How To Enable Aero Glass-Style Transparency in Windows 8

By Chris Hoffman on November 12th, 2012


Aero Glass is gone in Windows 8. If you really miss Aero Glass, there’s a trick you can use to re-enable the transparent window title bars and borders – although Microsoft doesn’t want us to.

Microsoft has removed a lot of the code that makes Aero Glass, once an important Windows feature, possible. This trick doesn’t work perfectly – the blur effect has been removed by Microsoft and graphical corruption can occur in some situations.

High Contrast Theme

To activate a transparent glass effect, we’ll be using the high contrast theme’s colors with another theme’s settings.

To get started, right-click the desktop and select Personalize.


Enable the High Contrast White theme by clicking it.


Click the Color option at the bottom of the Personalization window.


Leave the Color and Appearance window open – don’t click anything in it. Right-click your desktop again and select Personalize to open a second Personalization window.


In the second Personalization window, click one of the Windows default themes to enable it.


Go back to the Color and Appearance window you left open and click the Save changes button.


You’ll now have transparent window borders. This isn’t quite Aero Glass – it’s full transparency, not a blur. You may also see some graphical corruption if you move the window. However, it’s the closest thing we can get to Aero Glass on Windows 8.


You can also enable this effect using Aero8Tuner, created by the developer of the popular Aero Tuner for Windows 7. Unfortunately, Aero8Tuner doesn’t have as many options as Aero Tuner does. Microsoft removed many Aero features from Windows and it isn’t possible to re-enable them – Aero8Tuner only allows you to change settings that are hidden in Windows.

Using Aero8Tuner, you can easily enable the Force High Contrast Mode option to enable the transparency without using the high contrast theme trick. However, it won’t work any better than enabling it manually.

You can also use Aero8Tuner to set a custom window color – you can select any color you like, even ones that Windows doesn’t normally offer.


Ultimately, this trick is a bit of a disappointment for Aero Glass fans that prefer the old Windows 7 look instead of the new, flat-color Windows 8 look. Some people are working on re-enabling full Aero Glass, but don’t hold your breath – Microsoft has gone out of their way to make it difficult.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 11/12/12
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