Windows Aero is a new feature of Windows Vista that is getting a lot of attention. It is a collection of visual enhancements designed to make your computing experience more enjoyable and visually stimulating and make it easier to navigate among many different applications and windows.
Windows Aero provides these special features:
- Glass—This gives an artsy visual look and feel to windows.
- Taskbar thumbnails—Hover over the buttons on the Taskbar to get a thumbnail view of the application.
- Windows Flip—Alt+Tab—Quickly page though all open windows to make finding your desired application easier.
- Windows Flip 3D—Windows logo button+Tab—Scroll through a 3D version of Alt+Tab.
Figure 2.9 shows the Windows Vista Basic visual experience, with no glass.
Figure 2.9 Windows Vista without Aero.
Figure 2.10 shows the Windows Vista Aero visual experience, with glass.
Figure 2.10 Windows Vista with Aero.
To enable Windows Vista Aero, right-click the desktop and select Personalize from the menu. Click the Window Color and Appearance hyperlink. If your system does not support Windows Vista Aero, the window presented is labeled as Appearance Settings, as shown in Figure 2.11.
Figure 2.11 A system that does not support Windows Vista Aero.
Notice that in the Color Scheme selection list, only the Windows Standard and Windows Classic options are listed; a Windows Aero option is absent.
If your system does support Windows Vista Aero, notice that in the Color Scheme selection list, not only are Windows Standard and Windows Classic options listed, but so are the Windows Aero and Windows Vista Basic options, as shown in Figure 2.12. Select the Windows Aero option to enable Windows Aero.
Figure 2.12 A system that supports Windows Vista Aero.
After about 30 seconds of driver exchanges and configuration parameter updates in the Registry, your screen converts to the Windows Aero display and returns you to the Personalize window. Now if you click the Window Color and Appearance hyperlink, you see the Window Color and Appearance window, shown in Figure 2.13.
Figure 2.13 Configuring the Window Color and Appearance settings.
In the Window Color and Appearance window, you can configure the window border color, enable and adjust the transparency level, or click the Open Classic Appearance Properties for More Color Options hyperlink. This hyperlink opens the Appearance window, where you can change to the Windows Aero color scheme.
Without Aero enabled, as you hover your mouse over a Taskbar button, you get a ToolTip, which is a text description of the application. Figure 2.14 shows the Windows Vista Aero Taskbar Thumbnails.
Figure 2.14 Windows Vista Aero Taskbar Thumbnails.
Without Aero enabled, when you hold down the Alt key and press Tab, you get a flat dialog with 2D icons (see Figure 2.15) that shows the applications that are running.
Figure 2.15 Without Windows Vista Aero—Alt+Tab fast task switching.
With Windows Vista Aero enabled and using Alt+Tab fast task switching, you get a cool display of each document and application that is running in the glass window, as shown in Figure 2.16.
Figure 2.16 With Windows Vista Aero—Alt+Tab fast task switching, called Windows Flip.
Windows Flip 3D
Without Aero enabled, when you hold down the Windows key and press Tab, you get absolutely nothing. With Windows Vista Aero enabled, when you hold down the Windows key plus Tab, you get each document and application in the glass window on a 3D rolodex called Windows Flip 3D, as shown in Figure 2.17.
Figure 2.17 With Windows Vista Aero—Win+Tab fast task switching, called Windows Flip 3D.