Microsoft has admitted that the Aero Glass interface, while some thought it was pretty, was a useless waste of processing power and an impediment to usability, and they have removed it from Windows 8. Some of us would have disabled it in Windows 7 long ago and used a Classic or Basic theme except for one feature that was available only when Aero was enabled: Taskbar thumbnail previews. If either of those themes was selected, Aero was disabled, but that also disabled the thumbnails. We could disable transparency and keep the thumbnails, but that left us with Aero and several weird features (such as simulated transparency in title bars when windows are moved) still enabled.
I've always found taskbar thumbnail previews to be a very useful feature, especially when I've got a bunch of browser windows open with several tabs in each window. I mean, I remember what I was looking at, but what I think should be the title of a page and what a web developer actually used in the <TITLE> tag are often unrelated (for developers, it's always been about indexing in the search engines). That makes the window listings that replace the previews in those non-Aero themes sometimes less than useful.
There used to be several utilities for Windows XP that would bring taskbar thumbnail previews to that OS (one was called "Visual Tooltip"). I'm wondering if there is a similar third-party tool that will allow thumbnail previews in Windows 7 when the Basic or Classic themes are enabled and Aero is turned off. Does anyone know of one?