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sfriedberg

Remove Aero requirement on Windows

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As a long-time user of Ventura Publisher (until Corel killed it) and no fan of the software-as-subscription licensing model, I was pleased to see the release of Affinity Publisher.

I'm using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on my primary graphics workstation.  (It's not broken, it has a lot of $$$ software installed, so I don't plan to "fix" it.)  The requirement for enabling Aero is absolutely unique to Publisher.  I have literally dozens of paint programs, vector drawing programs, document layout programs, video editing programs, color correction programs, 3D CAD programs, and none of them require me to use Aero.  Until I played with the Publisher trial, I don't believe I have had an Aero theme active on this workstation since the initial OS installation well over a decade ago.

I find even the most stripped down Aero theme garish and repulsive on a machine whose background is intended to be as unobtrusive and neutral as possible to avoid distracting from the content being worked on.

If at all possible, please find a way to eliminate the need to turn on an Aero theme for Publisher release 2.

To be perfectly clear:  My workstation is entirely capable of running Aero.  If anything, the graphics accelerator and its drivers are massively overqualified for the task.  I don't want to run Aero, because Microsoft made it impossible to create an unobtrusive Aero theme.  So, when I need to launch Affinity Publisher, I switch to the least-obnoxious Aero settings, and when I am done using Publisher, I immediately switch back to what I've been using for over 10 years.

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@sfriedberg

Welcome to the Affinity forums.

I very much doubt that this removal of Aero requirement will happen, though it's actually the Desktop Window Manager that's needed.

If you read the whole of this thread you will see why it's needed, read about a possible workaround and also see why a move away from Windows 7 is likely to become an absolute necessity for any professional user in the not too distant future!

Jeff


Win 10 Pro, i7 6700K, 32Gb RAM, AMD Radeon R7 360 and Intel HD530 Graphics

 

Long-time user of Serif products, chiefly PagePlus and PhotoPlus, but also WebPlus, CraftArtistProfessional and DrawPlus.  Delighted to be using Affinity Designer, Photo, and now Publisher.

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I have no objection to activating the Desktop Window Manager service.  It's the Aero requirement that I object to.  I tried manually starting the DWM service, without switching to an Aero theme, but Affinity Publisher was not satisfied with that situation.

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Just for clarification; did you try using the command line flag that @Mark Ingram shows in his post in the linked thread?


Win 10 Pro, i7 6700K, 32Gb RAM, AMD Radeon R7 360 and Intel HD530 Graphics

 

Long-time user of Serif products, chiefly PagePlus and PhotoPlus, but also WebPlus, CraftArtistProfessional and DrawPlus.  Delighted to be using Affinity Designer, Photo, and now Publisher.

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On 11/10/2019 at 11:42 PM, sfriedberg said:

If at all possible, please find a way to eliminate the need to turn on an Aero theme for Publisher release 2.

Personally I would not bet on that...probably by the time v2 of Affinity apps ship, Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft (14.1.2020) and I would doubt that a software developer would continue to support an OS that is unsupported by its developer.

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19 minutes ago, Thomas_A said:

Personally I would not bet on that...probably by the time v2 of Affinity apps ship, Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft (14.1.2020) and I would doubt that a software developer would continue to support an OS that is unsupported by its developer.

Windows 7 is out of support in January (2020). We've committed to continuing support of the existing v1 apps on Windows 7, but from v2, we won't be supporting Windows 7 (not that we have any plans for a v2 yet).

@sfriedberg, we have no requirement for Aero (which is just a theme), but we do have a requirement of the DWM. You can use the unsupported --no-dwm-warning flag to suppress the warning, but you may experience rendering problems and performance degradation. In this case, we will be unable to offer any support while that flag is enabled. Other users have successfully enabled DWM without using Aero. I believe @SrPx has made posts about this.

Lastly, from Windows 8, the DWM is always enabled, you cannot disable it. It enables a completely new GPU driver model (which is why you may get rendering issues when disabling DWM on Windows 7, as it will fall back to legacy GPU drivers).

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Yep, it has no point, the whole thing, as support ends in a pair of months or so. And by support we mean here security patches. Yep, we all have our own third party in antivirus, firewall, etc. But an OS not receiving security patches should be an end of the road for anyone, imo. And the option for a professional to work with the main machine not connected to internet... Well, I yet to know in person a pro that can really do that without wrecking greatly today's workflows. 

If there would be some huge money issue or network problem to do so, yep, one can in theory keep using Windows 7 for ever. But that'd be the only cases (extreme situations, very poor regions, etc) where I'd see it making sense.

And is not a small thing the fact that too many drivers and professional apps (too many useful apps with Win 10 as minimum req. already) are requiring Windows 10. Even newer machines (ie, AMD stuff) do require Windows 10 as an OS, only allowing windows 10 drivers. Hardware vendors of many devices are stopping providing Windows 7 drivers. And as mentioned, Windows 8 (and then of course, Win 10) indeed don't even have an option to deactivate it. This is not an alien thing in computers' world. Apple does similar things, just in a different way. And yet so, PC / Windows machines can last extreme periods of time without getting cut by obsolescence tricks. I have been almost 11 years with the same OS, since 2009. 

Yet so, for now (for 2 months), I yet use Windows 7, use it for my professional graphics work, and have done always so, I configured it to my liking, and Aero is not an issue (it doesn't feel like Aero as I configure it) since a while. No performance loss of any kind, also : I have used machines with Win 10, and no issues, either. Indeed, I made thorough tests (clean installs, same machines, same apps, etc. Scientific.), and Windows 10 (and 8.x) seem to have a much better handling of memory (RAM, disk) than Windows 7. I found it significantly faster in many ways, while some Windows 7 users think -very wrongly, but I had done so, too- that is the opposite case. The tests were for me conclusive and shocking. So much that I triple-checked everything.

Not necessarily assuming you haven't done so already, basically what I do (did) as another Windows 7 user is the following :

Select and activate the standard Windows Aero theme (right click on desktop, "customize", pick "Windows 7" theme). Once done that, in the desktop, right click over the "computer" icon and then "properties" or Go to Control Panel / System /  System Advanced Settings / Advanced Options tab. In the "Performance" area of that tab, hit the "settings" button. You then appear in a popup window and a tab which says sth like "Visual Effects". There you don't select "Let Windows set the best config..." or etc, but "Custom". And need to deselect all options except

 

-  Enable Desktop Composition.

- Show thumbnails instead of icons.

- Smooth edges of screen fonts.

-  Use visual styles on windows and buttons.

 

Do NOT save the theme (as far as I remember, it'd activate the unwanted features by its own will if doing so). Let the whole "themes" stuff alone.

That's it.


You can of course configure to your liking (to help even more reducing the Aero feel; it's what I do) the colors and other details. Just remember that touching several of those options in customization of appearance, Windows does activate back some of the unwanted stuff (like the glass effect, animations, etc) . The trick is doing those appearance (the customization of appearance -> through right click on the desktop or through control panel)  changes, let Windows activate the unwanted features, but do as I explained above AGAIN to stay ONLY with the 4 ones (or more if you are very sure you want them) you need. Although now with the color scheme and etc that you prefer.  There are other matters that can as well be disabled through other parts of the system, and folder properties. To me, they are irrelevant. Well, as the whole system (it's win 10's time) is already.

A link to one of the threads that Mark refers to  (but I provided in this post (above) the full trick as I used Spanish items names and captures in the link below, also, that thread is, besides super old,  less 'to the point'. ). The only thing of value (or not overridden by the stuff above) in this one below is probably the explanations to change appearance matters. :

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/28514-small-tip-for-people-disliking-aero-windows-7/

 


Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo licenses, Windows 7, i7  860 (2009) 2.8 GHz,  8 GB RAM, GTX 1050 2 GB, HD 7200 RPM.  Wacom Intuos 4 XL.

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