One of the nice things about Vista is that they rewrote the display architecture to be a composition engine. Every window gets some off screen memory to display itself to and then all these windows are composited together onto the desktop. This means that the windows are totally independent from what they are rendered over and that it’s possible to stick effects into the composition pipeline. Vista’s Aero Glass interface is a simple demonstration of the power of this new architecture. The “glass” effect is the ability to tag regions of the window as being “glass” and then these areas are composited with whatever parts of the desktop are underneath the regions and then blurred with a hard coded pixel shader to give the impression of a frosted glass edge to Aero Glass enabled windows. Sadly, the Basic version of Vista can’t run Aero Glass. But if you’re running the Premium, Business, or Ultimate versions and you have some recent (i.e. DX9) hardware , you’re all set. That a look! You can find the article here.