Has your computer ever re-drawn the screen slowly? Or has a lagging program ever turned black or duplicated itself like this as you try to drag it around?

window leaves visual artifacts behind as it is dragged
Without Aero, a user is stuck with 1980s graphics. In GDI mode, even just dragging a window can cause your CPU to peg and re-draw the screen.

You can alleviate these slow-downs and even prevent GDI driver-mode related crashes by using Windows Aero, available in Windows Home Premium and higher editions.

You can tell if Aero is on by looking at the top of almost any window. If the window controls (known as caption buttons) are touching the edge, you’re using Aero. It’s a subtle indicator, but it’s there:

comparison between Basic and Aero themes in Windows 7
Windows Basic overlays bitmap graphics over all windows elements to skin them with a style (like Windows XP). Aero offloads all display chores to the video card, freeing memory and CPU for you to enjoy a faster more responsive computer.

The Aero design also has translucent effects, like real glass windows. In addition to a faster and more reliable computer, Aero also provides benefits such as live previews in your Taskbar and switcher (Alt+Tab).

To enable Aero, simply right-click your desktop background, choose Personalize, and then click any theme in the Aero section.

So why does it work? I thought the fancy graphics made the computer run slower?

Most modern computers have a separate processor entirely dedicated to graphics processing. Unless you’re playing a graphics intensive video game, this processor is normally sitting unused while your core processor (CPU) does all the work. That means your main CPU is busy trying to calculate everything going on and draw the graphic updates to the screen.

If you move a window across the screen, the system asks the program underneath to show itself. If there’s a lag or the system is busy, you see black space until the program can redraw itself. There’s many opportunities for bottlenecks here, which can be very slow if the program was paged to disk. Without Aero, the entire system falls back to this 1980s technology, developed prior to the advent of dedicated graphics systems.

Did you know this old graphics processing technology is also responsible for the vast majority of all “blue screen” crashes over the entire past decade?

But with Aero, this graphic stuff is stored in your video memory and processed by the graphics processor unit (GPU). Your main CPU is free to do the real computing. You essentially just doubled your computing power.

Why not give Aero a try today?