Aero Effects on XP

Published 21 December 04 05:35 AM | jld

I've been recently doing some research around the Desktop Composition Engine (also known as the Desktop Windows Manager or DWM). It allows Longhorn to display Windows shell using cool transition effects, transparency and 3D. These effects are also known as "Aero Glass". Last August, a registry hack was discovered by a member of the AeroExperience boards to enable these features in the WinHEC 4047 version of Longhorn (

There have been many attempts to create usable interfaces in 3D. Many of them are listed on the following page:

Unfortunately, these Aero effects will only be available on the upcoming Longhorn Client. Contrary to popular belief, the November 2004 Avalon CTP does not allow Windows XP or Windows 2003 to natively mimic these effects. Joe Beda explained the reason for this in his blog - downlevel releases will not change any of the native Win32 binaries ( The Avalon CTP simply provides a new API to code against - 3D and transparency effects can be achieved within an app but not within the shell.
If you want Aero-like 3D capabilities on Windows XP, I would highly recommend trying out Sphere XP ( As a power user, I typically multitask with dozens of Windows open at the same time. Sphere XP allow you to rotate, resize and position windows on a z-axis. Rather than try to explain the features to you, check out this page for several compelling screenshots:

* Keep in mind that Sphere XP is beta software - don't install it on a production machine.

To get opaque windows on Windows XP, you can try out a commerical product such as Actual Transparent Window (, WindowFX ( or Y'z Shadow (



# reer said on July 25, 2007 03:06 AM:

try (joe actimel)

# WOLF said on July 25, 2007 07:28 AM:

FastAero seems like a good substitute

# Pratik said on August 14, 2007 05:45 AM:

Need A software whice makes xp like aero feature in vista

# Bobby said on August 21, 2007 01:20 PM:

none of these had help

# Luxo said on September 6, 2007 09:52 PM:

A good one would be WindowBlinds, since it's easy to use and offers all the features of usual Windows styles, along with a lot more like window border transparency and progress bar animations. Unfortunately, older computers might experience slowdowns running it since it's a bit heavy on the resources side. Now, if you want the alt-tab replacement you could use TopDesk as well. It emulates pretty nicely the Win-tab effect on Windows Vista.

# Arjun Singh said on October 7, 2007 06:55 AM:

Vista is expensive. But I like it.


# tou said on October 21, 2007 12:58 AM:


# Hemanth said on January 29, 2008 10:53 PM:

I have 256 MB RAM and integrated graphic gard. I installed windowblinds and put on the aeroglassv5 theme. This is heaven. Transparent taskbar, starmenu, window frames. It looks so vista. You cannot tell the difference. If WindowBlinds6 is used, you can even have blured window frames and transparent menus. And ofcoruse, system doesnot slow down as WB uses same amount of resourses as any other normal XP theme. Along with that if you put on Vista Trnformation Pack 6.0 (for low RAM), it will look exactly like vista.

# MBWorld said on March 31, 2008 01:11 PM:

click above link for truetransparency. it works!

fast aero. hmmm. i installed it and while it was running i could not shut windows down the safe way ie start\shutdown\shutdown. i did a system restore to before i installed fastaero and lo and behold! i can shut windows down!

# aryan said on April 8, 2008 12:34 PM:

hi send me d mobile no. locator on my id

# Jon said on July 8, 2008 07:35 AM:

Or wait for the new Vystal, which comes the summer (europe). More info:

# Ky said on July 26, 2008 06:28 PM:

For true vista effect in xp remove half you ram and throw away!

# JC said on August 11, 2008 07:59 AM:

When would SphereXP be officially out?

# sina said on March 3, 2009 07:47 AM:

Im from iran.

this is goooooooood

# said on May 3, 2011 11:34 PM:

328413.. Tiptop :)

# said on June 17, 2011 07:18 AM:

328413.. Peachy :)

# Vicko said on August 24, 2011 02:00 AM:

i search for an Aero animations, like fading windows when its closed or minimized.

is it there?

# GunFist said on December 24, 2011 10:28 PM:

truetransparency.exe is a program that I use on windows xp Professional 32 bit edition that adds the vista/7 aero capabilities such as transparent taskbar, with all the drag features and aero snap, etc.

Check it out and hope this helps somebody.

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