Quick Tip: Disable the Aero interface for just the problem applications

The Windows Aero interface looks great, but it can cause problems with certain applications. With a simple tweak to the compatibility settings, you can have Aero and compatibility too.

I like the Microsoft Windows Aero GUI and use it all the time. I like the way it looks and the way it works, and I don't want to turn it off. However, there are certain applications that have trouble while Aero is running. Fortunately, you don't have to turn Aero off just to satisfy those problem applications. You can make a simple change to their properties that will fix the problem when those applications are running.

The example shown is Windows 7, but Windows Vista should work exactly the same.

Edit Properties

In Windows 7, right-click on the icon of the application in question and navigate to the Properties configuration screen (Figure A). Click the Compatibility tab and look for the check box next to the Disable Desktop Composition entry.

Figure A

Application Properties

Click the check box, and now when your run the application, the Aero interface will be disabled. When you Exit that application, the Aero interface will return.


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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