Aero : issue and questions...

Since Vista days, Aero was known to be a crap that slows down any system configured with it. Recently, I saw a lot of statements about it which say the opposite : Aero is supposed to use the GPU, freeing the CPU from the graphix tasks and, by this, increases the overall graphical performances.

So, I wanted to check this by myself. Problem : all my Aero themes and even the ‘Window 7 basic’ one are greyed out (I always used the ‘Windows classic’ theme until now). Here are the Windows performance indexes of my system :

  • Processor : 7.5
  • RAM : 7.5
  • Graphical (desk performance for Aero) : 3.7
  • Graphical (game) : 5.8
  • Main hard drive : 5.9.
    According to Microsoft, graphical performances are enough to make Aero available. Don’t know what’s happening.

Which leads to two questions :

  • what is truth about Aero, concerning the overall performance of a DAW ? Can’t see anything related in the Knowledge base.
  • How should I proceed to make Aero themes available again ?

Thanks for any tips…

Thanks, but this dates a little and was written for Vista.

Any other suggestions ?

Aero in Vista is something you should always turn off if you want to do serious audio work.

Aero in Windows 7 depends on your graphics card driver. If it’s WDDM 1.1, you should try to leave Aero ON. If it’s WDDM 1.0 (ATI calls these drivers ‘legacy’), you should turn Aero OFF and switch to Windows 7 Basic theme.

How to find out if your graphics card and driver support WDDM 1.1 in Windows 7:
Click START, then type DXDIAG and hit Enter. Go to ‘display 1’ and look at driver model.

Read these:

But in the end it’s something you have to try out - shouldn’t be too difficult to see if Aero ON or OFF gives the better performance.

Hi, Timo

Thanks for chiming in. Your second link clearly shows the technical differences between Vista (WDDM 1.0) and Windows 7 (WDDM 1.1). So, I checked with DXDIAG, and here is what I got (excerpt from dxdiag.txt) :

System Information

Time of this report: 7/13/2011, 07:23:55
Machine name: I870
Operating System: Windows 7 Professionnel 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_gdr.110408-1631)
Language: French (Regional Setting: French)
System Manufacturer: System manufacturer
System Model: System Product Name
BIOS: BIOS Date: 08/27/10 13:04:41 Ver: 08.00.15
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 CPU 870 @ 2.93GHz (8 CPUs), ~2.9GHz
Memory: 8192MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 8190MB RAM
Page File: 1032MB used, 7155MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
User DPI Setting: Using System DPI
System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)
DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled
DxDiag Version: 6.01.7601.17514 32bit Unicode

DxDiag Notes

Display Tab 1: No problems found.
Sound Tab 1: No problems found.
Input Tab: No problems found.

DirectX Debug Levels

Direct3D: 0/4 (retail)
DirectDraw: 0/4 (retail)
DirectInput: 0/5 (retail)
DirectMusic: 0/5 (retail)
DirectPlay: 0/9 (retail)
DirectSound: 0/5 (retail)
DirectShow: 0/6 (retail)

Display Devices

Card name: ATI Radeon HD 5400 Series
Manufacturer: ATI Technologies Inc.
Chip type: ATI display adapter (0x68F9)
DAC type: Internal DAC(400MHz)
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_68F9&SUBSYS_E157174B&REV_00
Display Memory: 3559 MB
Dedicated Memory: 500 MB
Shared Memory: 3059 MB
Current Mode: 1920 x 1200 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor Name: Moniteur Plug-and-Play générique
Monitor Model: ASUS VW266H
Monitor Id: ACI26A4
Native Mode: 1920 x 1200§ (59.950Hz)
Output Type: DVI
Driver Name: aticfx64.dll,aticfx64.dll,aticfx64.dll,aticfx32,aticfx32,aticfx32,atiumd64.dll,atidxx64.dll,atidxx64.dll,atiumdag,atidxx32,atidxx32,atiumdva,atiumd6a.cap,atitmm64.dll
Driver File Version: 8.17.0010.1036 (English)
Driver Version: 8.753.0.0
DDI Version: 11
Driver Model: WDDM 1.1
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 7/7/2010 03:53:20, 594432 bytes
WHQL Logo’d: Yes
WHQL Date Stamp:
Device Identifier: {D7B71EE2-2BB9-11CF-F770-5DC1BEC2C535}
Vendor ID: 0x1002
Device ID: 0x68F9
SubSys ID: 0xE157174B_

Guess my card driver is up to the task of using Aero. I also checked with the Windows 7 troubleshooting tool for Aero and it doesn’t report any error either.

So, I am still wondering why all my Aero and Windows Basic themes are deactivated. I’m afraid that I’ll have to look in the registry but, as I read here and there, it seems that several keys are involved, so I would rather avoid it…

Who did configure your PC? Ask him / her. There’s several group policies to force classic mode, and it also depends a bit on the services that are running.

It’s me… :blush:

I purchased all the components mounted (excepting my E-Mu audio device, installed just after) and proceeded to install W7 (OEM version) myself to avoid any installation of useless tools (such as IE 8 ; I use Firefox and so on…). I made all the tweaks usually known for a DAW usage and, es far as I can remember, I immediatly set the Windows Classic theme as I always used it before, even with XP. That was about 9 months ago.

Thought that I’ve been careful, but I probably made a mistake somexhere that is related to this…

OK, thanks to the following thread :, I went to the ATI site and discover this :

Known Issues under the Windows Vista Operating System
The following section provides a summary of open issues that may be experienced under the Windows Vista operating system in the latest version of AMD Catalyst™. These include:

Windows Aero may be disabled after installing the driver.

This up to the Catalyst 11.5 version. In the Catalyst 11.6 (latest) version release notes, the last statement is replaced by :

Windows Aero settings might not be available in some circumstances.

The problem isn’t mentioned in Windows 7 known issues, but still… And there is more ( : seems that Catalyst Control Center could be the culprit. Uninstalling it apparently solves the problem of the deactivated Aero issue. To be honest, I’m a bit afraid of doing so : I don’t know if it is essential or not to the graphic card work. Can’t believe that such an issue is persisting, though… :unamused:

Would like to know if someone is using an Radeon HD 5xxx series card without CCC or successfully deactivated it.

I never install the Catalyst Control Center, only the drivers. One of my cards was a Radeon 5600 HD (IIRC) No problems with Vista or Win7 here using aero with any ATI cards


Thanks, Shaq. :slight_smile:

I’m still wondering if it is worth taking the plunge… Will report back if I do so :confused:

Just for the ones who still have problems with activating aero while cubase is running:
For some reason cubase Artist 6 is using some Quicktime librairies (maybe for the video section?) I installed a video software with an older quicktime version and cubase started to disable Aero. After installing a recent quicktime version everything changed back to good again.