Introduced with the release of Windows Vista, the enhanced look and functionality of the Microsoft desktop experience is called Aero. Windows 7 received a revised and polished version of Aero, and included new useful features – Aero Peek, Shake and Snap.  Aero Peek provides a new visual way to manage your open windows and applications.

Aero Peek

Aero Peek gives you live previews of websites that you have open

Some programs have special features that work with Aero Peek, like iTunes shortcut controls.

Aero Peek iTunes

Some programs like iTunes have features that work with Aero Peek

Aero does require a certain level of hardware to run, and is not available in Windows 7 Basic regardless of what hardware your computer has.

  • 1GHz processor (32 or 64 bit)
  • 1GB of RAM (32 bit)
  • 128MB DirectX 9 graphics card w/ Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or higher

Generally speaking, if your computer was purchased in the last couple of years, then your computer meets the minimum requirements for Aero.

If you recently upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate, or recently purchased a new computer, and these features don’t look or sound familiar, then your Aero may be disabled. There are several reasons why Aero might not be enabled, especially if you installed Windows 7 from scratch. Things like updating video drivers, or not running the Windows Experience Index, can cause Aero to be disabled.

Here is a simple test to see if Aero is enabled or not. You won’t get those nice Peek preview thumbnails when you hover over open Internet Explorer windows, instead you get a list of website titles.

Aero disabled

When Aero is disabled you won't see Peek when hovering over open windows

Here is how to enable Aero.

First makes sure that you have run the Windows Experience Index.

Click the Windows button, and type experience in the box. This should bring up a few results, click on Check the Windows Experience Index.

Click the Rate this Computer button if you have never run the check, or the Re-run the assessment link if you need to re-run the index check. Windows will then check and rate various components of the computer. Once it completes the check, your computer will receive an overall index rating. This will determine if Aero can be enabled or not. Generally once the Windows Experience Index has determined a sufficient graphics rating, Aero should automatically start.

If Aero is now enabled you can stop here, and start enjoying the new Aero features!

If after running the Windows Experience Index you still cannot enable Aero, here is what to do next. Click the Start button, and type Find and fix problems. This should bring up a list of Find and Fix links. Click the Find and fix problems with transparency and other visual effects link.

This will bring up the Aero troubleshooting wizard. Click Next and follow the on-screen instructions.

The wizard will run through various checks and attempt to automatically resolve any issues.

If the wizard does detect problems, a red X will appear next to the particular issue. It may be a lingering hardware issue, or driver incompatibility. Try to resolve the issues, and then run the Aero wizard again. If the Aero wizard continues to fail, make note of the error, and give us a call.