Windows Aero

Windows Aero is the premium user experience in Windows Vista and the one most users will want to access. It provides a number of unique features. First, Windows Aero enables the new Aero Glass look and feel in which the Start Menu, the taskbar, and all onscreen windows and dialog boxes take on a new glass-like translucent sheen

Aero Glass is designed to move the visual focus away from the windows themselves and to the content they contain. Whether that effort is successful is open to debate, but it’s certainly true that window borders have lost the vast, dark-colored title bars of previous Windows versions and provide a softer-looking and more organic-looking container around window contents. Compare Windows XP’s My Computer window to Windows Vista’s Computer window.

When you have a lot of Aero windows open onscreen, it’s often hard to tell which one is on top or has the focus. Typically, that window will have a bright red Close window button, whereas other windows will not.

When you utilize the Windows Aero user experience, you receive other benefits. Certain
Windows Vista features, for example, are available only when you’re using Aero. Windows Flip and Flip 3D, two new task-switching features, are available only in Aero.

Windows Flip and Flip 3D are most typically accessed via keyboard shortcuts. The trick, of course, is that you have to know those shortcuts. To use Windows Flip, hold down the Alt key and press the Tab key to cycle between all of the running applications and open windows. To use Flip 3D, hold down the Windows key and press the Tab key to cycle between these windows.

Aero also enables dynamic window animations, so that when you minimize a window to the taskbar, it subtly animates to show you exactly where it went. This kind of functionality was actually first introduced in Windows 95, but it has been made more subtle and fluid in Windows Vista. Additionally, Aero enables live taskbar thumbnails: When you mouse over buttons in the taskbar, a small thumbnail preview will pop up, showing you the window without actually activating it first.

In addition to its obvious visual charms, Windows Aero also offers lower-level improvements that provide a more reliable desktop experience than you might be used to with previous Windows versions. Thanks to a new graphics architecture based on DirectX video-game libraries, Windows Vista can move windows across the screen without any of the visual tearing or glitches that were common in Windows XP. The effect is most prominent in windows with animated content, such as when you’re playing a video in Windows Media Player (WMP). But it’s not just about looks. Windows Aero is simply more reliable than the other user experiences. To understand why that’s so, you need to examine Aero’s strict hardware and software requirements.

Source of information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

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