Windows Client Experience in Server OS

To enable the windows vista/windows 7 experience (theme) in server three things should be considered:

1. Installing Terminal server Role
2. Installing Desktop Experience
3. Modifying Group policy to take effect the theme for the users

Installing Terminal server Role:

RDC (Remote Desktop Connection) no longer supports desktop ecpereince service for the server. So it is mandatoy that TS role must be installed


Open server Manager -> Add role -> Terminal services -> add TS role (only)

Installing Desktop Experience

The desktop experience comes as service in the server .


Open server Manager -> Add services -> Desktop experience

Restart the server once this is been done.
Now login to server -> Click on Desktop -> Personalize -> Click on themes -> In the drop down list of available themes in system choose Windows Vista -> Clik apply and Ok.

FYI, default theme location in windows server -> C:\Windows\Resources\Themes

Here comes the tricky part:

After the changes are done, log off and login and now you would see the old server desktop. To make user the modified client desktop is set as default, some settings need to applied in Local Group policy of the server

Modifying Group policy:

1. In the left pane, click on to expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Control Panel, and Personalization or (Display) -> Desktop themes

The policywhich is to be altered is

2. Load a specific theme (or) visual effects -> Enable it -> and give the path of your theme C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\aero\aero.msstyles

3. Close the window

Update the group policy using the command in command prompt -> gpupdate /force

Once it done , check by logging in.