What is Windows Aero and Mouse Gestures?

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Aero is Microsoft's new gimmicky graphical user interface for Windows Visa and Windows 7. Its main feature is the translucent glassy window borders, allowing background objects to be visible through them. Another feature of Aero is mouse gestures. The mouse gestures are Snap, Shake, and Peek.

Aero Snap

Dragging a window's title bar to the top of the screen will cause it to maximize, and dragging it back away from the top of the screen will restore it to original size.

Dragging a window almost all the way off the screen to the left or right will cause it take up half the screen allowing another window to be tiled to the other half of the screen.

Dragging a window's border to the top or bottom of the screen will cause the window to extend to full height but retain the same width.

Aero Shake

Quickly dragging a windows title bar back and forth (shaking) causes all other windows to minimize.

Shaking the window again restores all the windows back to the way they were.

Note: This one may take a little practice.

Aero Peek

This is a feature added to Windows 7.

Move the mouse pointer over the far right end of Taskbar and all opened windows will become transparent. This is what Microsoft refers to as "X-ray vision".

Move the mouse pointer over the taskbar button for an open application and a translucent thumbnail image of the open file will appear just above the taskbar. If the application has several files open, a thumbnail will appear for each file. Move the mouse pointer over one of these thumbnails, and all other open windows on the screen will hide and the one in the thumbnail will appear full size.

If you click on one of the thumbnails its window will appear full size and stay on the screen. You can also close a window represented by a thumbnail by clicking the small red "X" button in the upper-right corner of the thumbnail.

How to Disable Mouse Gestures

Maybe once you become familiar with to them you might find mouse gestures useful. For me they're just another Windows annoyance. Snap and shake cause windows to unexpectedly go popping to where I didn't want them to go. Peek blocks my ability to work on parts of files near the taskbar. Here's how to disable mouse gestures:

Disable Snap

To disable Aero Snap, In Control Panel, open the Ease of Access center. You may need to click on the Ease of Access center title another time to Explore All Settings and click on the "Make the mouse easier to use" link. Then uncheck the checkbox next to "Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen". Click on the [Apply] button to save the setting.

Disable Shake

To disable Aero Shake you could use the Group Policy Editor and navigate to User Configuration | Administrative Templates | Desktop and set "Turn off Aero Shake window minimizing mouse gesture" to "Enabled". Unfortunately the version of Windows that most home users have, Home Premium, does not have the Group Policy Editor.

In Windows 7 Home Premium, You could use the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop and set "WindowsArrangementActive" to 0 to disable Areo Shake. Then reboot the system.

Or if you're leery about directly editing the registry (wisely), you could use Windows Notepad to create a .reg file. Paste the three lines shown below into Notepad:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]

Save the file with a name like disableshake.reg, then double-click on the file name to execute the registry file. When you receive the message asking if you want to make the change, click on the [Yes] button. Then reboot the system.

Disable Peek

To disable Aero Peek, right-click on Taskbar and in the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box that appears, on the Taskbar tab near the bottom of the page, uncheck the checkbox next to "Use Aero Peek to preview the desktop". Click [Apply] and [OK].

Disable Aero Glass

The problem with Aero Glass is that it places a heavy burden on your video card. If you don't have a high-performance video card, it will slow down your system's performance.

To disable Aero Glass, right-click on the Desktop and in the popup menu that appears, select "Personalize" In the Personalization dialog box that appears, scroll down to "Basic and High Contrast Themes" and click on "Windows 7 Basic". If you don't like the default background, You'll need to change it back to what it was.

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