Enabling Windows Vista Aero Glass

I've been running Vista Beta 2 (Build 5384) for a few days now but the Aero Glass wasn't enabled for me.  The Aero Glass gives Windows-Key Tab 3D switching between windows, the hover over the start menu items shows a cool live screenshot of the window, and the regular Alt-Tab is enhanced.  There are other 3D and enhanced visual affects as well.


It worked when running one of the earlier Vista Beta builds and my hardware is new so I figured I shouldn't have a problem figuring out how to turn it on.  Well, it wasn't as straight forward for me so I figured I would post information that I found while trying to enable it on my computer.


The performance rating score that your computer appears to be the determining factor on whether or not Aero Glass is enabled.  If you can get your score high enough, then it is supposed to turn on by itself



My computer was only rated at a 2 because of some boot up problems.  I viewed the information provided and the issue for me was that the Vista Search features took a while to load once which dropped by rating.  But even when I cleared the Event Log info, rebooted and refresh the performance score, my rating was always 2.  After some time I figured I would move on and worry about this another day.


You can override this check with the following registry key change: http://www.neowin.net/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t385504.html.  This can be applied to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or HKEY_LOCAL_USER depending if you want it computer wide or user wide.  This seems to be the fix that helps the most people.


But even this didn't work for me, so I kept looking.  This blog of Julie Lerman's mentioned to get the vendor's latest drivers, so I went ahead a tried that: http://blog.ziffdavis.com/devlife/archive/2006/04/09/40828.aspx


No go.  Additionally there is another skin that can be downloaded that apparently achieves the same thing but works with lower end video cards: http://www.neowin.net/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t296493.html.  Some people seemed to have good success with this.  I didn't try this because I was determined to get the native Vista glass skin working, but I almost reverted to this option, and it seems to be a good option for many people.


Here's a potential fix that requires running WinSAT Aurora: http://chris123nt.com/2006/03/25/regain-glass-in-5342.  Again, it didn't work after this fix, but it may be what is required for some.


None of these worked for me, but after some poking around I finally figured out what the problem was.  I had to change the "Appearance Settings" from "Windows Vista Basic" to "Windows Vista Aero".  Very possibly I changed this to the basic appearance while poking around a few days ago, so I'll take the blame for it being wrong.  You can get to this by Right-clicking on the desktop -> Personalize -> Visual Appearance.  Note though that this screen is different, depending on if you have Aero working or not.  If Aero Glass is working, you'll get a screen which lets you change your color scheme.  Otherwise you'll get the classic appearance properties.  In here, I changed the color scheme to Windows Vista Aero and everything worked finally!  (if you get to the "Change your color scheme" screen instead of the Classic screen, you can click "Open classic appearance properties" at the bottom to get back the classic screen, but if you get the enhanced screen, you probably have Aero Glass working)


So, in my case I'm not sure which step or steps would have solved the issue since I didn't have the glass turned on in the first place. But hopefully one of these steps will be useful to you to get the Aero Glass working on your Vista install.


  • This has been one of the most demonstrated features of Windows Vista and also one that I have been asked the most about how to use it.

    Keep in mind that your computer must support the DWM for this feature to run. If you are running Aero Glass right now, it will work perfectly for you.

    Launch Flip 3D:

    Just press and hold the Windows Key + Tab. Then use the scroll wheel on your mouse or the up and down keyboard arrows to navigate through the windows. When the window you want is on top, release the Windows and Tab keys.

  • Gosh, thanks for the tip on Aero (Windows key + Tab), gosh...it should be alot more simple than this. Vista really hides Aero and/or some options are a pain to get to but I guess when I get use to it it wont be so bad.

    Is flip 3D is all Aero is about? Just asking, I don't want to miss something.

    Thanks again.

  • No flip 3d just helps multi tasking, it makes it look pretty :)

  • Hm. Interesting. When I ran RC1, I could turn on Aero. But now with RC2, I don't even get the option of turning on the color scheme "Windows Vista Aero," only "Windows Vista Basic." It's just not there. Quite a downgrade without the aesthetic qualities of Flip3D, etc. I'm sad.

  • Nice tip for windows key + tab

  • If you have applied the skin and are very dissapointed with the lack of flip 3d, you can download TopDesk which is exactly like it.
    I cant replace the original aero theme with the skin. can somone help! read only!!!

  • Wow...
    Thanks man!

    Just what I was looing for :)

  • Open your registry and browse to the following:


    Set this to 1.

    The browse to


    Set this to 2.

    Unless you reboot, you'll have to take one more step and restart DWM by opening the command prompt (must "run as" administrator) and type the following:

    'net stop uxsms'
    'net start uxsms'

  • I had the same problem. Obviously windows configured basic theme during installation because there were no graphic drivers installed at this point. But it didn't switched to aero when the drivers were installed.

    I think it is no good idea to tun on aero using the "color" settings. It doesn't belong in there (imho).

    Thanks anyway for this tip.

  • Hello! Thank's for key WinLogo+TAB, this is wonderful, this is miracle. I using Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.

  • I installed vista and surprisingly i dont have that aero scheme in my pc. I am an advanced user of pc and do know where to look for it but it is sure that i dont have that shceme... is there any one who knows how to get that scheme..??

  • Thanks, it seems too simple. I was ready to break out the regedit to fix this same problem. I figured seem MS didn't like my computer was ready for Aero then it wouldn't be possible ;)

  • John Smith hack verified. Works on my box anyhow.

  • John Smith hack not working on my vista. What happened?

  • if you set your graphics medium 16bit u wont see the areo option..but 32bit high should show all the goodies if u have the hardware and cant see the aero stuff

  • Apparently if you're running Windows Vista Home Basic the "wow" doesn't start now and you don't get any of the fancy smancy aero effects. You need at least Windows Vista Home Premium. Didn't try any of the hacks.

  • Thanks John Smith for the registry modification.

  • Hey, I've installed Vista Ultimate, my base score is 4.0 and my graphics score is a 5.9 and the one below it is 4.9, all of these numbers are above 4.0 and i cannot get the Aero theme, i was totally oblivious of these numbers until my friend showed me what these mean, i am quite an advanced user of computers and usually know what im doing, i just cant seem to firgure this one out. does anyone know what the problem is?

    Thanks, Steve

  • All you need to do is to make sure that your settings are set to 32-bit high and you resolution is set higher that 800x600.then the rest is up to your windows key+tab.goodluck man!

  • So noway in hell that i can use 3dflip on my vista home basic?

  • For all those who have higher version then Vista Basic but don't have the Aero option available, it's most probably caused by a lower Experience Index rating then required.

    If you have upgraded your graphic drivers, you need to refresh your rating index by going to Control Panel/System and Maintenance/System and clicking on the Windows Experience Index link.

    If an appropriate rating score is achieved, you'll be able to switch Aero and many other 3D features on.

  • Ohhhhh, man. thanks a lot. I apreciate it...

  • i want to install vista aero glass in my pc i had
    700e mhz, p3, 40gb hard disk, 192mb ram how can i install aero glass. and i dont want to copy in the theme. i need in *.exe fill please help me

  • i have got vista basic and i cant do anything on it
    basic hasn't got the "wow" and i really want it

  • i have a system score of 4.8
    im running vista premium
    32 bit resolution
    and 1280x800

    NO AERO!


  • okay, i have something for u. Can you figure out how to set the mouse scroll button to replace the win+tab shortcut? i think that would be even better then having to press win+tab when i could just press my scroll wheel button then scroll thru the windows. i saw the same idea from mac except for the mac it brings up gadgets or widgets or whatever. but yeah i think thats a good idea!!!!


  • i got vista basic and i downloaded vista glazz and it made the glass work wile maximised can somebody say how to make it work when not maximised?

  • Actually to run the Windows key + Tab you don't have to use the arrow keys or mouse wheel, just hold down the windows key and keep hitting the tab key to flip through the apps.

  • I have windows vista Home premium , why isnt windows aero in themes??? i have windows basic on themes but only basic not aero:S Please help

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