Windows/Visual Styles/Aero

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Win7 Aero.png
Aero on Windows 7 RTM.
Caption buttons
Notification area
First seen Longhorn 6.0.4039
Last seen present

Aero is the translucent, glass-like visual style present in Windows Vista and Windows 7. It originated in Windows "Longhorn", first seen in "Longhorn" build 4039.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, minimum hardware requirements for Windows Aero are a DirectX 9 GPU with the following features: support for the Windows Display Driver Model, Pixel Shader 2.0, 32 bits per pixel, and a minimum 128 MB of video memory.[1][2][3] If capable hardware is not present, the operating system will fall back to the Windows Basic theme.

A variation of the original theme, called Aero Lite was first seen in Windows 8 Build 7955. The original theme was changed in Windows 8 Build 8102, and was later flattened in the Release Preview, becoming visually similar to the Watercolor theme used in earlier versions of Windows XP.

In Windows 8, starting with Milestone 2, the theme is capable of being rendered by the software, allowing one to use the visual style without capable hardware, though this may result in degradation of system performance.

The RTM version of Windows 8 introduced a new theme designed to match Microsoft's Metro design language and aesthetic. The new theme removed the translucent window effects and flattened gradients.[4]