How to Enable Hidden “Aero Lite” Theme in Windows 8 and Later?

"Aero Lite" theme was introduced in Windows 8 testing builds to replace "Windows Basic" theme present in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Aero Lite theme doesn't provide Aero glass and other eye candy effects such as reflection, blur, etc. Its a clean and simple theme created for low-end computers which don't have compatible hardware to support the main Aero theme of Windows 8.


If a computer doesn't have compatible hardware, Aero Lite theme is applied by default in Windows 8. Aero Lite theme was available in Desktop Properties in testing builds but surprisingly Microsoft removed it from Windows 8 RTM i.e. final version.

In Windows 8 RTM, if your computer contains compatible hardware and graphics card, the main Aero theme is applied automatically and Aero Lite theme is not available in Desktop Personalization window. So basically you can't apply and use Aero Lite theme in Windows 8 RTM if your computer system fulfills system requirements of Windows 8.

Now what to do if someone wants to apply Aero Lite theme in Windows 8? How to bring back the Aero Lite theme in Windows 8 and later? There may be many reasons to use Aero Lite theme such as:

  • Windows 8 Taskbar features transparency and there is no option given to disable it. So people can use Aero Lite theme to remove transparency in Taskbar.
  • I know many people who use Windows Vista or Windows 7 and always use Windows Basic theme instead of Aero glass theme to save battery time.
  • Its always better to have more choices.

Actually Aero Lite theme is still there in Windows 8 and later but Microsoft removed its .theme file, that's why its not visible in Desktop Personalization window.

Each theme which is shown in Desktop Personalization window, contains a .theme file which is responsible to show its name in Desktop Personalization. If you remove .theme file of a theme, it'll not show in Desktop Personalization window. The .theme file points to the main .msstyles file which contains all the required resources to change UI elements when you apply a theme. Check out following link to read more about themes and msstyles:

[Guide] What is the Difference between Theme, Themepack, Skin, Visual Style and msstyles?

Aero Lite theme's .msstyles file is still present in Windows 8 and later so we just need to create a .theme file for it pointing to Aerolite.msstyles file and we'll be able to apply it from Desktop Personalization window.

So if you also want to enable Aero Lite theme in Windows 8 and later, check out following simple steps:


1. Press Win+R keys together to launch RUN dialog box. Now type resources and press Enter. It'll open "Resources" folder in Windows Explorer.

Alternatively, you can open it using Windows Explorer. Just browse through C:\Windows\Resources folder.

2. Once you open "Resources" folder, double-click on "Themes" folder present in it. "Themes" folder contains all .theme files such as aero.theme, theme1.theme and theme2.theme.


Just check out "aero" folder present in Themes folder and you'll see aerolite.msstyles file which proves that Aero Lite theme is still there.

3. Now we need to create a .theme file for Aero Lite theme. Copy aero.theme file present in Themes folder and paste it on Desktop.

4. Rename the new file to aerolite.theme and open it in Notepad. You can right-click on the file and select "Open with" option and then select Notepad from the list.

Or you can open Notepad and then drag-n-drop the .theme file in Notepad window.

5. When you open aerolite.theme file in Notepad, you just need to change 2 things in the file:

5.a. First change the "DisplayName" value given in 5th line. This parameter contains the theme name which is shown in Desktop Personalization window as mentioned here. Replace the string given after the equal (=) sign to any desired name such as Aero Lite as shown in following image:


5.b. Now we'll need to point this new .theme file to aerolite.msstyles file. Currently its pointing to aero.msstyles file. Scroll down and go to "[VisualStyles]" section. Now replace aero.msstyles with aerolite.msstyles in line 51 as shown in following image:


6. That's it. Save the file and move it to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder which contains other .theme files.

7. Now open Desktop Personalization window and you'll get the hidden Aero Lite theme back as shown in following screenshot:


Click on "Aero Lite" theme icon and get ready to enjoy the theme which was hidden by Microsoft.

NOTE: You can move the new Aerolite.theme file to "C:\Windows\Resources\Ease of Access Themes" folder and it'll show in "High Contrast Themes" section of Desktop Personalization window.


For your convenience, we are also sharing a ready-made Aerolite.theme file. You just need to download following ZIP file, extract it and copy the Aerolite.theme file to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder:

Download Ready-made Aerolite.theme file

Also check out following topics to read more about hidden and interesting stuff present in Windows 8:

PS: If you face any problem in enabling Aero Lite theme, check out following video showing the whole method live in action:


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  • Hi! Aside from the taskbar not being semi-transparent, what are the visible differences of this aero lite theme from the default theme?

  • That is so cool, Thanks VG you are a REAL hacker!

  • VG

    Thanks guys. ;)

    There are many differences. Titlebar buttons, selection boxes and many more. Try the theme and you'll notice them. ;)

  • just give a download link with the file in a zip please

  • Now I know why MS uses squares. No anti-aliasing needed....

  • VG

    Thanks guys. I'm glad you found it useful. :)

  • Best way to disable useless taskbar transparecny

  • Already noticed that, but never bothered about it, when digging into msstyle to search for Aero Panels, which are removed!

    Anyway great tip!

  • i can't open that with notepad :( :( :( after opening with notepad it shows weird fonts which no one can understand. how to fix it? would u please post directly the tweaked file so that i can directly put that in the theme folder?

  • VG

    ^^ Are you sure you opened .theme file? I think you are opening .msstyles file in Notepad.

  • Vishal, first this is a good tips. :)
    But only just yesterday I got this black title bar and button all over my applications, and that's weird because before yesterday the Aero Lite was fine. Same thing goes on with deleting Aero Lite theme and re-creating it. Then I switched to normal Aero theme and it was fine. How is this happened?

  • VG

    ^^ Did you install any patch? Like uxtheme patch, etc?

  • thanks a lot vishal :) it was entirely my mistake. yes, i was trying to open .msstyles file in notepad. and finally i got through getting the aerolite theme! :) it works fine and looks very good. thank u once again.

    u r aweosme!

  • I don't know if it's a common error or if I am the only one to experience it. After (re)installing Windows 7 I get the following message: "Desktop Window Manager has stopped working". And the computer isn't able to offer me any solution. This causes transparency to stop showing. For all the themes I may want to set up, the taskbar turns to grey. What is it to be done? Could it be an error of my version of Windows set up? Or I could do something to fix it?
    Thanks in advance for your answer.

  • Hi I see the .msstyles, how do i get to the .theme file? Do I need to do something to the .msstyles file? Thanks!

  • Oh I found it nevermind! But it didn't end up working for me... do you think it could be that I used Chrome? I don't like internet explorer so I don't have it on here...

  • Briillliant !!! Vishal Gupta U4 Champion :-)

  • Worked when I did it following the video step for step. Thanks for posting the vid! Glad to get rid of the transparency

  • I m using windows 8 preview and I m unable to change the theme and wallapaper u ve any solution for it

  • It Was just Exciting... I tried the high contrast themes by Aero Lite and it was sooooo Nice...
    thank you so much

  • Actually, Easter eggs in Windows are a real fun to find. Small things can make things more fresh and let one make their PC feel more personalized. On the other hand, the most recent “Desktop (aka pain in the )“ was rather strange.

  • Hey, thank you, I'm a perfectionist who enjoys minimalism and optimal performance, and the transparency of the taskbar was annoying me.
    Is there a method to change the color of the font (and the font itself) in the taskbar?
    Thank you again

  • VG

    ^^ You can give a try to following:

  • I upgraded from Win 7 pro and the settings don't work for me.

    I really hate having the colored accents. I want the old Win aveo theme back. You can't even have multiple backgrounds! I hate that.

  • I tried doing this,but how can I exit DOS mode?

  • great trick! BTW Microsoft is really stupid hiding this option and pushing idiotic white tiles...


    you are a life saver. I have read so many blogs on so many suggestions, NONE of which really resolved the question: how do you make the task bar opaque?

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