Windows Aero has added some nice effects to desktop windows over the years, but to date there is no official way to make a window transparent. Fortunately, there are third-party tools that we can use to achieve this.
Let us examine how transparent windows are created and where the individual tools shine.
We won't lie to you. Glass2k is old software. As soon as you load the page, you'll be attacked with broken flash panels and a huge red banner that says development stopped a long time ago.
The system requirements require that your computer has a 400 MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM and an 8 MB graphics card. In the FAQ you can read the sad news that this project is actually not designed for Windows 95 or 98. Despite its age, it works fine on a Windows 10 computer.
Don't worry if you don't feel like installing old software on your PC. Glass2K does not require installation. Simply download the 55 KB executable and open it to start it. You can set it to run automatically when Windows starts if you find it particularly useful.
When Glass2k loads, you have several options. With "Transparency Popup" you can define a link with which the settings window is displayed. The first button must be a right click, but you can choose which other buttons to press when the window opens.
If you'd rather right-click on everything now, you can use numbers instead to adjust your transparency. With "keyboard shortcuts" you can set a hotkey for immediate activation of transparency. When you have set a hotkey, just hold it down and press a number key from zero to nine.
Depending on the number you pressed, the window becomes transparent to a certain extent. Key 1 makes it the most transparent, while key 9 applies the least transparency. Pressing the 0 key makes the window opaque.
You can also adjust the transparency of the taskbar here. Simply slide the blue bar left and right to adjust how clear the bar becomes. If you like this feature, Glass2k is just one of a few software components that can be used to make the taskbar transparent in Windows 10
How to make the taskbar transparent in Windows 10
Peek Through is another entry that has stood the test of time, albeit younger than Glass2k. It was released in 2010 as version 22.214.171.124 and has not received any updates since. Nevertheless, Peek Through still works very well on Windows 10.
Once started, set a hotkey that will use the Windows key on your keyboard. Peek Through informs you whether your selected hotkey conflicts with another. So browse around until you find something that is free and works for you. Then press the hotkey in a window to make it transparent or opaque. You can switch how transparent a window on the slider in the app becomes.
At first, it feels like a smaller version of Glass2k. However, it has an excellent property in the sleeve. If you activate the option for this, you can click on Window under a transparent window. For example, if you only have one monitor, you can type your report in a window, make it transparent, and then click a link in a browser behind it to know what to write about next.
At the end of our history tour through transparency programs, we have WindowTop. WindowTop still receives updates at the time of writing and was developed taking modern versions of Windows 10 into account. Older versions of Windows and Windows 10 can still download a version with fewer features.
After the start, WindowTop is displayed at the top of your windows and only displayed when you move your mouse over it. WindowTop doesn't just focus on window transparency. It has a few nice tricks up its sleeve, like being able to nail a window up, shrinking windows to an incredibly small size, and reversing its colors.
You can activate window transparency in two ways. You can press the shortcut (ALT + A, which can be changed by clicking the toolbar icon) or hover over the top of a window and click the down arrow that appears and then choose Opacity. WindowTop also features Peek Through's click-through functionality.
For ultimate transparency management, you can't go wrong with Actual Transparent Window. This software offers many options for playing around, so you can set up the perfect workspace for your PC.
When you start the software, you will primarily find the automatic transparency options. You can use these to optimize the way windows work under certain conditions. Do you want windows to start transparently? Do you want all inactive windows to be transparent? How about hovering your mouse over it? You can switch these options on and off and set individual transparency levels for each action.
If you do not want windows to be customized yourself, you can do this manually at any time. In compatible windows there are two buttons at the top with which the transparency can be switched. However, if they are in the way, you can remove them using the "Title Keys" option in Settings. You can also choose to show transparency options when you right-click, or apply them when you double-click the title bar.
The app also offers a "ghost mode". When this option is enabled, you can click on items behind the window as if they were not there, but you can still interact with them using the keyboard. This way, you can click on windows under a transparent word processor while you're still typing your document.
The actual transparent window is a fantastic tool. Unfortunately, this is the only entry on the list that requires payment forever. You can try it out for a week. After that, the full version costs $ 19.95. If you buy it and don't like it, you have 30 days to get a refund. As such, you have a month and a week to decide if it's safe for you.
So that Windows 10 works better for you
If you like the sound of transparent windows, you will be disappointed with what Windows 10 has to offer by default. Fortunately, there are many third-party tools that can help you achieve this goal, even if they're out of date!
If you want to equip your Windows 10 computer with even more practical tools, check out the best PC software for your Windows computer
The best PC software for your Windows computer
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