How to Enable Aero Glass on Windows Server 2008 and R2

Sunday, February 15, 2009
Some of us geeks like to use Windows Server 2008 or R2 as our desktop operating system. It's rock solid and offers more features and better perfomance than Windows Vista.

If you're missing the Vista Aero Glass interface on your Windows Server 2008, here's how to enable all that eye candy goodness.

First, you need to install the Desktop Experience feature using Server Manager, or with the following command line:

ServerManagerCmd -i Desktop-Experience

This will install the Windows Aero and other desktop themes, along with a lot of other programs that go into Vista by default (Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Gallery, etc.).

Next, you need to set the Themes service to Automatic and start it.

If you're running Windows Server 2008 (not Windows Server 2008 R2):
  • Click Control Panel > Personalization
  • Click Windows Color and Appearance and select the Windows Aero color scheme
  • (To turn Aero off, click Theme and select the Windows Classic theme)
For Windows Server 2008 R2:
  • Click Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization
  • Click Personalization and select the Aero Theme