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Flash Tip: September 28, 2005

Flash Tip: Explaining Aero Glass in Windows Vista
By John Savill,

Q: What is Aero Glass and how can I get it?

A: Windows Vista has a new User Interface (UI) called Aero, and if your system meets certain high-end graphics requirements, you get Aero Glass. In Aero Glass, elements of the windows are translucent, and dialog boxes open in an expanding fashion, starting off small and growing larger as if approaching.

Figure 1 shows an Aero Glass interface; figure 2 shows a simple Aero interface.

Figure 1

Figure 2

You can also see in Figure 1 that the minimize, maximize, and close window buttons glow when the cursor hovers over them. Aero Glass is far more graphics intensive than standard Aero, and, in Microsoft's words, is the "full-fidelity Longhorn [now Vista] experience." Users with hardware that can't run even standard Aero can use a classic style UI that emulates the Windows 2000 UI.

To run Aero Glass, your graphics card must have a Longhorn Display Driver Model (LDDM). NVIDIA offers a Vista Beta 1 LDDM driver, and ATI also has LDDM drivers available. To get the full Vista experience, the graphics card needs a lot of memory (64MB minimum, 128MB recommended) and must support the complete DirectX 9 API.

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