How to Enable or Disable Aero in Windows Vista

Windows Aero is a pleasing graphical user interface that includes transparencies, taskbar thumbnails, animations, and other features.

Windows Aero is the default theme in most editions of Windows Vista. If you want to turn off Aero for performance gain, use these steps.

Switching to Windows Vista Basic scheme

  1. Right-click on the Desktop and click Personalize
  2. Click Window Color and Appearance
  3. Click Open classic appearance properties for more color options
  4. Select Windows Vista Basic and click OK.

All Windows Vista features (like Taskbar thumbnails, Glass effect, etc) that require Aero will be disabled.

Shortcuts to enable and disable Aero

You can use the following command-line to disable Aero:

net stop uxsms

To switch Aero On, use this command:

net start uxsms

Note: The above commands need to be run from an elevated Command Prompt. This stops the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service, which in turn disables Aero and switches automatically to the Windows Vista Basic scheme. If need to create desktop shortcuts to the above commands, make sure that you right-click on the shortcut and choose Run as Administrator in order to run it.

Enable or Disable Aero Transparency

To disable the Aero Transparency (whilst still having other Aero features enabled), use these steps:

  • Right-click on the Desktop and choose Personalize
  • Click the Window Color and Appearance
  • Uncheck the option named Enable transparency

Shortcuts to enable and disable Aero Transparency

To disable Aero Transparency, use this command/shortcut:

rundll32.exe dwmApi #104

To enable Aero Transparency, use any one of these commands:

rundll32.exe dwmApi DwmEnableComposition
rundll32.exe dwmApi #102

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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