Windows 8 'Aero Lite' shown off with more detail in new images

Windows 8 will bring many things to the table with regards to new functionality and visual styles. While this is great for everyone with a modern machine, Microsoft does not want to leave out those with hardware that is not up to spec for the new visual cues. 

On this front, Aero Lite will be a new theme for Windows 8 that will encompass the new Meto design language. The image above shows off the new theme in more detail than previous images have shown. In the image, you can see the new start menu with the Metro design applied. The taskbar is also now included in the Aero Lite theme as well and now appears flatter when compared to Windows 7 or Vista. 

This image comes courtesy of MDL where users are still digging through the latest leak. With the leak in the hands of many, as time goes, it is expected that more features will be uncovered and eventually unlocked. 

It shouldn't come as a major surprise that Microsoft will bring the 'Metro' look to Windows 8 as the company has been displaying that visual style on several of its interfaces. The 'Metro' look is set to become a staple of Microsoft products as they continue to build a brand around that visual style to help differentiate their products.

Windows 8 is far off from public availability and it is rumored that a public beta may be announced at PDC later this year. It is expected that Microsoft will launch Windows 8 in late 2012 with the latest rumors suggesting that retail availability will happen in early 2013.

 

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Man people's comments make me not want to read it anymore... a bunch of crybabies around here lately. Waah this early, unfinished UI is too ugly, waah Classic theme needs to die because I said so, waah, waah - get a life

While this is great for everyone with a modern machine, Microsoft does not want to leave out those with hardware that is not up to spec for the new visual cues.

I honestly don't get this. My 2003 eMac was capable of running Mac OS X' hardware accelerated GUI all the way up to Mac OS X Leopard. Some things were turned off like the transparent Menu Bar and Dashboard ripple effect, but beyond that everything worked just fine.

eMac, that's what, the GeForce2 MX or the Radeon 9600? 32 or 64MB? "Not up to spec" sums it up nicely. The performance hit would be just awful.

.Neo said,

I honestly don't get this. My 2003 eMac was capable of running Mac OS X' hardware accelerated GUI all the way up to Mac OS X Leopard. Some things were turned off like the transparent Menu Bar and Dashboard ripple effect, but beyond that everything worked just fine.

A 2003 video card with DX9, and any 2003 PC CPU will run Windows 7 just as fast as Windows XP, with all the Aero and eye candy features turned on. Which means that in the PC world, a person with a computer from 2003 doesn't have to even give up the 'effects/animations/transparency' like you do on your Mac. Also a 2003 Mac's video won't run some of the 10.6 applications properly, as 'core' does not support the GPUs from the 2003 Macs, and not everything falls back to software rendering properly.

So I don't get why you think your Mac is doing something 'special' here. Win7 will technically run on computers manufactured in the 1990s, if the have a PIII and 800mhz, and 512mb of RAM, they will not only run, but run faster than WinXP or Win98 that shipped on the PC would run.

This has nothing to do with Microsoft leaving PC hardware behind.

Microsoft making Win8 work better with pre 2003 (DX9) video cards is something that has to do more with CORPORATIONs that have very old hardware or crappy Intel based GPUs that don't comply with DX9 fully and they DO NOT like that the current 'fall back' doesn't look the same as the computers that can run the newer video features, so Microsoft is adjusting the pre-WDDM drawing skins to look more like Aero.

It also has to do with Tablet devices, as Win8 will be running on hardware as low end as the original iPad, so there is the whole concept of the non-traditional UI overlay with metro and the minimal rendering effects that might not want all the 'glitz' of Windows 8 on a desktop for battery life reasons.

It looks fine for what it is. I can see how with a little bit of cleaning up (i.e. different shade of Windowing and rounded out the edges a bit) that it will be just fine for servers and, or those with very dated GPUs. The only real thing I can not really understand is why is there a need for shortcuts on the desktop? It is not 1995 anymore. Granted, you can easily solve this, in fact it has been mostly since 2001 with XP. However, why not just get arid of the ability to actually place icons on the desktop altogether... it makes it look to Mac like. Outside of that, it looks fine as a replacement for classic shell.

6205 said,
What happened to Microsoft? Have they fired all creative personell and kept only retards?
If i wanted to use this ugly sh*t, i would install Windows 3.11 (or 3.11 theme for Vista...)
http://mrrste.deviantart.com/a...indows-3-11-Vista-111950448

You did read the part where this is Aero LITE right? You know, essentially the replacement on low-horsepower systems for the old classic style that's been lingering since forever? This isn't the default UI, and chances are you'll never even see it.

Hopefully this is very very very far from being complete.

Actually - hopefully the complete version looks nothing like this. At all.

Wow.

Nope. Doesn't do it for me, I think if they want a completely nice zune-looking ux, they'll have to start again with the whole ui and break compatibility, but I could be wrong, I'd like to see what they come up with.

And for gods sake put the start button, user icon background and the explorer navigation buttons back in the .msstyles!

somethingelse said,
Nope. Doesn't do it for me, I think if they want a completely nice zune-looking ux, they'll have to start again with the whole ui and break compatibility, but I could be wrong, I'd like to see what they come up with.

And for gods sake put the start button, user icon background and the explorer navigation buttons back in the .msstyles!

Ok, so you need to read a bit more.

This HAS NOTHING to do with the new UI, or the new UI overlay designed for tablets and TVs, etc.

This is making the old 'Basic/Classic' rendering look more like 'Aero' so that corporations with old pre DX9 crap computers will have the same basic look as the new computers with Aero.


Why is everyone trying to 'judge' what Microsoft is doing, when they NOBODY has seen any of the final UI concepts, and stuff like this that has nothing to do with the Win8 UI for 99.9% of the population get attention and people jump all over it.

Freaking posers! I love every aspect of how basic and "ugly" this looks. If you're judging this theme based on looks you're missing the point. This theme was made for three kinds of people. The netbook user, the server admin, and the geek that appreciates old school 8bit shiznit. I think this looks awesome. It's lean and mean. It's completely the opposite from a pretty machine running aero or OSX and I just love it because of that. Its just as simple as I want it to be. It's a statement that says "f*** you eye candy" I'm all functionality and about getting things done "what you dont like my square jagged edge looks then go play with your iPad you dumb fagg!!"

trala said,
LOL, well that I can appreciate I will say this, it beats the hell out of Win classic

I don't use Deviantart stuff but I hate the thick chrome around all windows so I get you. I do hate the huge scroll bar and I have actually gotten rid of both of them from the advance theme settings on windows 7. So chromeless it is. I really don't see the point of a scroll bar when we all use the scroll wheel for that. I kind of hate that OSX figure that out before Windows did. Too bad that when I shrink the size of the scroll bar in Aero it gets off center.

trala said,
LOL, well that I can appreciate I will say this, it beats the hell out of Win classic

I don't use Deviantart stuff but I hate the thick chrome around all windows so I get you. I do hate the huge scroll bar and I have actually gotten rid of both of them from the advance theme settings on windows 7. So chromeless it is. I really don't see the point of a scroll bar when we all use the scroll wheel for that. I kind of hate that OSX figure that out before Windows did. Too bad that when I shrink the size of the scroll bar in Aero it gets off center.

It's simply baffling how some people think something that's close to a year away is a complete design. This is early, folks, just like eveything that has been leaked about Windows 8 is incomplete.

Yes, it would be, IF THAT IS WHAT THEY MEAN! Why don't you get it that people are HOPING and VENTING that this is not the direction they want Microsoft to go in? Remember that commercial on TV, that says, "Made by you"? Well, that is what people are doing here, they are saying, "NO, please Microsoft, don't make it look like this."

They are not saying, "Wow, this is the final and ultimate design that Windows 8 is going to ship with... what do we do now?" LOL You seriously lack in understanding if you think this is what people are saying...

trala said,
Well, that is what people are doing here, they are saying, "NO, please Microsoft, don't make it look like this."

What some people are saying. Others are liking it. So who's in the wrong? Flip a coin?

1) Can't please everybody, just a fact of life
2) Don't like it? Change it. There'll be a ton of alternate themes you can pick from, just like before when people whined about Aero and Luna.

Edit: Re-reading this, probably came off a little harsh, definitely not intended that way, everyone has their own opinion. I was in the exact same "WTF Microsoft?!?" boat with Luna when I first saw XP.

Yes, you're right, the people who are not saying that are not saying that Thanks for clearing that up. Main point is, can Microsoft, the biggest, baddest software company in the world, please hire some good designers already?

Another thing is, too much white is going to be a major nuisance, especially when working at night. It contrast hugely against any wallpaper you might have, so I really hope this time around MS makes some VS variations that have darker backgrounds that go easy on your eyes and that aren't such stark contrast with anything else on your monitor. Another reason I fear they are going in that white-washed direction is the preview shots of Office 15. It is much, much worse and whiter than Office14 default, and also square. So this is what I'm saying, the GENERAL direction the theming is going in right now, I absolutely hate. It is killer on a big screen. Maybe on a Win7 Phone it is OK for clarity, but certainly not for our big modern monitors.

Wow, that looks typically bad again...

Please, Microsoft, please hire some other people to work on your OS theming, please... Please let's not go the way of washed out white and square corners, and let's not have it look like that whitewashed theme for Office 2010...

I have used Windows 7 since it came out, and on a daily basis NEVER use any of your original Aero (or basic, for that matter) visual styles... I always hack the theme .dll's and use modified themes such as posted on deviantArt. The regular Aero is way too clunky (huge borders) and those reflection stripes don't look good. The Basic theme is so ugly and bad, that it's worse than XP Luna.

And then you dropped support for a classic start menu option in Windows 7... You may be the biggest and baddest software company in the world, but you could and should seriously learn from people with style. As for the start menu, look at the app called, "Classic Shell" -- I only use that, I never use the default (and only!) start menu option in Windows 7. Why does it have to be theme modders and spare-time-developers that bring better and much needed things to Windows?

And why dont you guys, this time around, not INVOLVE people in theming. Put out a theme app that people can use to mod the themes/visual styles? You could generate such interest and involvement, but all these great suggestions keep falling on deaf ears with you guys... You guys at Microsoft need some serious fresh air to come into your closed in offices. Years ago Bill Gates lamented in that famous interview with Steve Jobs how he envied Steve's sense of style... well, years and years later, after Vista AND Win7, you guys are still not doing it. The above screenshot looks awful, and people at deviantArt come up with much, much better things than this.

yeah, because that is how it is going to look like in the end... they wont touch interface anymore /s

and about office 2010... i use black theme, it looks good... maybe you should learn how to change that?. and... aero actually looks nice, but you say you use uxtheme patch? then, what is the problem if windows is so awesome that you can change whatever you want with a little of help (patch). you can actually design your own theme like those in deviantart. so you dont even use aero, and then you dont need microsoft theme team..

but well its not even an alpha thing... look how it still says windows 7... how can you critize something when obviously is not even close to beta.
when beta comes you may critize all you want but until then... i dont understand. specially if you dont even care using aero which looks nice for my personal taste.

have you played some mmorpg? have you seen development? sometimes its a huge change from textures and lighting and effects from closed to beta to open beta. what i mean is... stuff change on development, important stuff comes first... these stuff are leaks, and not even close to beta. it will change, it will look nice, you *will* not like it for sure and you will look for deviantart... people have tastes, I like aero, you dont even use it... windows is so nice that you can change anything you want. also there is rumor for a new ui for 64 bits... but you cant be sure how everything is gonna look, what windows is going to have in the end... until beta comes, well until rtm becuase they wont change anything anymore.

Like I don't know this is not the finished product... But in case you haven't noticed (...) did you see how Aero came out in Vista and Windows 7? So you either don't have taste either, or you have never found a better visual style to install, in which case you clearly don't know what I'm talking about.

I use Office 2010 Black as well, which is why I said WHITE, like the above screenshot... which is DEFAULT, by the way. If you don't even take a minute to understand what I'm saying then don't bother to reply.

So, in case you missed it, what I'm talking about is: 1) I hope things aren't going the way it looks like they're going theme-wise -- this is a VS, btw, and the theme designers made it, btw... so it doesn't give me much hope is all I'm saying 2) the way they're moving to Square on Win8 and Win7 Phones is a direction I personally hope they're not taking, but it already looks like they are

What I meant about Aero is I use the Aero feature of transparency, but I do not use DEFAULT AERO as it comes with Windows 7 (or Vista for that matter). I don't even think you understand what I'm talking about, lol. Look, I build entire Windows builds with many visual styles integrated, plus apps, plus WIM and ISO overlays in under 10 minutes, so I really think you're missing my points and don't know what you're talking about.

trala said,
Like I don't know this is not the finished product... But in case you haven't noticed (...) did you see how Aero came out in Vista and Windows 7? So you either don't have taste either, or you have never found a better visual style to install, in which case you clearly don't know what I'm talking about.

I use Office 2010 Black as well, which is why I said WHITE, like the above screenshot... which is DEFAULT, by the way. If you don't even take a minute to understand what I'm saying then don't bother to reply.
I see your point but you see looks is not everything. And if your judging aero light based on looks you're so missing the point. The programers def. Did not built the theme thinking "yeah lets make this theme pretty" they made it to be simple and fast on low spec pcs. Besides if you're gonna put all that devianart

So, in case you missed it, what I'm talking about is: 1) I hope things aren't going the way it looks like they're going theme-wise -- this is a VS, btw, and the theme designers made it, btw... so it doesn't give me much hope is all I'm saying 2) the way they're moving to Square on Win8 and Win7 Phones is a direction I personally hope they're not taking, but it already looks like they are

What I meant about Aero is I use the Aero feature of transparency, but I do not use DEFAULT AERO as it comes with Windows 7 (or Vista for that matter). I don't even think you understand what I'm talking about, lol. Look, I build entire Windows builds with many visual styles integrated, plus apps, plus WIM and ISO overlays in under 10 minutes, so I really think you're missing my points and don't know what you're talking about.


trashoner said,
I see your point but you see looks is not everything. And if your judging aero light based on looks you're so missing the point. The programers def. Did not built the theme thinking "yeah lets make this theme pretty" they made it to be simple and fast on low spec pcs. Besides if you're gonna put all that devianart

I guess the above was your reply, right? It was all in one big quotation box so you probably didn't post it right.

But yes I understand this is a VS made for speed and simplicity, but all I'm saying is the examples of VS's we saw during Win7's development was bad and was kept that way! So why not chime in while they're still developing it? I don't *mind* the above theme as an option, but I just hope it's not indicative of the general direction they're going in. But I'll tell you, I think it is, and I hope it is not.

trala said,

I guess the above was your reply, right? It was all in one big quotation box so you probably didn't post it right.

But yes I understand this is a VS made for speed and simplicity, but all I'm saying is the examples of VS's we saw during Win7's development was bad and
was kept that way! So why not chime in while they're still developing it? I don't *mind* the above theme as an option, but I just hope it's not indicative of the general direction they're going in. But I'll tell you, I think it is, and I hope it is not.

Yeah, well I guess that's what happens when you try to neowin with a freaking iPad. This thing sure looks pretty but it has so many bugs about it. Long live rainmeter!

I like the concept, just smooth some VS elements here and there, drop the cheap beggar aero-less look, and refine . something along the sense of ... classic 2 in creation, but with a slightly more up to date feel.

I dont know how this news article even got through it brings nothing to the table. It looks nothing like real Metro and if this does end up as a final style then it's seriously fugly.. even if it is a basic style. The start menu with orb is terrible, the alignment of the min, max, close buttons looks really odd without any overlay images... this is just a plain white base. NOT metro.

[SCREENSHOT emerged]With Microsoft losing hope with their continuously decreasing market share of the most loved and adored IE... The company decided to adobt chrome as window 8's default WebBrowser.

the chrome icon on the screenshot made me lol

eliokh said,
[SCREENSHOT emerged]With Microsoft losing hope with their continuously decreasing market share of the most loved and adored IE... The company decided to adobt chrome as window 8's default WebBrowser.

the chrome icon on the screenshot made me lol


Yes, Chrome is installed, but so is µTorrent and Firefox.

"In the image, you can see the new start menu with the Metro design applied."
Ehm, I am pretty sure a white background is what makes something metro and that is for now the only thing that is different from Vistas or 7s start menu...

they obviously just created a simplistic version of the UI so that they can code the new features and look to get a rough Idea what it will look like and to make sure everything lines up correctly. Once that is all completed they will make the improvements to the UI. When making something you make a template build around that and then add the style to it.

Looks like something that would be a huge hit with those people who insisted on using the classic Windows theme even in XP.

But seriously, that looks more like a beginning of the new UI design with all UI graphics stripped.

I actually like it. The less details the better. White is easy to deal with, particularly when it comes to sunlight and reflectivity, although it'd be a nice bonus if you can set the theme to any solid colour. Hopefully Aero Peek is also still available.

i am pretty sure the design right now is not done by designers but coders..becoz the features arent complete yet and making design will just be a waste of time right now.. i hope the design team has some concept designs underway.

Capric0rn said,
Am I the only who thinks this looks like the Watercolor theme Microsoft used in the XP Beta's?

Watercolor was far better looking, IMHO.

roadwarrior said,

Watercolor was far better looking, IMHO.

True that. But it's interesting to see that they're using something similar again.

Capric0rn said,
Am I the only who thinks this looks like the Watercolor theme Microsoft used in the XP Beta's?

Yeah Watercolor was better than the default Lego look of XP ...
But then I did prefer the Royale theme and then the Zune theme when those each came out respectively.

I love how everyone is talking about how ugly it is when it's in the pre alpha state. Remember what whistler looked like before it became xp. Yes the ui changes that much between pre alpha and rtm. So I'm going to hold off my thoughts on the ui until the ui is finalize.

warwagon said,
I love how everyone is talking about how ugly it is when it's in the pre alpha state. Remember what whistler looked like before it became xp. Yes the ui changes that much between pre alpha and rtm. So I'm going to hold off my thoughts on the ui until the ui is finalize.

Except that the whistler theme was way better than the play-doh theme it finally shipped with.

I agree with your point though.

Watercolor was beautiful, and fairly well refined as far as beta themes go. So much so that modders replicated and extended it for XP numerous times.

Take a look at the Zune Player UI; subtle graphical elements, simple controls, easy to navigate. For me, that defined the ideal desktop Metro UI. "Aero Lite" feels more like Windows before ".msstyles" was invented.

Why do people call this the Metro design when it is not? It is a simplistic design but it has nothing to do with Metro. Missing gradients don't make any design be "Metro". Take a look at Windows Media Center in Windows 7: That is Metro and yet it has a lot of gloss and visual richness in it.

Metro, from my understanding, is about killing the whole chrome of UI, not just the gloss or gradients or even the color. The content itself should become the user interface and in Windows Phone 7 Microsoft is as near at this goal as possible. The "pivot control" is the best example: you slide the whole content to the side to filter or sort it. How beautiful is that?!

So "Aero Lite" is still the same interface without gradients. Without color. Without even a style. It's ugly and the interaction is still the same, IMHO.

tiadimundo said,
Why do people call this the Metro design when it is not? It is a simplistic design but it has nothing to do with Metro. Missing gradients don't make any design be "Metro". Take a look at Windows Media Center in Windows 7: That is Metro and yet it has a lot of gloss and visual richness in it.

Metro, from my understanding, is about killing the whole chrome of UI, not just the gloss or gradients or even the color. The content itself should become the user interface and in Windows Phone 7 Microsoft is as near at this goal as possible. The "pivot control" is the best example: you slide the whole content to the side to filter or sort it. How beautiful is that?!

So "Aero Lite" is still the same interface without gradients. Without color. Without even a style. It's ugly and the interaction is still the same, IMHO.


that's exactly what I thought. who the hell decided to call this ugliness "Metro design language"? that makes article quite misleading.

The hex in the bottom right corner is frustrating me, as far as I can tell it doesn't convert to anything of interest...

PaulDr said,
The hex in the bottom right corner is frustrating me, as far as I can tell it doesn't convert to anything of interest...

I think it's some kind of hash which is rather random.

RealFduch said,

I think it's some kind of hash which is rather random.

im pretty sure that its a way to track down who leaked the files

PaulDr said,
The hex in the bottom right corner is frustrating me, as far as I can tell it doesn't convert to anything of interest...

It's a GUID generated by the product key used at activation.

why are they putting so much work on themes every time, put that time to new features and optimization.

kabix said,
why are they putting so much work on themes every time, put that time to new features and optimization.

Probably because half the people that buy Mac's for personal use like the UI of it and find it really easy to use, thus Microsoft may be wanting to follow the same approach trying to advertise a UI that looks very nice. I think they're trying to make sure the Mac OSX stays at bay, and Windows gets easier and easier to use.

kabix said,
why are they putting so much work on themes every time, put that time to new features and optimization.

Yeah, the design and programming teams are sooo not separate.

Meh .. "at least" it's better than horrific Aero Basic. Can anyone confirm that Classic will be gone in Windows 8?

astroX said,
Meh .. "at least" it's better than horrific Aero Basic. Can anyone confirm that Classic will be gone in Windows 8?
You can't enable it, but refrences are sstill in dll's to it. But each build has less. It's getting the snip, thank god .

I've always hated the "Aero Basic" theme in Windows Vista/7. I really wish Microsoft would just take Aero, remove the transparency/effects, and call that "Aero Basic".

I'm not going to fully judge the theme yet as it's just in an alpha phase, however it does look pretty grim so far..

brianshapiro said,
Its just the preliminary stages of the design, they're just replacing the current styling, they havent redone the new UX yet.

That's what I thought when I saw Vista's Aero Lite.

What did you expect for a theme that's geared towards low end GPU's, a ton of glass and bling everywhere? Its *supposed* to be fairly lightweight.. hence "Aero LITE." Besides, it's probably not finished anyway.

LiquidSolstice said,

It's just that same crossword/sudoku-ish puzzle thing that we saw before.

It's just the wordsearch with a new background. Since the newer (post 7900) builds have this awesome new background that is similar to that.

andrewhaji said,
That...looks really ugly.

It looks even more terrible than Aero Basic. Well its still in its early stages of development.

And Microsoft, for heavens sake please drop the f****** classic theme this time.

andrewhaji said,
That...looks really ugly.

i dont even care if they revert to Classic Theme with no options and even the Themes service is removed competely.. as long it has new features and better performance.. though i will miss Aero Peak and the other things, i really got used to them before my laptop broke.. and now im stuck with this abomination XP

sanke1 said,

It looks even more terrible than Aero Basic. Well its still in its early stages of development.

And Microsoft, for heavens sake please drop the f****** classic theme this time.

screw that hater, classic 4 life. it's not bothering you, if you don't like it ignore it. go play with your mac.

sanke1 said,

It looks even more terrible than Aero Basic. Well its still in its early stages of development.

And Microsoft, for heavens sake please drop the f****** classic theme this time.

i don't think anyone need aero for Windows server

andrewhaji said,
That...looks really ugly.
Bash a theme you havn't used, that's in very early beta.. Im using it, and it look's really good. Also, they are doing a Aero version of metro aswell.

rajputwarrior said,

screw that hater, classic 4 life. it's not bothering you, if you don't like it ignore it. go play with your mac.


I use classic theme on my little netbook. It's great, fast, and consumes much less resource than having Aero Basic or Aero turned on. Plus, it extends the battery life tenfold.

rajputwarrior said,

screw that hater, classic 4 life. it's not bothering you, if you don't like it ignore it. go play with your mac.

+1 internet for judging people by their forum avatar.

thenonhacker said,

I agree. Very far from the Metro UI of the Zune PC Client.

A fetus is also very ugly but could grow into a beautiful model. You people that jump on the UGLY bandwagon are pathetic.

Night Prowler said,

A fetus is also very ugly but could grow into a beautiful model. You people that jump on the UGLY bandwagon are pathetic.

Awe did someone have a rough high-school experience.

sanke1 said,

It looks even more terrible than Aero Basic. Well its still in its early stages of development.

And Microsoft, for heavens sake please drop the f****** classic theme this time.

Why drop it, it's not on by default. Personally I like it.

sanke1 said,

It looks even more terrible than Aero Basic. Well its still in its early stages of development.

And Microsoft, for heavens sake please drop the f****** classic theme this time.

Absolutely agree it is time for the classic theme to die it should have not been in Vista or Windows 7 and most defiantly needs to be gone in Windows 8!

sanke1 said,

It looks even more terrible than Aero Basic. Well its still in its early stages of development.

And Microsoft, for heavens sake please drop the f****** classic theme this time.

Well I do not like the classive theme as well, and hate the Basic theme even more.

However, unless they drop XPDM driver support and update the Win32 and base GDI drawing operations, Classic will probably always be with us, even if they stop making it a choice people can choose.

With even the 'Basic' theme, it is essentially drawing the screen with 'classic' and then skinning it with the Basic UI, just like XP used skins for the 'XP Style' with Luna, Silver Luna, Olive Green Luna.

When XP was released, people would turn off 'Luna/XP Style' as they assumed and were even sometimes told that it was a major difference in performance. However, in out labs, even on a Pentium 200mhz with 80mb of RAM, we could only find about 280kb difference in memory usage, and in every test we could through at it drawing windows, controls, and things that were skinned, we couldn't even find a 1% difference in performance. (Funny though, people today will still tell you that 'Classic' is faster than Basic and Aero; however, consider the power of the average computer today, this is a 'tinfoil' hat belief.)

Side Note:

Aero on Win7 is faster than Basic or Classic, people that turn it off for performance reasons are shooting themselves in the foot. The only way Aero will 'lose' in performance is on a really low end machine with 'transparency' enabled. So even then, the fastest option is to leave Aero on, and uncheck 'enabled transparency' in the Window Color options.

Aero in Win7 uses less memory than in Vista, still is freaky fast for a composer cause it doesn't have to transfer RAM or double write the image like OS X or a Linux composer, is vector based so .NET and other vector native applications only have to send the vector changes to the composer instead of rendering their screen themselves, accelerates a lot of base drawing operations from the new GDI acceleration features to font rendering and even image processing, and also enables the full features of the WDM 1.x.

The WDDM and WDM 1.x gives the OS GPU RAM virturalization features and the GPU scheduler that is essentially GPU pre-emptive multi-tasking is handled by the OS instead of application yielding - which no other OS current offers. This is why multiple 3D applications run well on Win7, and the desktop (rendering on the 3D GPU is fluid). It is also why with Win7 you can have Crysis along with other 3D enabled applications running in a window on the desktop and it doesn't slow down the inteface.

So everyone needs to STOP turning off Aero if they want the full performance of Win7, and this includes low end machines, netbooks, etc.