Windows 7 Aero Themes Greyed Out?

Written by: Oliver Krautscheid - Published: Sunday, March 30th, 2014 - Comments

Are your Windows 7 Aero themes greyed out and you cant enable them? If you can’t run or activate any Aero themes you can follow some short instructions to enable Aero themes again or if your graphic card driver does not support WDDM, you can download our registry hack.

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Windows 7 Aero Themes Greyed Out

Before trying any of these “hacks” make sure you have an appropriate graphic card installed. If you don’t you may have to “force enable” it. We explain how this works below

Can you run Windows 7 Aero Themes?

Answer a few questions and we will quickly find out why the Aero Themes are greyed out in Vista or Windows 7:

  • Do you have a DirectX8 graphic card or lower?
  • Does your graphic card have less than 128MB RAM?
  • Does your PC have less than 1GB RAM?
  • Do you have a CPU with less than 1Ghz?
  • Do you use Windows 7 Home Basic?
  • Do you have a Intel 910 and 915 Express chipset?

If you answered one of the questions with yes, your PC does not fully support Windows 7 Aero Themes!

Requirements for Windows 7 Aero Themes:

  • The minimum system requirements are:
  • DirectX9 graphics card
  • PC with 1Ghz and 1GB RAM
  • Windows 7 Home Premium or better
  • WDDM driver

…get the latest graphic card drivers for your graphic card

Themes greyed out? Start troubleshooting!

So, most of the time when the Aero themes are greyed out, your hardware does not support WDDM.

But there can be other reasons. E.g. if the service Desktop Window Manager Session Manager is not running.

1. Step Open the control panel.
2. Step Click on “find and fix your problems” below “System and Security”:

Windows 7 Find and Fix Problems

3. Step Click on “Display Aero Desktop Effects”:

Display Aero Desktop Effects

4. Step Follow the wizard.

Themes still greyed out? Force Enable Aero!

Some drivers simply don’t support WDDM(Windows Display Driver Model ), so you have to force enable Aero via a registry key.

Manual Registry Modification

Insert this into a notepad and save it as a .reg file and execute it:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM]
"UseMachineCheck"=dword:00000000
"Blur"=dword:00000000
"Animations"=dword:00000000

Download Registry Tweak – Force Enable Aero

Download this registry tweak and double-click on it to add the keys to your registry:

Method 3:

Download Windows 7 Aero Themes

Worked? If you can enable Aero themes again, you might want to download some of our Aero themes for Windows 7:


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Written by: Oliver Krautscheid
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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8 Responses to Windows 7 Aero Themes Greyed Out?

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    George said:

    which of this method can enable aero at intel 915?

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    All 3 methods work to enable it on Intel915. It’s a registry hack to force enable Aero. You will find more information here:
    http://windows7themes.net/how-to-enable-windows-7-aero-theme.html#enableaerothemes

    I hope you can make it work!

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    George said:

    no registy hack dont work for intel 915 i try after aero troubleshoot too but nothing

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    George I just checked and your chipset does not support Aero at all.
    The registry hack will only work if you have hardware that actually supports WDDM.

    The cheapest solution would be to get WindowBlinds instead of buying a new chipset.

    Read this:
    http://windows7themes.net/object-desktop-2010-review.html
    http://windows7themes.net/windowblinds-for-windows-7.html

  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    George said:

    ok thanks for the help

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    just for clarification, I found this on Intel.com where many people complain about Intel 910/915:

    The issue is that Microsoft has written that forced check into Vista that won’t LET you run Aero Glass unless you meet the requirements they’ve written into the software. That means a certified WDDM driver. Which Intel can’t write for 915, because 915 doesn’t meet the WDDM spec.

    Source: http://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2007/05/07/update-on-the-915-graphics-wddm-vista-driver-issue/

    So basically, to run Aero themes on a Intel 915 chipset you would have to hack Windows 7, disable the WDDM driver check. Would be a waste of time.

    More from Intel:

    The graphics architecture and design of the Intel 910 and 915 Express chipset families (with the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 900 or Intel® GMA 900 graphics engine) was finalized prior to Microsoft releasing the WDDM specifications.

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Tilak said:

    Can this trick will work on my Intel 845G 64MB Graphic Card

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Tilak, I might be wrong but I believe all Intel chipsets other than Intel 915 should support Aero. Just give it a try and let us know your results.

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