You’ll see a slick new look to objects and applications in Vista—if you have a version of
the operating system that supports it and hardware that’s modern enough to render it.
The new Aero interface gives translucency to the chrome that surrounds most application
windows. This enables you to see what lies beneath a window, whether the foreground
app is stationary or you’re dragging it to a new location.
Perhaps more important than translucency is the new live thumbnail effect that Aero adds
to the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Hover your mouse over a button that represents
a minimized application, and you’ll see a miniature picture of what’s in the app at that
moment (see Figure 2). This can be helpful in deciding which of several minimized applications
to switch to.
You can see the Aero interface (formerly code-named Aero Glass) if you have Vista Home
Premium, Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate Edition, and your video board supports the
advanced features of Microsoft’s new Windows Driver Display Model.
Many Windows users know about Alt+Tab. You can hold down the Alt key and press Tab
repeatedly to switch to any application that’s currently open.
The Aero user interface adds a powerful enhancement to task switching. Alt+Tab still
works—even better, in fact, because now thumbnails of each application are displayed,
not just titles. But you’ll probably abandon Alt+Tab in favor of Windows+Tab, called
Flip3D, which shows you a revolving set of windows at an angle so you can see exactly
what you’re switching to (see Figure 3).
One of the windows that’s shown in the Flip 3D view is always your Windows Desktop.
That makes it easy to minimize all of your applications. Simply hold down the Windows
key (either the left one or the right one), and then press Tab until the miniature window
that looks like your Desktop is uppermost
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