For one thing we all nod in consensus, Windows 8 is a dramatic shift in our day to day computing. Windows 8 / Windows RT can now be categorised as a very formidable Tablet OS thanks to the Modern UI. But what about the existing desktop users? Microsoft definitely treated Desktop users as second class citizens. Barring few improvements to File Explorer and Task Manager, there has not been much of UI improvement for the traditional desktop.
One of the most contentious and bizarre decision taken by Microsoft was to drop the Aero look entirely for Windows 8 Desktop, in favour of the “flat” look and better battery life. The apparent “flat look” which the Redmond giant tried to adopt replacing Aero feels extremely incomplete and unpolished and similar thoughts were echoed by hordes of users and critics alike. While we knew that Aero was not very battery friendly, removing it for Desktop users made very little sense. Thankfully the new Aero Glass project for Windows 8 aims to bring back the Aero transparency.
Aero Glass Project
The Aero Glass project has been started by ”bigmuscle” , which recreates the transparent window titles just like in Windows 7 and Vista. Although the “flatness” of Window titles can definitely not be undone, Aero Glass will definitely appeal to a lot of users who have migrated from Windows 7.
At the moment of writing, the latest release is still tagged as preview and is not intended for every day use. Don’t expect to be stable yet. Also please note that Aero Glass works only on Windows 8 64bit only for now.
How Does it Work?
The developer uses a custom DLL library injected into dwm.exe process meaning that you don’t have to replace any system files to use Aero Glass. Windows’s dwm.exe then uses this hook whenever it draws Windows, so that you get consistent transparency.
To run it, all you have to do is to extract the downloaded archive to C:\DWM. Then launch the DWMLoader.exe file in the extracted folder. No replacement of system files required.
The current version is far from complete. Observably, some basic window operations like move, resize, are slightly sluggish because of the redrawing involved, but it’s not show stopping in any sense. Another minor issue is that dwm.exe always stays on the task bar (atleast in the preview releases) and there is no way you can hide it.
The project seems to be progressing nicely and is a easy way to get Aero back on your Windows 8 Desktop without tinkering with the system files.
Download: AeroGlass 0.3 [dropbox] [2.0 MB]