3 Sweet Features You Can Unlock In Windows 8

In almost every OS, there bound to be a few features that are hidden from the public eyes. It could be because the features are not completed and not suitable for public use yet, or just that the developers don’t want to give too many customization option to the end users. This is true for Windows 8 too. Today, we’ll be discussing some features that were left out of Windows 8 and how you can add/modify them!

Windows 7 had a way to perform well even on slower machines. It had Aero Lite, a theme that doesn’t hog up all of a computer’s RAM just to show some glassy effects on the title bar of a window. This theme exists in Windows 8, but this time it’s hidden. There’s no comprehensible reason why it exists out of reach, but that’s the way it is now. In the meantime, you can address this yourself with a little bit of elbow grease.

Open a Windows Explorer and navigate to:

C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\aero

You’ll see “aerolite” in there somewhere. That’s going to be our target file. Let’s go back to the parent folder (“…\Resources\Themes\”). Now that you’re in the parent folder, copy “aero.theme” into the desktop. Right-click on that file, select “Open with,” and then select “Notepad.”

On the line that starts with “DisplayName” (the fifth line), change the entire thing to “DisplayName = Aero Lite“.

windows8feat-displayname-aerolite

You can call it something else if you want. Save the Notepad file and rename it to “aerolite” or whatever. Make sure you keep the “.theme” extension at the end of the file name. Copy the file back to the “Themes” folder you took it out of. Since it has a different name, it won’t replace the original.

Now, right-click your desktop and click “Personalize.” You’ll see your new theme installed under “Installed themes.” Look at ours:

windows8-theme

Have you noticed that the animation you get when booting your computer for the first time with Windows 8 just disappears? It never comes back. Here’s how to get that cool (or perhaps not-so-cool?) animation back:

  • Get into the Modern UI and type “regedit“. Press “Enter” when done. This takes you to the registry editor.
  • Now, navigate to
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Grid
  • On the right-hand side of the window, right-click an empty space. Hover the mouse pointer over “New” and click “DWORD (32-bit) Value.” You’ll be asked to give it a name. Call it “Launcher_SessionLoginAnimation_OnShow“. I know that’s a mouthful, but that’s the name it needs.
  • Right-click on the value you just created and click “Modify.” Type “1” under “Value data.”
  • You’re done!

Restart your computer and enjoy the spectacle. I hope you didn’t have any unsaved data!

This is a biggie, and it’s a shame that MS didn’t include this in Windows 8 as a configurable option through the Modern control panel. It puzzles me how they had this kind of oversight. Anyway, to modify this, you’ll have to dig into the registry a bit. For this tutorial, we’ll have to follow the second step of the last section also! It’s pretty much the same process, except that we’re modifying a value that already exists, not creating a new one.

So, when you reach

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Grid

right-click a value called “Layout_MaximumRowCount” and click “Modify.” The default value is relative to your resolution, so I can’t really tell you a concrete number. Take note of it if you ever want to revert back to the default value. Change this value as you see fit. Don’t exaggerate, since Microsoft didn’t exactly foolproof the registry. Just choose a number from 1 – 9.

Note: This trick might not work on all Windows 8 installations.

Let’s hear from you! If you liked anything here, leave a comment below. That will let us know that you want more sweet tricks for Windows 8!