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Windows 7: Aero Themes


02 Jun 2009   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Aero Themes

A while back, Thurrott mentioned there were rumors of a new UI being put into place before RTM. Is there any credence to this? Or if not, are there any windows 7 themes that actually look good without transparency? All the themes I can find are translucent, which I think looks just horrible when things start to layer.

I can't be the only one who thinks aero looks like crap the way it's currently implemented. OS X pulls off several overlapping windows and elements much slicker, and the dock is beautiful compared to the boxy unproportioned taskbar. It's interesting to look at how OS X iterations started adding transparency to title bars and then quickly pulled back in a more tasteful way, and microsoft went full steam and made seemingly everything they could into blurry glass, while tacking on thick borders and gloss.

Here's an example of what I mean by layering how things muddled and ugly:
http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/3237/68370178.png

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02 Jun 2009   #2

Vista Ult 64 bit Seven Ult RTM x64
 
 

If you go into the personalize section and click on color, there are all kinds of options. Click on show color mixer and you can make it more or less transparent by playing with all the sliders, or turn it off all together. I don't know of any plans to change it. Certainly hope not. I like the flexibility.

Gary
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02 Jun 2009   #3

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by garysgold View Post
If you go into the personalize section and click on color, there are all kinds of options. Click on show color mixer and you can make it more or less transparent by playing with all the sliders, or turn it off all together. I don't know of any plans to change it. Certainly hope not. I like the flexibility.

Gary
The thing is, I haven't managed to find any way to make it decent looking though, all transparent glass has the same inherent problems. You can reduce the thick borders a bit, but not completely. And none of the opaque options look particularly great, because windows end up looking unrefined, and the active vs unactive windwos vs the taskbar don't seem very well balanced. I'm not a huge design freak, but it seems like such a large company as microsoft could produce something a lot better.

See how much better leopard handles window layering, the window borders, the dock, the dot vs windows block border for running apps: http://www.sharewareplaza.com/images...shot/58732.gif
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02 Jun 2009   #4
J23

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jw12345 View Post
See how much better leopard handles window layering, the window borders, the dock, the dot vs windows block border for running apps: http://www.sharewareplaza.com/images...shot/58732.gif
I really disagree with you re the Leopard issue. Windos 7 Aero destroys any gui or design piles apple has every come close to. Not looking to start an OS war thread. Just my 2 cents as a proud PC user for over 20 yrs.
Regards,
J
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02 Jun 2009   #5

Windows 7
 
 

I'm not trying to say windows is an inferior OS in general, just that the overall look for the windows and taskbar isn't done very well. I've used PCs my entire life and still do (though I do have a hackintosh box I experiment with), but at least for my tastes, the theming seems very half-done and without a lot of thought.

Windows just doesn't have that 'wow' factor. It's very functional and a great os overall, but Microsoft could definitely take some design cues and make it sleeker. It seems that all this transparency and glass make it the GUI very busy looking and often blurry, which then becomes a bit of a functional problem. Aesthetics isn't just for shallow people who know nothing about computers, they have a very real affect on how easily identifying information without distraction is.
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03 Jun 2009   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I didnt see anything in that screenshot of OSX to make it "better" than the transparency layering of Windows 7. Im guessing Apple couldnt afford the effects
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03 Jun 2009   #7

Windows 7
 
 

Maybe these things bother me more than other people, but here are a few:
  • window control buttons: macs only show mini icon upon hover to simplify UI
  • windows borders: macs have simply a 1px line and the resize grabber is actually overlying the below content, a very slick effect; windows on the other hand, has this 5-6 pixel borders where you have a line, a glossy glass effect for 4 px and then another line.
  • drop shadows: macs have a more subtle but deeper drop
  • dock/taskbar: when you have windows that go under these, macs do a nice reflection, but the underlying windows doesn't obscure unlike in windows where white text on the taskbar is hard to read once a window gets under there
  • also the dock seems to float and frames the desktop, on windows the taskbar is flat and there's not really much as a desktop feel
  • mac menu bars: I know a lot of pc people hate this, but it really does simplify the general feel to the ui when menus aren't scattered everywhere
and the above are just a few example of the static visual changes, don't get me started on how smooth os x handles dragging things on and off the dock, expanding menus, opening, etc. Logging off a mac is even nicely animated. Invalid login attempts are met with a cute jiggly on the credential window signifying the mistake. There are hundreds of little visual touches that microsoft doesn't bother with.

Sometimes I wonder if most the people who downplay this vast difference have really ever used a mac for weeks on end. There's no denying that OS X is absolutely gorgeous compared to any version of windows. There are more important things to consider when selecting an OS to use, and Windows has the leg up on other things, but visually, Microsoft need some work.

I'm not trying to make this into a flame war, as I use PCs much more often, just pointing out how far behind Microsoft is getting in this area.
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03 Jun 2009   #8

Windows 7 Build 7137 32bit
 
 

You should swithc back to XP or (better) to Apple's platform. You're crying on bad grave mate.
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03 Jun 2009   #9

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Phate View Post
You should swithc back to XP or (better) to Apple's platform. You're crying on bad grave mate.
hah, if only Onenote would join me on the dark side. I'd put up with windows if the theme was stuck on Hotdog Stand for that program.

Until then, though, I really think Microsoft is endangering itself not worrying much about this. When the average joe looks for a computer, he's judging heavily on these sort of intangible slick, smooth way the UI works.
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03 Jun 2009   #10

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

You can change the border size here: Borders - Changing Width to suite your needs
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