In the beginning, there was Aero Glass. And it was good. But Microsoft also begat a crummy, ugly user interface for Windows Vista called Vista Basic. And it was bad, really bad. We complained vociferously. And Microsoft listened. How sweet is that?
Over the July 8, 2006 weekend, two Microsoft employees blogged (here and here) about the change in Vista's low-end user interface, which will appear on machines not graced with Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM)-based drivers. These include many older PCs, especially Tablet PCs and any machines using previous generation integrated graphics chipsets. The original version of the Vista Basic user interface was pretty grim, a horrific grayish thing that was far uglier than even Classic mode. Now, all is well with the world.
"Many community members have expressed concerns over the visual experience of the Windows Basic theme, and, we heard you loud and clear," a posting on the Windows Vista Team Blog reads. "In fact, we too wanted something better, and we've overhauled this theme with an all new version .... This is a good, clean interface called the Basic or Standard theme, but lacking the glass window frames of Aero."
Here it is, overlapped on the old Windows Vista Basic UI (mislabeled as Windows Vista Standard) and Aero Glass:
The old Windows Vista Basic UI has been scrapped.
Microsoft reports that the new low-end UI will appear in a future pre-release Vista build, but won't specify when.