How to Use Popular Aero Features in Windows 8

Windows Aero became a popular interface for PC users with the release of Windows Vista in 2007. Not only did Aero introduce a new guideline for themes in Windows, but it also changed the way users interacted with the user interface. Windows 8 still has some elements of Aero left over. However, for users who want to utilize Aero features in Windows 8, they may not realize how to use those features.

Aero Peeks allows you to quickly see your desktop along with any open window in a transparent fashion.

In order to enable it, Right-click on the taskbar and select “Properties.”

opening-taskbar-properties

Click “Use Peek to preview the desktop” to enable Aero Peek. Click “Apply” and “OK” to enable the settings.

Enabling Aero Peek

If you have used Windows Vista or 7 in the past, you know there’s a Show Desktop tab at the end of the taskbar.

This will not show up in Windows 8.

using-aero-peek

You simply hover over the same area to get Aero Peek to pop up.

Shake was never one of the most popular Aero features in Windows, but it is still included in Windows 8. In order to use Aero Shake, just grab the title bar of any window or program and shake your mouse while holding it. This will minimize all other windows and maximize the one you’re shaking.

Aero Snap works similar to how it did in Windows Vista and 7. Snap lets you drag, then drop a window to the left or right of your screen to resize it. When you drop the window on either side, it’ll automatically resize to take up half the size of the screen.

The following shortcuts also work to utilize Aero Snap in Windows 8:

  • Windows Key + Left Arrow: Move open window to left side of screen
  • Windows Key + Right Arrow: Move open window to right side of screen

If you didn’t use Aero features in previous versions of the Windows, you may have thought the live taskbar thumbnail previews in Windows 8 were part of the latest upgrade.

aero-live-taskbar-thumbnail-preview

This was a featured introduced in Aero and has continued to appear in newer versions of Windows. Hover over any item in your taskbar, and you’ll see a live preview of what’s going on.

Two Aero features were eliminated completely from Windows 8, namely Aero Glass and Flip 3D.

Flip 3D allowed users in Windows Vista and 7 to utilize the “Alt + Tab” switch you see in Windows 8 to flip through open windows and programs in 3D mode.

using-3d-flip-in-windows-7

Aero Glass gave windows a transparent border that let you see what was going on in the background as you worked with a window. This code has been removed entirely from Windows 8.

using-aero-glass-in-windows-7

Those that have tried to create tweaks, hacks and programs to bring it back have not been able to truly integrate the feature back into Windows 8.

It should be noted that the taskbar in Windows 8 is partially transparent by default which has led some to believe some of the coding is actually still there. Nobody has been able to figure out how to enable the Aero Glass feature properly since Windows 8’s release.

Windows 8 went in a whole new direction as far as layout and design goes, let alone the changes in the way users interact with their OS. By keeping some of the Aero features around, this helps make the upgrade to Windows 8 easier on those who loved Aero in the previous versions.