Microsoft: Windows 8 Won't Use 'Aero' Interface

Dennis Faas's picture

The 'Aero' interface was one of the few features of Windows Vista that people appreciated. It featured slick-looking translucent windows, and brought serious style first to Vista and later to Windows 7.

Now it appears that Microsoft is dropping the Aero interface entirely from its newest operating system (OS), Windows 8.

Often known as 'Aero Glass,' the interface first shipped with the earliest versions of Vista some six years ago. Covering window borders and taskbars with a glassy look, Aero set the appearance of Vista and then Windows 7 apart from Microsoft's older OS, Windows XP.

Microsoft: Aero Now Looks "Dated and Cheesy"

Microsoft says it originally designed the Aero interface to make using Windows a more visually stimulating experience, while highlighting important areas within each window.

But many users were unimpressed with Aero, which placed greater demands on a computer's hardware and was a big reason reason that Vista's overall performance lagged behind that of XP, its more popular predecessor.

Performance issues could be one reason Microsoft is dropping Aero from Windows 8. But for the moment Microsoft's simply saying that it's time to move on.

Microsoft wants to deploy a new interface to help set Windows 8 apart, and company executives seem to believe that the glassy visual effect has become a bit old-fashioned.

"This style of simulating faux-realistic materials (such as glass or aluminum) on the screen looks dated and cheesy now," said Windows User Experience Director of Program Management, Jensen Harris. (Source:

Metro Offers Drastically Different Appearance

Replacing the Aero interface is the look of the all-new tile-based Metro, which offers none of the reflections or shadows seen in Vista and Windows 7.

Insiders report that the overall look of Metro will include rounded corners and flatter-appearing surfaces. The color white will also play a more prominent role than in previous versions of Windows.

This, Harris's team insists, will give Windows 8 a modern look and feel.

However, while Microsoft is moving away from the visual flair of Windows 7, Harris says that Windows 8 will employ many of the interface dynamics that made Windows 7 so popular.

"We made a conscious effort to relate the visual appearance of the Windows 8 desktop to the visual appearance of the familiar Windows 7 desktop," Harris said. "This helps people who want to predominantly use the desktop feel comfortable and immediately at home in the new environment." (Source:

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