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 Windows 8 (8250)

Aero is the transparent, glass-like visual style present in Windows Vista and Windows 7. It originated with Longhorn's Aero Glass, first seen in Longhorn 4039.

In Windows Vista (starting with about Beta 2) and 7, Aero requires a capable GPU with a WDDM driver to display (official requirement: DirectX 9, minimum 64 MB video memory). Otherwise only the basic style, which is rendered on the CPU like in XP, is shown. In Windows 8 M2 and up, Aero can be rendered in software, allowing one to have Aero on any video card, but possibly taking a toll in overall system performance.

A new Aero theme, Aero Lite was first seen in Windows 8 Build 7955 and was later seen as a transparent theme in Build 7989. The existing Aero theme was revamped in Build 8102, and was later flattened in the Release Preview making it appear similar to Whistler Watercolor.

In Post-RC builds of Windows 8, the Aero theme has been replaced with a new, non-transparent theme which fits into the Metro environment.