How to enable transparency on Windows 8

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 17, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

I was never a fan of Aero glass transparency as I prefer my operating system to use solid colors only and nothing else. I do however know a couple of Windows users who like the transparency effects of the operating system, and some were disappointed to find out that Microsoft removed the option to make windows transparent on Windows 8. It is not clear why Microsoft removed the options, but the most likely reason is that it shifted away from Aero in Windows 8 and that it may have felt that transparency did not fit with the overall look and feel of the operating system.

A method has been found recently to enable transparency in Windows 8 again and while it comes close to the Aero Glass Transparency feature of Windows 7, it falls a bit short as it won't enable blur or reflection effects. Other than that, it is a 1:1 copy of the Windows 7 transparency effects.

You need two programs to enable transparency on Windows 8 of which one needs to run in the background while the other is only used to prepare the system for it.

Guide to transparency

The first program that you need is Aero8Tuner, a free program that you can run right after you have downloaded it to your system.

  • Make sure Enable Window Colorization is enabled.
  • Set the Color Balance slider to the rightmost position.
  • Check the Force High Contrast Mode option.

The second program that you need is Blend. This program needs to be run all the time for the transparency effects.

  • Set the Global Blending slider to 254.
  • Check the start at system booting option to run the program at every system start.
  • Disable the system tray icon as it is not really needed.

blend transparency

Closing Words

I suppose users who desperately want to have transparency effects on Windows 8 won't mind that Blend needs to be run at startup to achieve that effect. You can undo the changes easily by removing the start at system booting option in the Blend preference and disabling the force high contrast mode option in Aero8Tuner. (via)


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  1. Taomyn said on January 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Actually Windows 7 didn’t behave that way with Aero at all – yes in the foreground it was use resources just as any application, but like any modern operating system it would be put as a background task and would not interfere with gaming. As it was using GPU memory then it would be forced to relinquish it to whatever you are running in foreground.

    What is often mistaken as Windows using up all your resources such as RAM, is it being efficient and using them as efficiently as possible. For example, keeping as much in memory as possible makes your PC run much faster so you’ll see high RAM usage but that’s because Windows 7 knows it’s free so makes good use of it (Windows Server has been doing this for far longer). When an application really needs more RAM, Windows simply swaps out the less important data to the page file (which is then one of many reasons why SSDs make such a difference).

  2. Taomyn said on January 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Sorry but Windows 8 is not “another operating system” when compared to Windows 7. Yes the GUI has changed considerably and it’s a love/hate thing, but as has already been talked to death you can overcome that very easily. Under the hood Windows 8 is Windows 7+, with many many optimisations and fixes you’d be mad not to want. I now miss Win8 when using an older version of Windows as the new copy/move dialogues are so much more superior, and the fact you can pause/resume is mind-blowing for Windows. Proper support of SSDs is great, no more having to guess if Windows realises you’ve got one by using some obscure and unreliable command line instructions.

    Not using Windows 8 because of the new GUI is like saying you won’t drive the new model of your car because you don’t like they changed the audio system from Pioneer to JVC. Hardly a reason at all.

  3. Yb said on January 17, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Well, as a gamer, the Aero feature used a lot of system resources (i.e., Ram, GPU VRAM, Processor). It is so much better to have it off than deal with Aero being on and sucking up resources that can be used for my Games or Video encoding software, etc.

  4. erasure25 said on January 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Sorry, but “Ob Server,” you are being a hypocrite. How is MS trying to ram their OS down your throat? Are they banging on your door and forcing you to buy it? Microsoft, like Apple, is a company that sells things to make money. When Apple releases new iPhones every 6 months (iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5GS, iPhone 5GSXLOL), would you also say they are trying to ram new phones down your throat?

    No one is forcing you to buy anything. If you don’t want Windows 8, don’t buy it! If you don’t want to spend $600+ on a new iPhone every 6 months, don’t buy it!

    I have had enough of hypocrites that complain without just cause. Windows 8 is an offering that combines mobile and traditional desktop interfaces into one package. Unlike Apple, Windows 8 allows the user to buy mobile apps and use them on their brand of tablets. Windows 8 also allows you to use the desktop just like in Windows 7, with some differences that take about 5 minutes to learn.

  5. Nerdebeu said on January 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I tested this method. It’s better than no transparency, but it does not put in the taskbar, and the color of windows is moderately stable (it should come Aero Tuner)

  6. Ob Server said on January 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I like the Aero effect in Win 7. I wonder why anyone who likes qualities they have in Win 7 should opt to go for a PC with Win 8 anyway? To me, Win 8 is just as well another totally different operating system altogether compared to Win 7. Windows 7 is such a wonderful OS, why does Microsoft have to create Win 8, I am not really sure. Is it really for the benefit of Windows users – or for their own commercial gains?

    I have just bought a new PC. One criteria I stipulated was it has to have Windows 7 pre-installed. After reading reports and reviews, I would never buy a PC with Windows 8, and I mean it. If Microsoft comes up with Windows 9, and it does not listen to users’ complaints about the lackings of Windows 8, my next PC will be an iMac. I have had enough of Microsoft trying to ram their Operating Systems down the throat of the paying customers. I will show my feelings through my wallet!

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