9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 23, 2012 11:42 AM by Noel Carboni

    AeroLite:  An Alternative to Windows 8's Aero

    Noel Carboni Level 8

      I know this isn't strictly Photoshop-related, but I do know that people are starting to upgrade to Windows 8, and I know that Photoshop users are very sensitive to aesthetics, so I thought I'd share a little tidbit I've learned...

       

      Microsoft has hobbled the once beautiful Aero Glass theme subsystem now for Windows 8. Gone for good is the transparency in window borders, and most things now are flat and have no visual styles. Frankly I find the default Aero configuration makes it hard to differentiate windows and controls from one another. Plus there is still a vestige of transparency in the Taskbar (sans blurring) that comes off as really cheesy looking to me.

       

      I've discovered a way to invoke an alternate Aero implementation provided by Microsoft in the Windows 8 release called AeroLite:

       

      Before you get your hopes up, no, it does not bring back the old Aero Glass. Transparency is really, really gone. But it DOES bring back a bit of additional contrast, improving ability to differentiate windows from one another and it makes things more readable overall. Having been testing this for a few hours I find it makes Windows 8 incrementally more usable, so I thought I'd share it here. I know some of you already use Windows 8 (R_Kelly).

       

      Here's how to try out AeroLite:

       

      1. Right-click on your desktop and choose Personalize.
      2. In the My Themes section, click the Save theme link, and save your theme as something like ''MyName Aero Lite''.
      3. Open a Windows File Explorer window and navigate to the folder %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes.
      4. Open the .theme file you just created in a text editor - e.g., NotePad or WordPad.
      5. Find the string Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\themes\Aero\Aero.msstyles (near the bottom) and change it to:
        Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\themes\Aero\AeroLite.msstyles
      6. Save the file, close the editor, right-click on the desktop again, and choose Personalize.
      7. Choose the style you just saved.

       

       

      If it works you should see that the Taskbar is no longer partially transparent and the lines around the Minimize/Restore/Close controls at the upper-right corner of windows will be darker.

       

      Standard Windows 8 Aero... Note a lack of contrast and difficulty differentiating windows from one another.

       

      Windows8StandardAero.jpg

       

       

      With the AeroLite modification... Note the more contrasty edges.

       

        Windows8AeroLite.jpg

       

      This is going in the next revision of my Configure the Windows 8 "To Work" Options book.

       

      Hope this helps you enjoy your Windows 8 experience a little bit more. Let me know what you think.

       

      -Noel