Activate Aero Interface on Windows Vista Home Basic

Windows Vista Home Basic has been crippled by Microsoft to not support Aero, but will instead use "Windows Vista Basic" or "Windows Vista Standard" appearance. By changing a few registry settings, then it is possible to configure the Desktop Windows Manager (DWM) to enable the Aero Interface like in Home Premium.
  1. Update the following DWORD registry keys to force Aero on Vista Basic:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \DWM]
    Composition = 1
    CompositionPolicy = 2

  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Turn on the Aero Interface as one would normally do:
    1. Right click on the desktop and select "Personalize".
    2. Choose "Window Color and Appearance".
    3. Click the blue link titled "Open classic appearance properties for more color options".
    4. Change the color-scheme from "Windows Vista Basic" to "Windows Aero".
Note in Windows Vista Home Basic the "Window Color and Appearance" window will now include a colour picker along with a slider to change Color intensity. Besides these changes it will be no different than using the "Windows Vista Standard" appearance. The "Enable Transparency" will NOT be there, so there is no Glass effect, and it will not enable Flip 3D.

Note "Windows Aero" and "Windows Vista Standard" is only available when meeting the minimum hardware requirements as specified by the Vista rules:
  • WDDM Display Driver installed
  • DirectX 9 compatible
  • Pixel Shader 2 capable
  • 32 bits per pixel supported
  • Minimum 64 MB graphics memory (128 MB if resolution beyond 1280*960)
  • 512 MB system memory if dedicated graphics memory (1 GB RAM if shared graphics memory)
There is reason why Aero is only activated if having the right hardware, as the desktop experience would be too slow. It is possible to disable this machine check and enable Aero no matter what by creating these DWORD keys:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \DWM]
UseMachineCheck = 0
Blur = 0
Animations = 0

Note if having modified the hardware or updated the drivers, so the computer meets the requirements to run Aero, then one can activate Aero by running an assessment:
  1. Open Control Panel and choose "System And Maintenance"
  2. Click "Performance Information And Tools" and click the link "Update my score" (if no existing score "Score this computer")
Credits Petri.co.il

Updated: 20 September 2009

Comments:

  1. jack says:

    dosn't turn the glass on

  2. snakefoot says:

    jack
    dosn't turn the glass on

    Maybe your hardware is not capable of running Aero. More Info Minimum hardware requirements for running Vista Aero:

    * WDDM Driver installed
    * DirectX 9 compatible
    * Pixel Shader 2 capable
    * 32 bits per pixel supported
    * Minimum 64 MB graphics memory (128 MB if resolution beyond 1280*960)

    What graphics card do you have ? How much RAM do you have ? What CPU do you have ?

    *** Updated tip with minimum hardware requirements

  3. jack says:

    i have a NIVIDIA geforce 6150 le graphics card

    i have 512.00mb of ram

    i have AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 3400+ cpu

  4. snakefoot says:

    jack
    i have a NIVIDIA geforce 6150 le graphics card

    i have 512.00mb of ram

    Display adapters that uses shared memory requires 1 GB RAM to support Premium features like Aero. Graphics adapters with dedicated memory only needs 512 MB RAM. GF 6150 uses shared memory.

    http://www.nvidia.com/page/gpu_mobo.html

    You might configure the registry setting EnableMachineCheck to disable the machine check, but there is a reason why Aero isn't activated on low-end machines.

  5. jack says:

    now i got the glass working but it only works when the windows are maximised what can i do now?

  6. snakefoot says:

    jack
    now i got the glass working but it only works when the windows are maximised what can i do now?

    Did you do anything else than use the EnableMachineCheck registry setting ?

    Have searched around on Google and have found others who have the same experience as you, but no solution so far.

  7. jack says:

    i got it goin by downloading a thing called vistaglazz but as i told you it only works when maximised there must be some way of making it work when not maximised

  8. Je`ni says:

    hello, I've tried this on Windows Vista Ultimate edition, but it doesn't works.

    3. Click "Open classic appearance properties for more color options". -> There is no such button or tab or anything there

  9. Snakefoot says:

    Je`ni
    3. Click "Open classic appearance properties for more color options".

    It should be a blue link in the bottom of the window with the above title.

  10. Snakefoot says:

    jack
    i got it goin by downloading a thing called vistaglazz but as i told you it only works when maximised.

    Found TrueTransparency by CrystalXP.net. It allows one to theme Windows XP/Vista with PNG images, and thus enables the glass transparency effect. It is more or less a freeware version of Windows Blinds.

  11. Mario says:

    I updated the registry, but have found that the Vista Doesn't enable it either. Could you post a copy of the appearence of you DWM folder, or the kind of variables the Composition and CompositionPolicy should be (Binary, alphanum, DWORD, QWORD, etc) ?
    Thank you!

  12. snakefoot says:

    Mario
    The kind of variables the Composition and CompositionPolicy should be ?

    They should be DWORD values. What edition of Vista are you using ?

  13. jack says:

    can you remember me form ages ago?
    well i updated my ram to 1gb and it still does not work:(
    any awnsers?

  14. jimbo says:

    aero cant be activated on um compatiable hardware for a REASON!!
    it would proboly run REALLY slo

  15. jack says:

    i just upgraded to vista premuim, and its dead fast with 1gb ram.

    also do you remeber me snakefoot?

  16. Meg says:

    how do i update my DWORD registry key? where do i go to access it and what part of the code is changed? would you mind guiding me through it?

  17. Soµza says:

    The keys for windows vista entrepris please i need to this :(
    samivip@live.fr

  18. daniel johnson says:

    heyy..plz help.!!
    i have 2 GB ram
    no graphics card, :(
    256 MB ram shared for video memory..
    i want aero..just the non-glassy version without all the features...could i have it..i have windows vista ultimate !!

  19. how to change the interface windows vista home basic english to arabic
    give me good suggestion

    thanks&regards
    abuhorairakhan

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