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Lately (past few weeks), whenever I play a video game, then quit, Aero doesn't seem to like sticking around anymore!

For example, I was playing something an hour or so ago, and just now when I was writing a comment on a question here, I decided it had no value, and so closed the tab. The JS message box telling me I was closing the tab turned aero off.
I... wait what, Why? So, as usual, I grab a command prompt and type: "Net stop UxSms && Net start UxSms" to restart the dwm, and it pops back up again. However, all is not well, if I switch windows, or open another (in this case an explorer window), bam, I'm back with basic. If I reboot, everything is fine, and aero sticks around whatever I do (until, of course, something like a game turns it off - then we're back to where we started).

Any help? Troubleshooting steps I should take to resolve such issues in the future?

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It might be that the game program hasn't closed and is still causing problems from the background.
From Troubleshoot problems with Windows Aero:

Some older programs might be incompatible with Aero. When you run the program, Aero might stop working for as long as the program is running. Closing the program should restore Aero. To avoid this problem, check with the manufacturer of the program to see if there is a version available that is compatible with Windows Vista.

And another possibility:

If you are running the Power saver plan, Windows sometimes turns off transparency automatically. If you don't want this to happen, you can switch to the Balanced power plan.

You might also verify the video card driver from the manufacturer's site (not Windows update).

EDIT

Found an interesting article :
My Vista Aero Glass Turned Itself Off, How Do I Enable it Again?
It lists a few more cases that you might like to check, but the text you'll find most frustrating is:

When Windows Vista detects that your computer is running too slowly for Aero, it will automatically disable it. Normally once you close out of some applications everything goes back to normal, but sometimes you get “stuck” with the Vista Basic theme, and have to go in and enable it again.

This means that your game has taken too many resources to keep up Aero, and Windows just stays in basic mode afterward.

For more shortcuts for turning on Aero and transparency, see:
How to Enable or Disable Aero in Windows Vista

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The title in question was Fallout 3 (didn't want to name names in the post to avoid any potential "VIDEO GAMES! CLOSE!" reactions), and checking tasklist reveals it has, indeed, closed normally. Power Plan is on "High-Performance." Drivers were last updated... a few weeks ago, actually, but from ATI's support site :\ –  Phoshi Oct 20 '09 at 16:50
    
Phoshi - The video driver may not "instruct" clearly that the 3D app has quit. Update to the latest Catalyst drivers ( 9.9, I belive). The title in question runs pretty fine on my laptop with an nVidia 8600m GT, so I'm inclined to believe its a driver problem –  Sathya Oct 20 '09 at 17:41
    
F3 does tend to crash alot, so it could be that - I have mainly been playing it recently. –  Phoshi Oct 20 '09 at 18:01
    
installing the drivers again did the trick, it appears. Same version, so no idea why! Thanks :) –  Phoshi Oct 20 '09 at 18:15
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