Windows Server 2008 – Enable Aero


KB ID 0000321 Dtd 01/12/12


You might ask why? But I needed to do this the other day for some screen shots, and if I had to work out how to do it then someone else will want to use Aero on Windows Server 2008. Besides I've seem people running this OS on their Laptops etc, so if it were me, I'd rather look at Aero than the standard windows "Theme".


Minimum Requirements for Aero

CPU = 1 GHz or Higher
RAM = 1 GB or better
Graphics Card = 128MB or better
Graphics Card = DirectX 9 & Pixel shader 2.0 with 32 bits per pixel

Rule of thumb

Single monitor up to 1280x1024 = 64MB Graphics Memory
Single monitor up to 1600x1200 = 128MB Graphics Memory

Enabling Aero Theme Fore Remote Desktop Services (RDP) Users

(Updated 01/12/12). I had a user that needed his Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) users, to get an Aero themed desktop, so his RemoteApp applications would run with the correct icons. In this case the easiest solution is to setup a LOCAL policy on the Remote Desktop Services server to force this.

1. On the server, Windows Key+R > gpedit.msc {enter} > When the policy editor opens > Navigate to;

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Personalization > Force a Specific Visual Style file or force Windows Classic

Enable the policy > Set the 'Path to Visual Style' to;


Copy that path to the clipboard > Apply > OK.

Force Aero With Group Policy

2. The next policy is directly above and is called 'Load a specific theme' > Enable the policy > Paste in the same path as above.

GPO to lock down Aero theme

3. Close the policy editor > Then either reboot, or from command line run;

gpupdate /force

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

Enable Aero for RDP "One or more of the themes has been disabled by Remote Desktop Connection settings"

Original Article Written 09/09/10

Thanks to Michael Dixon at Springvale EPS for his assistance.

Author: Migrated

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