XP was in development? Actually that might be a bad example since that looked a whole lot better than Luna.

neufuse said,
haven't worked much on design teams have you? from the first draft you criticize it's flaws, because that molds the final result, ideas from here shape what is done in the end when we design webpages, our mockup is instantly criticized by the clients even though its a mockup, we take those ideas and integrate them make another mockup and it evolves over time
dude, i'm talking about criticizing it here on Neowin. it's not like they read your input and make changes based on it. we all know the final product won't look anything like M3...

Avi said,
dude, i'm talking about criticizing it here on Neowin. it's not like they read your input and make changes based on it. we all know the final product won't look anything like M3...

they do read public places like neowin, they'd like to know what people think of it. And they seem to visit Neowin aswell. (MS)
thus critizing on places like neowin is a good place. As not everyone is part of the windows 8 pilot

Shadowzz said,

they do read public places like neowin, they'd like to know what people think of it. And they seem to visit Neowin aswell. (MS)
thus critizing on places like neowin is a good place. As not everyone is part of the windows 8 pilot
How do you know they visit Neowin??

yazb123 said,
wow, the leaks just keep coming

Yeah trying to steal some thunder from iPad one could think, but what I'm thinking is that Win8 will be more under the hood job than actually any GUI overhaul.

Fidel Sarcastro said,
Anything's better than the Basic themes that are included now *shudders*
+1

the bar was set pretty low though

Rudy said,
+1

the bar was set pretty low though

The classic theme in Windows XP was so much better than Aero Basic.... giant step backwards.

Fidel Sarcastro said,
Anything's better than the Basic themes that are included now *shudders*

Thought so too at first. I am beginning to doubt this atm. This is beginning to look pathetic.

Fidel Sarcastro said,
Anything's better than the Basic themes that are included now *shudders*

I initially DESPISED the Basic theme, but I think it's not that bad if you get used to it.

But the supposed Aerolite theme looks awful to me. I think that Metro UI can be seriously overused and painful on the eyes when it is used for the entire GUI.

Dr Pepper said,

Am I the only one that actually likes Basic?

No. My 8 year old daughter thought the black one was pretty fancy
I gave her a good telling off and made her change it back to aero immediately!

b_roca said,

No. My 8 year old daughter thought the black one was pretty fancy
I gave her a good telling off and made her change it back to aero immediately!

Errr...ummm....what?? You told your daughter off?? LOLZ!!

Dr Pepper said,

Am I the only one that actually likes Basic?

You realize that by using Basic, you are turning off the Aero DWM, and losing a significant chunk of performance?

If you want an inbetween, turn on Aero, and turn off Transparency. This is the fastest and most effcient way to run Windows 7, as the GPU is being used for all the performance extras, without any additional processing for 'pretty effects'.

This is how Netbooks default when running on Battery, as it is the most effcient use of battery, as the GPU rendering is less costly to the battery than running Basic and having the CPU do all the work. (Netbooks with Windows 7 Home Premium or above - Starter you get less performace all around, which is a bit of an oxymoron concept, as people assume Starter would be the fastest.)

b_roca said,

No. My 8 year old daughter thought the black one was pretty fancy
I gave her a good telling off and made her change it back to aero immediately!

haha i remember experimenting with custom color scheme's on my xp computer. although tbh, they look like garbage and give you a headache

thenetavenger said,

You realize that by using Basic, you are turning off the Aero DWM, and losing a significant chunk of performance?

If you want an inbetween, turn on Aero, and turn off Transparency. This is the fastest and most effcient way to run Windows 7, as the GPU is being used for all the performance extras, without any additional processing for 'pretty effects'.

This is how Netbooks default when running on Battery, as it is the most effcient use of battery, as the GPU rendering is less costly to the battery than running Basic and having the CPU do all the work. (Netbooks with Windows 7 Home Premium or above - Starter you get less performace all around, which is a bit of an oxymoron concept, as people assume Starter would be the fastest.)

Naaa I still use Aero, just had to use Basic on an old PC and found it not too bad.