How to Make the Windows 7 Taskbar Transparent

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The Window Color and Appearance dialog box.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

To make your taskbar transparent -- and more appealing -- you need to enable the Windows Aero tool. When you enable transparency, the margins of all windows, as well as the Start menu, become transparent. To ensure Aero works on your system, install the latest drivers for your video card and then run the Aero Troubleshooter. After you enable the transparency option, you can change the color and color intensity for the taskbar, windows and Start menu.

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Step 1

The Start menu and search results.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Click the Start button, type "Aero" into the Search box and then select "Find and fix problems with transparency and other visual effects" in the list of results.

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Step 2

The Aero troubleshooter.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Click "Next" when the troubleshooter displays to start searching for problems with Aero. The process may take up to five minutes; don't close the troubleshooter until it finishes scanning for problems.

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Step 3

Troubleshooting couldn't identify the problem.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Select "Close the troubleshooter" when you see the "Troubleshooter couldn't identify the problem" message. If the troubleshooter detects some problems, it automatically tries to fix them.

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Step 4

The context menu with the Personalize option.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Right-click on a blank spot on the desktop and select "Personalize" from the context menu to open the Personalization section of the Control Panel.

Step 5

The Personalization section of the Control Panel.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Select a theme from the Aero Themes section and then click the "Windows Color" link. The Transparency option is not available if you select a Basic, Classic or High Contrast theme.

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Step 6

The Enable Transparency option.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Check the "Enable transparency" box to make the taskbar, windows and Start menu transparent. Make the taskbar more or less transparent by dragging the "Color intensity" bar to the left or to the right. Click "Save Changes" to apply and save the new settings.

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Step 7

The colors and custom color sliders.
Image Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Change the color of your windows, Start menu and taskbar, by selecting a different color. To create a custom color, click "Show color mixer" and then use the "Hue," "Saturation" and "Brightness" bars to customize the color. Click "Save Changes."

Tip

You can change various effects from the Visual Effects section of the Performance Options window. You can also turn the transparency effect on and off from the same window.

To open the Performance Options window, click Start, right-click "Computer" and select "Properties" to display the System section of the Control Panel. Select "Advanced system settings" and then click "Settings" in the Performance section. The Visual Effects tab is selected by default.

If Aero doesn't work, recalculate the Windows Experience Index. Right-click "Computer" in the Start menu, select "Properties" and then select "Performance Information and Tools" at the bottom. Click "Calculate Windows Experience Index" to calculate the score or "Re-run the assessment" to update an outdated score.

Warning

Windows 7 Starter does not offer Aero support, so you don't have access to the transparency feature in this version.

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