How does Sidebar Geek do it? I was just putting the finishing touches on a post about the new theme when I found out that Brandon beat me to it. Well great job picking that up! I had a chance to chat with Don Lindsay on the User Experience Team about the Basic theme, and was glad to find out they had a plan around this from the beginning. Thanks, Don, for taking time to chat, and for your work on the product.
Many community members have expressed concerns over the visual experience of the Windows Basic theme, and, we heard you loud and clear. In fact, we too wanted something better, and we’ve overhauled this theme with an all new version. For those who haven’t been following the discussion, let me brief you on the issue.
Windows Vista uses the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) to deliver some amazing user experience features collectively called Windows Aero™ which include; Desktop Composition, Glass window frames with colored glass, window thumbnails and Flip3D, a new window management facility. All of the Windows Aero™ features are enabled in Windows Home Premium, our Business SKUs, and Ultimate assuming you have the appropriate hardware. On Home Basic, you get Desktop Composition with opaque colored glass windows frames.
If you don’t have a display driver capable of running WDDM you’ll get the Windows Vista Basic theme which does not benefit from some of the more graphically intensive features such as desktop composition and glass window frames. This is a good, clean interface called the Basic or Standard theme, but lacking the glass window frames of Aero™.
Community members have rightfully complained about this theme, and we agreed (actually we always knew we’d fix it in a future build). When will it be replaced? Sorry -- we can't share that yet, so stay tuned. What does it look like? Well, here's a screen shot. Enjoy!