Aero is a default theme in Windows Vista and Windows 7 Home Premium or better but is not enabled by default. Aero adds some nifty features like Peek (showing thumbnail previews when hovering on the open programs), Shake (shaking the window minimizes all other windows), Snap (dragging the window to the edges snaps it, useful for side by side windows organization). Aero however consumes additional CPU and GPU power but in some cases it can introduce some efficiency like repainting only the areas that are affected by window movement.

Enabling Aero requires two services to be started before they can be used: the Desktop Windows Management (uxsms), and the Themes (themes) services. Enabling them from the Control Panel->Services MMC console is fairly easy but this tip jar is about enabling them from the command line to reduce the wait and teach the basics of interacting with the Windows services using command line options.

The command are split into two categories: making sure the services are enabled, and starting them up.

sc config uxsms start= auto
net start uxsms

sc config themes start= auto
net start themes

These are administrative activities so they need to be done from within a command window that has administrative privileges. Refer to previous TipJar entries on how to do this. The “auto” parameter of the sc commands can be changed to “demand” if the services are to be start manually so as not to consume resources ?at every Windows startup. The sc invocations are only required to be done once.