Does it depend on the video chipset? My laptops don't have any fancy graphics chips. The Toshiba R835 (IIRC) has an Intel HD3000.
Verify that your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Aero.
Microsoft's system requirements for Windows Aero include:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit processor
1 GB of system memory
Graphics controller with 128 MB graphics memory, WDDM driver, and supports Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware and 32 bits per pixel color.
Apparently the HD3000 can do that (of course it is a shared memory chipset (64 MB dedicated) so...).
Hmm... I see MS ripped out the GDI hardware acceleration with Vista and later. Figures.
Maybe I don't actually have Aero turned off. I simply did:
Control Panel -> Performance Information and Tools -> Adjust Visual Effects -> Adjust for Best Performance (everything unchecked). (The Performance Information summary shows "Desktop Performance for Windows Aero = 5.9"
Under Personalization, I'm running a slight variation of the Windows Classic theme.
So, I guess Aero is running.
As CRC said, Windows naming conventions for this stuff is confusing... :-/
Thanks for the info!