WOF: Windows 8 ditches Aero Glass -- will you miss it?

By on May 18, 2012, 7:15 PM

In a lengthy blog post, Microsoft has explained some of the logic behind Windows 8's interface. Much of the article discusses Metro, but a sizable chunk focuses on the desktop environment, including some significant changes that haven't been revealed in the Consumer Preview yet. Most notably, Microsoft says it's scrapping Aero Glass, the glossy, transparent border introduced with Vista, in favor of a flatter style that's less distracting:

"In the end, we decided to bring the desktop closer to the Metro aesthetic, while preserving the compatibility afforded by not changing the size of window chrome, controls, or system UI. We have moved beyond Aero Glass -- flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients...We want desktop windows to continue to feel light and airy, and we want a chrome style that doesn't distract from the content of the app."

Although I hope there's still a way to customize colors (the white default is too bright for my taste), I don't think I'll miss Glass at all. The transparency has distracted or otherwise misled me many times. A new track might play on Foobar or my desktop background might change and I mistake the activity for a new email or instant message. What say you? Is Aero Glass a tacky remnant or a reassuring familiarity of Windows Vista and 7?




User Comments: 104

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yRaz yRaz said:

Since the two applications I use the most are Chrome and steam I don't think it will make much of a difference for me. I hated the GUI in XP so the aero glass in vista was a welcomed change. I'll most likely stick to 7, it seems like they're just changing things to change them. It's a tablet OS, not a desktop one.

Guest said:

Everything old is new again. Windows XP look anyone? 95?

Guest said:

I won't miss aero at all. When you have many many windows up on dual monitors, it get annoying trying to select the correct semi-transparent window header to move it. Solid is much better if you're trying actually get work done.

howzz1854 said:

why not bring back windows 3.1 it had a lot of flat chrome toolbars. or windows 95. call me shallow, but isn't look and appeal part of the experience that we modern users look for? you don't see apple going back to OS 9 or OS 8. if pure productivity is all you look for, go with a windows server OS or better use Linux. if they really do go back to the old archaic look of flat boxy look, I will never switch to windows 8. and if they phase out windows 7, I'll just dump windows altogether and install Linux or OSX.

Guest said:

Looks like shite to me, but it doesn't really matter since my hard drive will never have 8 on it. MS is like intel with it's tick tock releases. Vista tick, 7 tock, 8 tick... I'll wait for the tock thanks.

TekGun TekGun said:

I like the look of win8, and it's about time for a change so no I won't miss it. I would imagine it won't be long before someone like Stardock bring out some aero mod for those that really want it back.

PinothyJ said:

DeCarlo you awesome human being! Foobar2000 users represent!

*high fives*...

Guest said:

I actually enjoy the glass because it's easier on the eyes and I already stare at vast, stark fields of white or black while working on documents or CAD'ing. Gradients, breaks in color and form, and rounded corners help not burn our eyes or mind out. The glass was also thematic in that, well, this is Windows, not Microsoft OS VI 6.1 Vienna.

If I wanted to, I could always turn off transparency, or switch to the classic look, or try to hack in another style. I had options, and I think taking away options is a step back and disappointing to people who actually customize their interface as intended.

I get that it'll give a different visual identity from Windows 7; not liking Metro, I would essentially just use the Windows 8 Desktop, which begs the question why I would move from Windows 7 in the first place. But losing even the look for a Desktop UI that Microsoft clearly is trying to move away from completely... well, I'm running out of reasons why I'd want to do my work on Windows 8.

Of course, I dislike flat depthless designs, overuse of stark rectangles and squares, and insipidly simple color schemes in general. But I think trying to push everyone onto the latest trends is like pretending everyone's a hip, trendy young adult with the same minimalist aesthetic tastes.

This is why I avoided the Apple culture to begin with.

<light-hearted snark>I think there's something to be said that you don't know the difference between foobar changing tracks and an e-mail notification.</light-hearted snark>

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

<light-hearted snark>I think there's something to be said that you don't know the difference between foobar changing tracks and an e-mail notification.</light-hearted snark>

To be clear, Foobar displays track information in the window border and it's often directly under Postbox. They're both on the furthest end of my secondary display, so all I really see is something blink in my peripheral vision. Activity for a new track and email occurs in the same general area. Also, I keep all sound notifications disabled, so all I have is a visual notification. Granted I can probably tweak Foobar so it doesn't display track information in the window border, but similar things occur in other instances. It was just the easiest example to make.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I actually quite like the transparency, and I've never had any functional problems with it at all. I hope they at least leave an option for transparency. There's no harm in having the option, even if its not the default setting.

ikesmasher said:

I despise it, the glas was really nice and helped ease the boringness of staring at black and white all day. It just looked slick without being overly flashy.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't believe I will be adopting Win 8, so I don't see this affecting me at all.

Guest said:

Based on their release-or-die schedules, when's Win9 coming ? 2 years from now ? I might think about moving on from 7 then, but I'm definitely skipping 8 - it seems like a tablet peg for a desktop hole.

scorpian007 said:

Meh, I liked the Aero theme.

R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

Well I had Win8 CP on my laptop for 2 months (just re installed with Win7 Enterprise)

Bottom line, I didn't feel I could be as productive with Win8 vs Win7. So ditching the Aero Glass wont effect me since I wont be upgrading.

I don't understand why MS cant let people have the option to turn all these features (e.g. Metro or Aero Glass) on or off. I guess we wait for release to know for sure.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

I like Aero and I despise the new flat "ribbon" look Microsoft wants to apply to everything.

I haven't given Windows 8 an honest shot yet but to be honest, it's looking more and more like my next PC won't be a PC, but a 27" iMac with Ivy Bridge. I'll keep Windows 7 in a Fusion VM and run the tools I need for work (like the VMWare vSphere client) via Unity.

I already do all this on my Macbook Air.

Mano25 said:

I like windows Aero style much more than XP's blue bar. I have no idea of changing my current OS(Windows 7) to Win 8

Guest said:

I'll miss Aero. Metro white theme is too bright for me.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

One could argue they could keep it, just as they kept Windows classic theme.

They're just changing for the sake of change, to avoid people saying that they're paying for Seven all over again. Whiny internet people succeed again.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

So they're planning on making it a no-nonsense interface. Good. That'll help me with the migraines I get when staring at Metro!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The aero theme is what give me an attraction and desire to migrate from Windows XP. Then the simple navigations found in Windows 7 over Windows Vista made the choice to skip Vista an easy decision.

Let me see if I can get this straight. Microsoft has reverted their logo back to what it looked like in Windows 1.0. They are dropping the Start Menu that has been available since Windows 95. The aero style which has been present in the last two version is also being dropped.

Has Microsoft decided they can no longer go forward and need to start over with their OS designs? They seem to be going back to the 90's with their style.

Guest said:

Retro seems to be all the rage these days. With a little bit of luck, we might see an 8 bit version of Windows for the Commodore 64 in the near future. Think I'll just skip this one and see what Windows 9 offers when we get to that point.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The aero theme is what give me an attraction and desire to migrate from Windows XP. Then the simple navigations found in Windows 7 over Windows Vista made the choice to skip Vista an easy decision.

There is probably something to it. I also like my mew OS looking "new" when I install it. Especially when MS is often a step behind Apple's design aesthetic. But I'm hoping that modding Windows 8 will be as easy as prior versions. One of things that I always liked about Windows was that there are going to be tons of software out there to customize your experience.

I'm actually a little excited to bring my desktop from home to school and start messing around with Windows 8 to see if its worth upgrading to or not.

hitech0101 said:

There was still no need to ditch the aero glass.

Guest said:

I don't like the Windows OS business model. They should copy the mobile model by making the OS free and charging for apps. Version changes should be added to a configuration menu that allow the end user decide what they want to use...including aero glass.

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

hell no will I aero glass its a bad app for windows.more speed is the way to go!!

Guest said:

I like simplicity!

Guest said:

let me choose!

Guest said:

Man I like Aero. :(

it gives me those new shiny look from a new OS compared to XP. :(

JC713 JC713 said:

Aero is one of the best visually enticing features of Windows 7,I love it, and for Microsoft to ditch it confirms me of not buying W8. W8 losing the start button was a real mistake, thats what sets it apart from the Mac. You cant put a touch interface on a non touch system, it is absurd, and will lost Microsoft a lot of business.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

Plenty of Aero-glass type options for Gnome desktop (with and without start button!)

truroxy said:

I hate this new look. I wont upgrade to windows 8. I plan on using windows 7 on my next new desktop. I love the current look of 7. why do they change everything? I loved xp, and now I love 7. vista sucked and 8 will suck.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I like the Aero-glass for the same reasons most other people do in this thread.

I won't be getting Windows 8, even if there is an option for Aero-glass installed. Fact is, I don't have stupid £££s to spend on something that looks and feels worse than what I've already got.

Guest said:

(first, I'm a different guest than the previous one)

@Matthew: Yes, you can tweak Foobar to function exactly how you like. When a song starts you could have the artist and track title appear in the center of your screen for 2 seconds in size 70 font if you really want.

Myself I have the discography of almost all the artists I listen to, so I have an unbelievable amount of music. The easiest way to navigate through is sorting by artists with album sub menus like Windows Media Player 10 allowed, however nothing allows this anymore... and since WMP10 isn't supported by Windows 7. Foobar lets me customize it perfectly to suite my needs:

[link]

I set it up for usability, not for looks. You could replace all the UI, make it look beautiful if you were so inclined. Foobar really is the ultimate media player for Windows. It's the Firefox of Media Players (customize it to function and look exactly how you want).

diego713 diego713 said:

No. Want performance, not eye candy!

Guest said:

I can understand why such things (performance, simplicity, etc..) might be important for a tablet-like device, where display size and power is are important issues.. but, for a desktop OS with today's hardware? No.(n) I've never had the desire to turn off aero under Vista or W7 and run with it.

killeriii said:

I'm interested in how they're going to get tablet users to pay for an OS.

Unless MS starts making hardware, it's going to be an added cost.

killeriii said:

...and I liked Aero.

ikesmasher said:

I think the main problem with aero was that most people really had to use it, because the standard look was ugly as crap

ikesmasher said:

I said the above post in the sense that people used it whether or not their PC could handle it. It looked cool but affected performance for some people. But I dont think getting rid of it is a good idea.

psycros psycros said:

<p>They're just changing for the sake of change, to avoid people saying that they're paying for Seven all over again. Whiny internet people succeed again.</p>

If "whiny internet people" got their way, Metro would never be seen on a desktop, ever. Microsoft is desperately copying Apple in every way now - ignoring their userbase and pusing a "vision", limiting choice and being all-around jerks. Problem is, they don't have a zombie religion of customers so its going to backfire in a huge way.

veLa veLa said:

I didn't mind the aero, I thought it looked nice. As for the lack of a real startbar/button, screw 8. M$ already lost me by making everything too n00b friendly and candy colored.

abysal abysal said:

user choice... I'll stick with win7.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

<p>(first, I'm a different guest than the previous one<span style="text-decoration: line-through"> </span></p>

<p><span style="text-decoration: line-through">@Matthew: Yes, you can tweak Foobar to function exactly how you like. When a song starts you could have the artist and track title appear in the center of your screen for 2 seconds in size 70 font if you really want.</span></p>

<p><span style="text-decoration: line-through"> </span></p>

<p><span style="text-decoration: line-through">Myself I have the discography of almost all the artists I listen to, so I have an unbelievable amount of music. The easiest way to navigate through is sorting by artists with album sub menus like Windows Media Player 10 allowed, however nothing allows this anymore... and since WMP10 isn't supported by Windows 7. Foobar lets me customize it perfectly to suite my needs:</span></p>

<p><span style="text-decoration: line-through"><a href="http://imagecrate.de/u/1337406464_whatever-you-wa
t.png" target="_blank" class="externalLink" rel="nofollow">http://imagecrate.de/u/133740646
_whatever-you-want.png</a></span></p>

<p><span style="text-decoration: line-through"> </span></p>

<p><span style="text-decoration: line-through">I set it up for usability, not for looks. You could replace all the UI, make it look beautiful if you were so inclined. Foobar really is the ultimate media player for Windows. It's the Firefox of Media Players (customize it to function and look exactly how you want).</span></p>

You should make an account.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Yes, I'm gonna miss the days when Microsoft was making sense....

Arston said:

I don't care that Windows 8 will suck. The problem is that Microsoft is heading in a bad direction, and in a few years Windows 7 won't be a good option ? same as XP when 7 came out. A lot of the software I'm using requires me to use Windows and to be honest, I really like Windows 7.

I don't get what's the deal with flat 2d-looking graphics... It looks like shit.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I preferred the classic theme in vista and windows 7.

yowanvista yowanvista said:

The Windows XP of 2012? No thanks, I'll pass.

xankazo xankazo said:

Sorry Windows 8, but you can't have me. Windows 7 has been too nice for me. :)

Guest said:

Microsoft seems to be forgetting that their greatest strength against Apple is that when the mass-majority of folks go into a Best Buy, Microsoft's OS looks familiar but Apple's looks alien (ameliorated by ubiquity of iTunes, iPhone, etc.). The more different Microsoft's OS looks, the greater the risk they have of folks making the switch to Apple.

They can take aesthetic chances--they must. But they must also be loud and clear about the ability to run whatever they create in "classic mode". E.g., I generally like Win7, but run Taskbar Tweeker so that the behavior of my taskbar remains "classic". There is no such freeware option for their ribbon bar on Office--I.e., to use drop down menus. As such, even after 3 years of having to use 2007 at work, I still hate it. I can get Office 2007 (2010?) free as a grad student, butI have so far passed. When MS stops supporting Office 2003, that's when I make my break to Libre Office.

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