O'Reilly logo

Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 5. INTERIOR DECORATING VISTA

In designing Windows Vista, Microsoft had three giant goals. First, beef up Windows’s security. Second, modernize its features. Third, give it a makeover. That last part was especially important; it drove Microsoft nuts that little old Apple, with its five-percent market share, was getting all the raves for the good looks and modern lines of its Macintosh operating system.

Without a doubt, Vista looks a heck of a lot better than previous versions of Windows. And it’s every bit as tweakable as previous versions of Windows. You can turn off the new Aero look, or just selected parts of it. You can change the picture on your desktop. You can bump up the text size or the cursor size for better reading by over-40 eyeballs. As Microsoft might say, “Where do you want to redesign today?”

Aero or Not

If you ask Microsoft, the whole Aero thing (the look and the features) is a key benefit of Vista. Indeed, those glassy surfaces and see-through window edges are, in large part, where Vista got its name and its breathless marketing slogan (“Bring clarity to your world”).

But there’s certain to be someone, somewhere, who doesn’t care for the new look. You can not only change Vista’s color scheme, you can also completely turn off the Aero look and features, if you so desire (Figure 5-1).

Most people with fast enough computers use the Aero Glass look. But your computer may look different, especially if you’ve deliberately turned on one of the other styles.Your choices are: Vista Basic (middle), which looks a lot like Aero—the window edges are still rounded, but the window edges aren’t transparent. You lose taskbar thumbnails (Section 3.9.2) and Flip 3D, too (Section 3.8). With Windows Standard (bottom) and the slightly darker Windows Classic, you lose all semblance of 3-D window elements; windows have sharp, square corners, and the Start menu is solidly gray. You’re in a weird cross between Windows Vista and Windows Me.

Figure 5-1. Most people with fast enough computers use the Aero Glass look. But ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required