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


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At least on Windows 7 (and possibly Vista too), running the game Combat Arms causes the theme to switch to Aero Basic. Maybe someone would be willing to test that?

Edit: I?m reading mixed messages about the game?s compatibility with Windows 8. Apologies if the game doesn?t run or gives an error message.

The game runs, but the theme does not become Aero basic

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  • 3 months later...

The Aero basic code is still there. While I was on my way installing my graphic card's driver, when it installed, for less than a second, everything did change to Aero Basic (the one from Windows 7) and then it suddenly changed to normal again. Some apps for me have opened with the Basic theme.

In Windows 8:

The desktop apps that used to enable Aero Basic in Windows 7: will change nothing.

The desktop apps that used to enable Windows Classic (9x) in Windows 7: change their border (not entire theme, just their border) to Aero Basic.

I'll show a screenshot again.

My guess is that the RTM theme is actually itself the Aero Basic theme with the Snap, Peek, etc. code ported to it. (Not only the RTM theme, I'd say the DP, CP, RP themes too were Aero Basic with Glass on top of it and the style modified.) The reason is that if you go back to early M3 builds, you needed to enable Aero Basic in order for Metro apps to work. They just didn't launch if you had the Aero theme enabled.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 months later...

I read the thread and there is obviously certain misunderstanding about what Aero and DWM really is technically versus visually.


With Aero disabled, each window on the screen draws its content directly to the screen. When a window or part of the window is obscured by another window, the obscured content is erased on the screen. When the window is revealed again and becomes visible, Windows will send WM_PAINT message to the window to request redraw.


With Aero enabled, each window on the screen draws its content to off screen memory (system memory or graphic memory), then DWM composites the screen content by copying and processing the off screen image onto the real screen. This enables a number of visual effects, as transparency, scaled or warped window (as in 3D task switch) and highlights (X close button on the window border can light up nearby pixels). This also enables a few features such as real-time task bar thumb preview, since each window content is readily available in the off screen memory. When a window or part of the window is obscured by another window on the screen and then revealed again, Windows does not send WM_PAINT message to the application, since the window is not really obscured in the off screen memory. (The only exception is when the window is minimized, the off screen memory surface is de-allocated.)


In summary, when Aero is off, Windows uses less memory, but application needs to redraw more frequently. When Aero is on, Windows uses a lot more memory (if a lot of windows are opened), and DWM needs WDDM compatible driver to composites the on screen content.

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In short, no. The only way to get a small preview of the classic UI back is to install applications that draw their own windows, and are old enough to use it (Visual Studio 6, Office 2000 / 97 etc etc) all of these apps will probably run slowly due to the removal of GDI

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GDI hasn't been removed :laugh:

People are confusing the Aero theme with the DWM. You need Aero Basic no matter what for MDI windows and the like, they can't be composited for whatever reason.

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I also noticed that MDI windows don't look the same as the rest of the OS, this might need the attention of Microsoft, but they were never that hot on consistency in the past so I don't see that changing now. (I'm using Windows 8 and the Administrative tools STILL have Windows 2000 icons in some cases!)

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