How To Fix No Aero Transparency in Windows 7

By Brian Burgess on December 24th, 2009

The Aero feature in Vista and Windows 7 is an awesome new enhancement, but sometimes it doesn’t display correctly and there is no transparency effect. Here are some quick steps you can take to repair it.

No Transparency Effect

You may have run into this problem, where Aero is enabled but transparency isn’t working (As shown in the examples below). It seems I’ve found this happening after running games, watching video, or updating a video card driver.

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Troubleshoot and Fix No Transparency

To get everything working again, right-click an empty area on the the desktop and select Personalize.

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Now in the Personalization window underneath the Aero Themes, click on the link Troubleshoot problems with transparency and other Aero effects.

Note: This link is only present where there is a problem going on with Aero. We also show how to get to the troubleshooting tool at any time below.

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In the next window click the Advances link and make sure and check the box next to Apply repairs automatically.

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If you don’t select to Apply repairs automatically, after the troubleshooting process has completed you will get a report showing what needs to be fixed. I’ve found it’s just faster to have it repair issues automatically.

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Windows begins looking for what is causing the problem with the display.

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Here you can see the transparency was fixed automatically and now shows what the problem was.

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Click the link View detailed information to pull up a report of what tests were ran and their results that you can print out if needed.

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Alternate Fix Method for no Transparency

You can also fix the no transparency issue by going by stopping and restarting the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager service. We found this method to be easiest in Vista. To do it, type services.msc into the search box on the Start menu.

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Scroll down until you see Desktop Window Manager Session Manager and right-click and choose Stop…after it stops, right-click and restart it. After it restarts, transparency should be back and then close out of Services.

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Check for Aero Problems Anytime

The steps above are meant for troubleshooting no transparency specifically. You can troubleshoot or check for other Aero problems by typing troubleshooting into the search box in the Start menu and hit Enter.

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Then in the following screen click on Display Aero desktop effects under Appearance and Personalization.

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Give it a moment to come up, then follow through the wizard as shown above.

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That is all there is too it. The next time Aero isn’t running correctly on your Windows 7 machine, these tips should help you get it back to how it was.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 12/24/09
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