You may experience issues with the Windows Aero feature on a Windows Vista-based computer

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Article ID: 945000 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you start a Windows Vista-based computer, or when you use a Windows Vista-based computer, you may experience one of the following issues:
  • You may be unable to turn on the Windows Aero feature. Or, you may be unable to turn on some options in the Windows Aero feature.
  • The Windows Aero feature may be turned off after minutes of activity.

CAUSE

This issue occurs because the Windows Aero feature has specific hardware requirements, software configuration requirements, and resource requirements that must be met for it to function correctly on a Windows Vista-based computer. If these requirements are not met, or if computer resources become insufficient during use, the Windows Aero feature may not function correctly. Additionally, the Windows Aero feature may shut down during the current session.

This article helps you fix the problem. To have us fix this problem for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you would rather fix this problem yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section

Fix it for me

To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix this problem link. Then, click Run now button from the Automated Troubleshooting Services page and follow the steps in this wizard.

Fix this problem
Microsoft Automated Troubleshooting Services: Windows Vista Aero Glass visual effects are not working

Let me fix it myself

To resolve this issue, use the following troubleshooting methods.

Method 1: Verify the configuration settings to make sure that the Windows Aero feature is turned on

Make sure that the desktop theme is set to Windows Vista

  1. Click Start
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    the Start button
    , type personalization in the Start Search box, and then click Personalization in the Programs list.
  2. Under Personalize appearance and sounds, click Theme.
  3. In the Theme list, click Windows Vista, and then click OK.

Make sure that the color scheme is set to Windows Aero

  1. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    the Start button
    , type personalization in the Start Search box, and then click Personalization in the Programs list.
  2. Under Personalize appearance and sounds, click Window Color and Appearance.

    Note If the Appearance Settings dialog box does not appear, click Open classic appearance properties for more color options.
  3. In the Color scheme list, click Windows Aero, and then click OK.

Make sure that the window frame transparency feature is turned on

  1. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    the Start button
    , type personalization in the Start Search box, and then click Personalization in the Programs list.
  2. Under Personalize appearance and sounds, click Window Color and Appearance.
  3. Click to select the Enable transparency check box, and then click OK.

Method 2: Make sure that the computer meets the requirements to turn on the Windows Aero feature

  • The computer must be running one of the following versions of Windows Vista:
    • Windows Vista Business
    • Windows Vista Enterprise
    • Windows Vista Home Premium
    • Windows Vista Ultimate
    To view the Windows Vista version that is running on the computer, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
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      the Start button
      , type system in the Start Search box, and then click System in the Programs list.
    2. Under View basic information about your computer, see the Windows edition section for the Windows Vista version that you currently use.
  • The computer must have a minimum CPU speed of 1 gigahertz (GHz).

    To view the CPU speed on the computer, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      the Start button
      , type system in the Start Search box, and then click System in the Programs list.
    2. Under View basic information about your computer, see the System section for the CPU speed.
  • The computer must have a minimum of 1 gigabyte (GB) of Random Access Memory (RAM).

    To view the RAM on the computer, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      the Start button
      , type system in the Start Search box, and then click System in the Programs list.
    2. Under View basic information about your computer, see the System section for the installed RAM information.
  • The computer must have a video card that uses a minimum of 128 megabytes (MB) of graphics memory.

    To view the memory that the video card uses, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      the Start button
      , type personalization in the Start Search box, and then click Personalization in the Programs list.
    2. Under Personalize appearance and sounds, click Display Settings, and then click Advanced Settings.
    3. Click the Adapter tab, and then see the Dedicated Video Memory field for the memory that the video card uses.
  • The computer's display settings must be set to 32-bit color. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      the Start button
      , type personalization in the Start Search box, and then click Personalization in the Programs list.
    2. Under Personalize appearance and sounds, click Display Settings.
    3. In the Colors list, make sure that Highest (32 bit) is selected, and then click OK.
  • The computer's display must be set to a refresh rate of more than 10 hertz (Hz). To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      the Start button
      , type personalization in the Start Search box, and then click Personalization in the Programs list.
    2. Under Personalize appearance and sounds, click Display Settings, and then click Advanced Settings.
    3. Click the Monitor tab, make sure that the value that is selected in the Screen refresh rate list is larger than 10 Hz, and then click OK.
    Note When you adjust the screen refresh rate, refer to the video card documentation and the monitor documentation to make sure that the setting is supported by the computer hardware.
  • The computer's video card must meet the following hardware requirements:
    • The video card must support a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver.
    • The video card must have a DirectX 9-class graphics processor unit (GPU) that supports Pixel Shader 2.0.
    • The video card must support 32 bits per pixel.
    To see whether the video card meets these hardware requirements, see the documentation that is supplied together with the video card. Or, visit the Web site of the hardware manufacturer.

Method 3: Install an updated video driver

To check for and install the latest video driver, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
Note You may have to check for video driver updates from the hardware manufacturer.

For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors/en-us

Method 4: Install the latest Windows updates

Make sure that you install all the latest updates for the operating system. To check for and install the latest updates, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

Method 5: Update the system BIOS

If the Windows Aero feature turns off shortly after you start Windows, you may have to update the system BIOS to resolve the issue if an updated system BIOS is available.

Important Try this troubleshooting method only after you have tried the other troubleshooting methods in this article. Updating the system BIOS is an advanced user step. If you do not feel comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, you may want to obtain help from a friend. Or, you may want to contact technical support.

For system BIOS updates, contact the computer manufacturer and obtain an updated version of the system BIOS.

For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors/en-us

MORE INFORMATION

Additional issues that you may experience

  • Issue 1: The Windows Aero feature may temporarily turn off shortly after you start Windows.

    Cause: This issue may occur because of an incompatible BIOS.

    Resolution: To resolve this issue, update the system BIOS by using the latest BIOS version that is supplied by the computer manufacturer.

    For more information, see the "Update the system BIOS" section.
  • Issue 2: When you run many programs, or when individual programs use more memory to operate, the available resources on the computer may be reduced. This may cause the Windows Aero feature to be temporarily disabled.

    Resolution: To resolve this issue, limit the number of programs that run at the same time. Or, install additional RAM to increase available resources on the computer.
  • Issue 3: The Windows Aero feature may work incorrectly when you start a Java program that uses an earlier version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

    Resolution: To resolve this issue, update the Java program to use the latest version of the JRE. Computers that run JRE versions that are earlier than version 6.0 are incompatible with Windows Vista.

    For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    934561 Windows Vista Aero theme desktop effects are disabled when you run a Java application
  • Issue 4: The Windows Aero feature may work incorrectly when the Windows Experience Index score is not updated after you have upgraded the computer hardware.

    Resolution: For more information about how to view and update the Windows Experience Index score, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/f59082f4-6385-4a61-ba7e-2de9625a780a1033.mspx
  • Issue 5: The Windows Aero feature may work incorrectly when you run a program that is incompatible with the Windows Aero feature.

    Cause: This issue may occur because some earlier programs may be incompatible with the Windows Aero feature.

    Resolution: To resolve this issue, contact the program manufacturer to see whether there is a program version available that is compatible with Windows Vista.
  • Issue 6: The Windows Aero feature may work incorrectly when the computer is running in reduced functionality mode.

    For more information about reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    925582 The behavior of reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista
  • Issue 7: The Windows Aero feature may work incorrectly when the video card uses system memory as video memory.

    For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    939423 The Windows Aero feature may be disabled when you have a graphics card that uses system memory to augment dedicated video memory on a Windows Vista-based computer
For more information about the Windows Aero feature, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/eb64dd83-9f49-436d-90a7-a1c287c9821a1033.mspx
For more information about how to troubleshoot problems with the Windows Aero feature, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/c33fe91a-9e6f-41f4-ae82-3ed2d5fa2fbf1033.mspx#EEE
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of these products.

For help with Aero Glass effects problems in Windows Vista, visit the following Microsoft web page:
Fix problems when Aero Glass effects are not working in Windows

Properties

Article ID: 945000 - Last Review: February 11, 2008 - Revision: 1.5
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
Keywords: 
kbmatsfixme kbfixme kbexpertisebeginner kbtshoot KB945000

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