Windows Vista introduced AERO, a desktop experience that had four major elements; Windows Flip, Windows Filmstrip, AERO Glass transparency and fully realized thumbnail views on the Taskbar. Windows 7 added several new features to AERO, including AERO Snap, AERO Shake and AERO Peek. All AERO elements are meant to give Windows more pizzazz and eye appeal. Microsoft believes that AERO makes Windows more productive. The Flip and Filmstrip features allow a user to quickly sort through multiple windows and Snap, Shake and Peek also speed up window management. AERO Glass may decrease eyestrain according to Microsoft.
I am not sure that AERO makes me a more productive user of Windows 7 but I have noticed that if AERO is turned off I miss it. Windows 7 with AERO is a livelier, breezier experience and that is enough for me. AERO requires 128 MB of dedicated video RAM, Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits of color per pixel. That is not a problem for most computers built today except for the smallest netbooks.
What is a surprise is the fact that Windows 7 can furnish the AERO experience to users connecting via Remote Desktop. This new feature, called Aero Glass remoting, is available if you use the latest version of the Remote Desktop Connection client which come with Windows 7. Remote Desktop Connection 6.1 which supports Remote Desktop Protocol 7.0 includes other enhanced capabilities such as bidirectional audio, and true multiple monitor support. Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate Editions support AERO remoting and Windows Server 2008 R2 can also participate. Of course, the Remote Client must have AERO capable display hardware and its Remote Desktop Connection client must have both Desktop Composition and 32 bit color enabled.
Even if Windows 7 is running as a virtual machine on a Hyper-V server it can still provide AERO Glass remoting to clients that connect if they are AERO capable.
So the question becomes; is it live or is it Remote Desktop? Remote Desktop Protocol 7.0 and Windows 7 give a Remote Desktop experience that is so good that it is hard to tell one from the other.