Windows Vista Home Basic edition does not come with Windows Aero interface which provides glass transparency effects Aero experience in Windows Vista (features comparison), as Microsoft intended for Vista Home Basic edition to be used in home for basic computing needs only. Thus a lot of functionalities and features have been stripped off Vista HB compared with premium version of Vista, including Aero desktop experience. This is done in part also because of higher hardware system configuration that needs to run Aero Glass.

Windows Aero needs a graphics card that supports DirectX 9 acceleration, has WDDM-compatible driver and minimum 128 MB of graphics memory plus Pixel Shader 2.0 with 32 bits per pixel support. This requirement is too demanding for users who likely to purchase Vista HB edition, where the machine tends to be cheaper and of lower specification such as with just built-in on-board Super VGA graphics card.

However, if you accidentally buy Vista Home Basic, or your computer purchased from OEM brand comes with Vista Home Basic only, but the computer has the necessary CPU processing power, memory and graphics card to support Windows Aero, here is a simple registry hack that allows Windows Aero user experience to be turned on or enabled in Windows Vista Home Basic edition.

To enable Windows Aero desktop theme:

  1. Click on Vista Start button, then enter “regedit” into Instant Search box. Click on the registry editor found in the search results list.
  2. Navigate to the following registry key and select (highlight) the key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

  3. In the right pane, you should see there are 2 value names, namely Composition and Composition Policy. Modify and edit the value date of Composition to 1 and Composition Policy to 2.
  4. Restart the Desktop Windows Manager Session Manager by issuing the following command in a command prompt window with administrative privileges:

    net stop uxsms

    and then,

    net start uxsms

    Alternatively, you can also use Services applet in Control Panel to restart the DWM service.

  5. Reboot Windows Vista Home Basic system.

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