Friday, 4 December 2009

Windows 7: Aero Glass Without WDDM Drivers

OK, this is could be called a cheat, but it achieves the desired effect and works well.

Having only run Windows 7 either in a VMware virtual machine or on my Pentium M laptop, I wasn't really interested in Windows 7 Aero Glass.

All well and good you may think - well I did too...

Then I tried Windows 7 RC on my new MSI motherboard.... Wow - this glass molarky is actually quite nice!

(Yes I know Aero Glass was available with Windows Vista.... But who bothered with Vista?)

So, what can be done to get my laptop to also run Aero Glass?

Well as it turns out it's all to do with Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) video card drivers - or the lack there of.

Bad News
My laptop has a built in ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 video card. Unfortunately - long story short - there are no WDDM drivers for this video card and there probably never will be.  As the card is built onto the laptop motherboard, the upgrade path is pretty much zero. Boo!

Good News
With the installation of couple of small applications we can get very close to Aero Glass without having to effectively ditch the non WDDM compliant laptop in pursuit of Windows 7 glassyness!!

How to
Video Card Drivers
So the first step is to get some better drivers over and above the Windows 7 default VGA driver.

For my ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 I installed these drivers from rapidshare [Update 21/02/10] - these drivers from mediafire.

They look to be the very last Windows Vista drivers available for my video card.

These drivers will also work with any of the following video cards:
RADEON FIRE GL 8800
RADEON MOBILITY
RADEON MOBILITY
RADEON MOBILITY
ATI ES1000
ATI ES1000
ATI ES1000
ATI FireMV 2200 PCI
ATI FireMV 2200 PCI Secondary
ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9000
ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9000 Secondary
ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9200
ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9200
ATI MOBILITY/RADEON 9200 Secondary
ATI MOBILITY/RADEON 9200 Secondary
RADEON 7200 Family
RADEON 7500 Family
RADEON 8500 / Radeon 8500 LE Family
RADEON 8500 / Radeon 8500 LE Family
RADEON 8500 / Radeon 8500 LE Family
RADEON 8500 DV Family
RADEON 8500 Family
RADEON 8800 Family
RADEON 9000 Family
RADEON 9000 LE Family
RADEON 9000 LE SEC Family
RADEON 9000 SEC Family
RADEON 9000U Family
RADEON 9000U SEC Family
RADEON 9100 Family
RADEON 9100 SEC Family
RADEON 9200 LE Family
RADEON 9200 LE SEC Family
RADEON 9200 SE Family
RADEON 9200 SE SEC Family
RADEON 9250
RADEON 9250 Secondary
RADEON IGP 320
RADEON IGP 320M
RADEON IGP 340
RADEON IGP 340M

Transparent Window Borders
The application to do this is TrueTransparency which can be downloaded from here.  There is no installation, just extract the zip file and run TrueTransparency.exe

The application will put an icon in the notification tray (by the clock) from where you can choose your transparent skin and ensure that the application runs at Windows start up:

Transparent Taskbar
Download Transbar from here, Install and run.

Not much to say here, other than tweak the slider to set your taskbar transparency and click OK.


Job done! and the best bit is that these two little applications should run on any non WDDM compliant hardware; not just ATI video cards!

Click here to see the full size version in all it's glassyness....

MMMMM Glasssy!

- Chris

Newer Post Older Post Home