Aero Lite

Aero Lite
Microsoft Windows visual style
Aero Lite in Windows 8.1 build 9600.17031
Included inWindows 8 and later
First seen inWindows 8 build 7814

Aero Lite is a hidden visual style that debuted in Windows 8 and is used within future versions of Windows. It is used for the High Contrast themes with color customization, and acts as a replacement for the legacy Windows Classic visual style.

The theme file is present by default in Windows 8 builds up to build 8423. By Windows 8 build 8432 (fbl loc), the theme file is no longer present by default, although the final release of Windows Server 2012/Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016 builds up to 10575 still use this visual style by default. In both cases, the display name of the theme file is "Windows Basic" while it uses Desktop Window Manager, unlike the actual Windows Basic introduced in Windows Vista.

The msstyles file but not the theme file is present in the %SystemRoot%\Resources\Themes\aero folder from Windows 8 onwards. To enable the theme, create a copy of the aero.theme file called aerolite.theme and redirect it to the aerolite.msstyles file and set its display name to Aero Lite. Alternatively, you can copy the basic.theme file from Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 installation to %SystemRoot%\Resources\Ease of Access Themes folder.

Bugs and quirks[edit | edit source]

  • In the Windows Developer Preview, translucency and blur effects in the Aero Lite visual style can be enabled by running WindowsAnytimeUpgradeResults.exe.
  • In Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Release Preview, when using this visual style, transparency effects can be enabled by means of a bug in the Personalization Control Panel (don't persist if you re-selected the created theme). To do so:
  1. Open the Personalization Control Panel, then click on the "Window Color" link given at the bottom of the window. Keep the window open.
  2. Open a separate personalization window and apply the Windows Basic theme.
  3. Switch to the other personalization window that was opened at the start, uncheck and re-check the "Enable transparency" option and then click on the "Save changes" button. This will cause transparency effects to take effect.
  • In Windows 8 build 8432 and later, apply one of the "High Contrast" themes instead, and just click on the "Save Changes" button. However, this will instead enable a broken "glass" effect that results in the border to draw contents of the menu, icons, or other window above it to itself. Moving or resizing the window will also leave behind the trails of the title bar and cursor. Maximizing the windows will temporarily clear out these artifacts.
  • In Windows 10 and Windows 11:
    • Even if the "Title bars and window borders" option in the personalization settings is disabled, window borders in the Aero Lite visual style remain colored, however, the title of desktop applications with the ribbon UI (File Explorer, Paint, WordPad) remain black even if your accent color results in white title in desktop applications without the ribbon UI.
    • In Windows 10, taskbar flyouts have transparent borders.
    • In more recent versions of Windows 10, File Explorer looks broken in dark app mode. Control Panel looks more broken.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Windows 8[edit | edit source]

Windows 10[edit | edit source]