Does anyone know how to disable Aero on Windows 8 (currently Release Preview)?

Note: Contrary to what many places mention, I believe this should still be possible, because you can see it during the installation process! (That is, if you press Shift-F10 at the appropriate stage in the installation, you'll see that Aero is disabled -- the classic borders are there.) I just don't know how.

  • Try searching for things to do with DWM or desktop window manager - thats the 'proper' name for the process underpinning aero. – Journeyman Geek Jul 7 '12 at 2:54
  • @JourneymanGeek: Thanks, but I've already searched -- that's how I saw people saying "the code is removed", etc.... and hence my second paragraph. – user541686 Jul 7 '12 at 3:19
  • I thought Aero was to be removed in final build & it's still present in RP? – Sathyajith Bhat Jul 7 '12 at 14:38
  • @Sathya: It's still in the release preview, yes... but I don't understand how they can "remove" Aero? What will they do, go back to the old interface? Or draw windows without borders? That just doesn't make sense to me... – user541686 Jul 8 '12 at 5:24
  • @Mehrdad Flat borders, much like how you see in Office 2010 / SharepPoint I believe winsupersite.com/content/content/143133/… – Sathyajith Bhat Jul 8 '12 at 6:29

Navigate to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced system settings

Then click Performance -> Settings... Under Visual Effects, select "Adjust for best performance', then click Apply.

This will disable all visual effects associated with the old Aero theme.


Another answer is to use this program: http://bertrand.deo.free.fr/TEMP/w8classic.zip

It will disable Aero and restore the classic theme.

enter image description here

  • I'm a little scared of actually running this. Is there no way to recover the system if it fails? Could you describe what the code is doing? – user541686 Apr 13 '14 at 23:24
  • @Mehrdad I would refer you to this thread: forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=113024 Run the program second time to uninstall it. – Anixx Apr 13 '14 at 23:30
  • Thanks for the link. Do you know why the program makes registry permission modifications? Are they really necessary, or are they only because the program doesn't have permissions to modify those keys? I'm asking because if it's only for modification permissions, using RegCreateKeyEx would allow us to use REG_OPTION_BACKUP_RESTORE to gain the required permissions without modifying anything. – user541686 Apr 13 '14 at 23:40
  • @Mehrdad the program writes itself as the shell instead of explorer.exe so that the explorer be run after the classic theme is restored. – Anixx Apr 13 '14 at 23:44
  • Yeah, but why does that require changing the key permissions? – user541686 Apr 13 '14 at 23:50

Windows 8 isn't supposed to be supporting the aero interface.




  • 1
    I can't believe my eyes. Did they just throw corporate customers out the window? How can you do anything productive (Office? Visual Studio? etc.) with Metro? – user541686 Jul 7 '12 at 3:17
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    Only the Aero theme is ditched, the underlying Desktop Window Manager is still there to provide GPU accelerated rendering. – Phil Jul 7 '12 at 3:55
  • Microsoft might have merged DWM with another service during refactoring though. – Phil Jul 7 '12 at 4:01
  • I don't believe you will be restricted to Metro only, but the interface would be minus the transparency effects that make the aero glass theme (so like XP's themes). – Kevin Scharnhorst Jul 8 '12 at 0:07
  • @Mehrdad - "Metro" isn't meant for corporate customers. The traditional desktop is still present in Windows 8. – ChrisF Sep 27 '12 at 21:45

If you're talking about the Windows Classic theme as well as the transparent borders/glass effect of Aero themes, that's gone in Windows 8. Other than that, the 'Aero'/DWM GPU accelerated visuals still remain (and cannot be disabled AFAIK).

Release Preview:

enter image description here


enter image description here

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