Does disabling Aero really improve performance in Windows?

Windows Aero, acronym for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, Open, is the graphical user interface, the module of Windows that processes the GUI and the default theme in most editions of Windows 10/8/7/Vista operating systems released by Microsoft.

On many blogs and forums you may get to read a tip on how to improve performance!  If you disable Aero interface, it will improve the performance of your Windows operating system! Does it really improve performance or is it a myth?

Now it is very important to understand one thing! The Aero interface is rendered by the graphics card in your computer. The UI is offloaded on to the graphics card.

But if you switch to the non-Aero viz Classic theme, then the UI is offloaded to and handled by your computer’s main processor! This may in fact put more load your main processor and have the opposite effect; although on today’s modern computer’s, the difference will be imperceptible, really.

Even if you have an integrated graphics, you may not see any real difference in performance.

In study commissioned by Microsoft during Vista days, it was found that:

Windows Vista Aero had little effect on the responsiveness of Windows Vista. Over 95% of the response-time differences between tests ran with or without Aero were under a 10th of a second and that all of the difference was under 1 second.

You should therefore not disable Aero, expecting a boost in Windows performance. Sure, if you wish to prolong battery, go ahead and disable Aero. But if you indeed wish to boost performance, you may want to  consider disabling transparency and special effects instead!

Says Lee Whittington:

If you are looking to prolong battery life, then you may want to disable Aero.

I did the test with:

  • Aero and Transparency On
  • Aero and Transparency Off
  • Aero Off

There was only maybe at the most a 10 minute difference in between each Theme I chose.

I had IE running the same thing during each test along with a couple of other programs in the background. I really didn’t see any change in how it drained the battery for each test.

The only major change I saw was if I switched my Power Scheme to High Performance with a few tweaked settings. I lost 2 and a half hours of battery life!

However Shyam Sasindran has a slightly different view point:

Disabling Aero could improve the performance because the dwm.exe (Desktop Windows Manager) takes up 28-58000k memory usage. When we disable Aero i.e go back to classic mode, you will find a performance difference. Not huge though! Because it releases 58K of your Memory space. And the animation that gets disabled when we disable Aero will impact in loading Menus faster.

Again Aero is a feature for powerful machine and not for a  Computer that just touches minimum requirements. Not all GPU card supports Aero. The software that I support at my Office i.e. Sage ACT!, when Aero is enabled on a slow machine, it take 15 to 20 seconds to open. But when we disable Aero and other animations (i.e. the one that we can find under “System Properties | Advance settings | Advance Tab | Visual effects | Adjust for best performance) it take 5 to 10 seconds to load the program. This is on a slow PC i.e. 1 GB RAM etc.

This is my view about this topic. This is purely based on my experience on PC not theoretically written anywhere.

What do you think!? Your comments? Observations? Experience?

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.