Windows 8 to allow software acceleration, makes Aero ubiquitous

Arguably the biggest graphical change to the Windows UI in previous versions has been the implementation of Aero, the glass-like, and subtly transparent window decoration that has personified Windows until today. In Windows Vista, it was only available on versions above Windows Basic, and even in Windows 7, it requires at least basic hardware acceleration to run, and certain graphics-intensive applications would cause Aero to turn off.

According to winreview, Windows 8 will have the option to run Desktop Window manager (DWM) using software acceleration, at least in pre-release builds. This means that older and budget machines with little graphics acceleration will still be able to run Aero in a virtual environment. The machine he set up in a virtual environment is able to run Aero using only software rendering and a few MB of video memory. He is quick to point out that we had a similar situation with early builds (CTP builds) of Vista: The version that ran on virtual PC was capable of software rendering, but the final version was not. Some effects, like the blur-behind effect, that Aero implements were considered too resource-intensive to leave it up to software processing. Early builds of Windows 8 have been released without this blurring effect, and that could be why software rendering is enabled. 

Image credit: winreview

Releasing Windows 8 with the option to render DWM in software could mean that using desired graphical touches that Microsoft wants to see in across all versions of Windows could be feasible. As we haven't had an actual release of the OS yet, this remains to be seen.

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I know people who switch from Aero to Windows Classic because they don't like the look, Microsoft please leave Windows Classic as an option too.

Boeing 787 said,
So far Windows 8 is boring. Hope some new features pop up in the beta.

thats what im talking about, they need to implement new features, regarding performance... kernel.. registry.. HHD fragmentation

thats whats holding windows back from reaching linux's performance

there was once a rumor for windows 7 that it would use linux kernel or something like that, from what i see windows 8 (if its gonna be called 8 officially) is just an improved version of 7,which i thnk could have been done in service packs and windows-next could have been something completely different


i remember i read somewhere that microsoft promised that the windows after 7 will have completely new interface... lets just hope their work on this version isnt even halfway complete and they have much more to amaze us with rather than throw some improved version of windows7 and say:

here, give is 400 bucks and have this improved version of windows 7 ultimate, have fun with the same thing, but you could've just went to deviantart and installed the metro theme, without paying us 400 bucks

allwynd said,

thats what im talking about, they need to implement new features, regarding performance... kernel.. registry.. HHD fragmentation
thats whats holding windows back from reaching linux's performance

You must be one of those people that think Linux is superior because it's on so many super-computers. Performance, doesn't equal usability to what a lot of people expect in the work world, and in their daily lives. I suppose you think everybody wants to work at the commandline with removable modules.

Technically, that is where Microsoft is/was going with their Server line. Not with the client side.

Sigh.

Being able to run Aero and actually running Aero is two different thing. Hardware Acceleration relying on drivers update has got to the point where i think Software Rendering will be back in not too distance future. Because we have a abundance of CPU resources.

Just a thought, i may research a little more into the subject.

I imagine this is more to enable better Aero support for VDI's than anything else. Pretty much every machine made in the last 4 years is capable of running Aero natively on the GPU.

Nonsense.

Currently every computer have a gpu (embedded or not) capable of Aero, including most, if not all, netbook.

Magallanes said,
Currently every computer have a gpu (embedded or not) capable of Aero, including most, if not all, netbook.

I have a few servers with 16MB video cards (such as they are) that beg to differ. (And they're not old.) Also have an old tablet that won't handle DWM either, nor would I want to try. All run Windows 7 or 2008R2 just fine, but won't see me firing up Crysis any time soon.

Magallanes said,
Nonsense.

Currently every computer have a gpu (embedded or not) capable of Aero, including most, if not all, netbook.

Yes, however...

Servers and Virtual Machines are not always able to allocate GPU resources.
Old computers.

Windows 7 a 1ghz processor and 512mb of RAM. (Yes seriously, and it is even faster than XP in this configuration.) However, the old computers sometimes have NO way to get Video capbale of DirectX9. So this creates an extra rendering path for Microsoft to have to deal with, and a different interface for users.

So why not allocated a few CPU ticks on these older computers if it is a tiny usage cost, and adds more performance with the DWM features being on.

I can see why it seems silly when phones are shipping with GPUs capable of the features needed for Aero, but there is no reason to throw away technology, even if the computers are given to schools or poor people.

Unless they are trying to show -- or rather state that -- they are doing Aero only using 16mb of Video memory.... That would be amazing though I think they the second one is the Virtual box Control panel-- (now if they can run Windows 8 on 16mb of video memory that would be something... )

@neufuse: I believe they will introduce something like a "start menu" for people/contacts. The Jump Lists in Windows 7 are some kind of small start menus for each app. In Windows 8 it would make sense to have one "start menu" to change the account and online status, to see who is online of your friends no matter what service they use (Facebook, Xbox, Messenger, Skype ...) and to easily access your personal settings.

Edit: I was responding to neufuse's post but failed.

Alright, but it would be nice if they could come up with a opaque/basic solution which can take advantage of the GPU acceleration (no more XP-style window glitches). I realise I'm in the minority here. ;3

Yippee, the Intel 915 chipset will finally get Aero Glass!! LOL

For those that don't get the joke, you probably didn't have a computer with that chipset when Vista was released, and Intel promised over and over again that the 915 chipset would get a driver update that allowed it to do Glass, which was actually supported in some of the Vista betas, but not in the RC or RTM.

roadwarrior said,
Yippee, the Intel 915 chipset will finally get Aero Glass!! LOL
Yeah, I remember that. I tried to load the Vista beta driver on RTM so I could get Aero, but I just got a black screen.

I still don't like the user icon in the system tray..... seriously, why?! what was wrong with it in the start menu?

neufuse said,
I still don't like the user icon in the system tray..... seriously, why?! what was wrong with it in the start menu?

There likely will be an option to not show it there.

neufuse said,
I still don't like the user icon in the system tray..... seriously, why?! what was wrong with it in the start menu?
Because it performs a different function?

Kirkburn said,
Because it performs a different function?

I'm talking about this from the fact in windows 7 microsoft said they where trying to remove clutter from the system tray, now we are adding it right back in

neufuse said,

I'm talking about this from the fact in windows 7 microsoft said they where trying to remove clutter from the system tray, now we are adding it right back in


It's not clutter, it is a vital part of the Windows 8 strategy (cloud computing).

SoyoS said,

It's not clutter, it is a vital part of the Windows 8 strategy (cloud computing).

"Cloud computing" can diaf.

TRC said,

"Cloud computing" can diaf.

Google and the people who follow them and VMWare, like sheep, would like to disagree with you.

The reason for making software acceleration an option isn't necessarily for legacy PCs, but the one category of new hardware that still largely lacks Aero-ready hardware acceleration - ARM-based netbooks.

seems like MS has been putting a lot of time into making windows look native wherever windows can be accessed - first RemoteFX, now (arguably by extension) this.

I don't get it? I have Windows 7 running in VMWare today with Aero Glass, whats the difference? I hope they add accelerated graphics to XP Mode in Windows 8, it needs it.

Mr. Dee said,
I don't get it? I have Windows 7 running in VMWare today with Aero Glass, whats the difference? I hope they add accelerated graphics to XP Mode in Windows 8, it needs it.

Enable 3D acceleration is unticked, meaning the VM is running without a graphics card.

Mr. Dee said,
I don't get it? I have Windows 7 running in VMWare today with Aero Glass, whats the difference? I hope they add accelerated graphics to XP Mode in Windows 8, it needs it.

i dont think they will be spending alot of time improving the xp mode... wouldnt be surprised if it got removed in windows 8

Mr. Dee said,
I don't get it? I have Windows 7 running in VMWare today with Aero Glass, whats the difference? I hope they add accelerated graphics to XP Mode in Windows 8, it needs it.

you think they will support XP-mode so it will last until the next decade ........???

that was just a bridge solution ,just like how apple supported PowerPC thingy in osx 10.6

now they buried it deep in 10.7

Mr. Dee said,
I don't get it? I have Windows 7 running in VMWare today with Aero Glass, whats the difference? I hope they add accelerated graphics to XP Mode in Windows 8, it needs it.

you think they will support XP-mode so it will last until the next decade ........???

that was just a bridge solution ,just like how apple supported PowerPC thingy in osx 10.6

now they buried it deep in 10.7

Ci7 said,

you think they will support XP-mode so it will last until the next decade ........???

that was just a bridge solution ,just like how apple supported PowerPC thingy in osx 10.6

now they buried it deep in 10.7

XP Mode will live on, as it is just Microsoft's desktop VM technology running a copy of XP with desktop integration features.

The VM and desktop integration features are here to stay, so letting users load up XP in the VM isn't a big issue or worth their time to purposely disable.

Also the VM and desktop integration is important for 16bit support, as you can run Win 7 32bit now just like XP Mode, and have full 16bit DOS and Win16 desktop integration.

I do not see Microsoft doing anything specific for running XP itself, as the need for XP mode is less now than even a year ago, as applications are migrated and Windows 7 keeps updating its database lookups for application compatibility it compensates for on the fly.

If Microsoft adds better 3D support to the desktop VM, then XP will get it, but don't expect to play Crysis in XP Mode, as it will still run faster in Windows 8, than in the XP Mode VM.

This would have been really helpful if this was implemented successfully earlier when Vista launched but as of now, I believe its pointless. Although this can be a lifesaver for laptops running on battery

That looks more like a mistake in the first screenshot than a feature.

Besides, older machines will get older, why tax the CPU?

ccoltmanm said,
That looks more like a mistake in the first screenshot than a feature.

Besides, older machines will get older, why tax the CPU?


I disagree, older machines will get newer, as newer machines become old and old machines are thrown away. I think I just confused myself...

ccoltmanm said,
Besides, older machines will get older, why tax the CPU?

Was wondering the same thing. Sure, it's nice to give people the option, choice is always good, but putting more strain on "old pokey" is just making a bad situation worse. If anything it's just going to make even more painfully obvious how badly whatever old junker it's running on needs an upgrade. If it's a VM it's a non-issue, just give the virtual card more memory and enable acceleration, off you go.

ccoltmanm said,
That looks more like a mistake in the first screenshot than a feature.

Besides, older machines will get older, why tax the CPU?

I hope they add an option to remove the text the taskbar buttons.

ccoltmanm said,
That looks more like a mistake in the first screenshot than a feature.

Besides, older machines will get older, why tax the CPU?

Because the CPU does not render the graphics (generally) its offloaded to the GPU so as not to tax the CPU

Auzeras said,
Because the CPU does not render the graphics (generally) its offloaded to the GPU so as not to tax the CPU

Thats the point of the article, it's discussing *software* rendering, which is being handled by the CPU, not the GPU. Personally, I'm not saying a bad idea or anything, just curious as to the "why" of it. If my GPU couldn't handle Aero, I personally wouldn't want to slow things down more with effects, would just go the Aero Basic (or classic) route myself. But like I said, as long as it's just an option, it can't hurt.

Jen Smith said,

Thats the point of the article, it's discussing *software* rendering, which is being handled by the CPU, not the GPU. Personally, I'm not saying a bad idea or anything, just curious as to the "why" of it. If my GPU couldn't handle Aero, I personally wouldn't want to slow things down more with effects, would just go the Aero Basic (or classic) route myself. But like I said, as long as it's just an option, it can't hurt.


It's OPTIONAL so quit crying

schizo_ said,
It's OPTIONAL so quit crying

Wow, get over yourself. Where's the crying? Talking about CPU vs GPU rendering. Learn to f'ing read and you might even catch the bit where I mentioned optional too. I can use smaller words if it helps.

Jen Smith said,

Wow, get over yourself. Where's the crying? Talking about CPU vs GPU rendering. Learn to f'ing read and you might even catch the bit where I mentioned optional too. I can use smaller words if it helps.

Folks like you are the reason why I visit this place often. Keep up the good work!

ccoltmanm said,
That looks more like a mistake in the first screenshot than a feature.

Besides, older machines will get older, why tax the CPU?

1) On a modern CPU, usage is tiny if the blurring is disabled.

2) People are turning off or not able to use Aero, which means they are not using DWM which is where a lot of the performance enhancements and needed features of the WDDM happen. So by essentially keeping the DWM on, no matter what, Microsoft can focus on the acceleration features that the DWM offers and let the older render path go away. (By not running Aero/DWM now, you are losing font acceleration, image decoding, and the list goes on and on, especially as you get into the WPF/.NET and Silverlight technologies and API sets.)

3) VMs and Server hosted applications where no or little GPU is offered can keep the DWM feature set and keep the user interface experience consistent.

4) Also think beyond the desktop, remoting into your desktop using RDP or Live Mesh either require your local machine to have GPU abilities or defaults to non-DWM for compatibilty as the client can run in a browser or on mobile devices. Now if the DWM is just always on, there is no longer any inconsistency for users, and even mobile applications running from virtual servers can have the DWM features.

And this is just a few guesses off the top of my head based on what my insider techs have been talking about.