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What is Windows Aero

One of the major new features introduced with Windows Vista was the new Windows Aero interface. It brought with it a more streamlined design including smoother window edges and transparency as well as various other graphical improvements. Windows 7 expanded on the popular Windows Aero theme by providing a number of new features as well. For the most part, the features offered by Windows Aero are of little practical use. Instead, they are more about improving the appearance of your operating system than anything else. Windows Aero is included in all versions of the Windows 7 operating system except for the Starter and Home Basic editions.

One feature of Windows Aero is the taskbar and full screen window previews. With Windows Aero activated, moving your mouse over an icon on the taskbar will reveal a thumbnail preview of that window. If you move your mouse pointer over the thumbnail as it appears, the window will temporarily open. If you want to start working in that window, you can simply move your mouse pointer over the window and click to activate it. Alternatively, moving the mouse away from the full-screen preview will cause it to disappear again.

Windows has long had the ALT+TAB feature which, when pressing this button combination on your keyboard, allows you to cycle through the windows and programs which are currently open on your computer. Pressing ALT and TAB in Windows Vista or Windows 7 will present you with a set of thumbnail previews of all open windows. With ALT held down, pressing tab will allow you to cycle through each thumbnail until you get to the program you want. Pressing the Windows key and tab will also allow you to cycle through open programs, but instead you'll be provided with a 3D interface which shows a more detailed preview of each open window.

Aero Peek and Aero Snap are two new Windows Aero features, introduced in Windows 7. Aero Peek allows you to "peek" at the desktop without minimizing or closing any open windows. To do this, simply move the mouse over the small rectangle in the bottom-right corner of your screen, just to the right of the system clock. Aero Snap allows you to drag an open window to the side or top of the screen in order to automatically resize it to occupy half of the screen or the whole screen respectively.


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