Windows 2008 server has a feature called ‘desktop experience’ which, as with most things on 2008 is not installed by default. Actually you will find that Windows 2008 can’t look exactly like Windows 7, but it can look like Vista with the AERO glass effect.
There are three steps to activating the Vista look. Installing Desktop Experience (requires a server restart), Activating the Theme service and last selecting the Vista theme for your desktop.
Before you start: If you are trying to enable Vista AERO theme using Remote Desktop Administration for Windows 2008 the process will fail. It works just fine using the full Terminal Server, but doesn’t work for RDA.
1. Installing Desktop Experience
Go to Start > Server Manager.
Right click on ‘Features’ and then click on ‘Add Feature’
Now select the box that says ‘Desktop Experience’
Installation will take a minute or two. When it’s finished you will need to restart your server.
2. Activating the Theme service
Go to Start > Admin Tools > Services.
Now scroll down until you see Themes. Right click and select ‘Properties’
On the General tab, you will see ‘Startup Type:‘ set this to ‘Automatic‘
Click the Apply button, now click the start button, then clock on OK.
3. Last but not least you will need to select your theme.
Right click on your desktop, select ‘Personalize’ then select ‘Themes’.
From the Theme dropdown menu you should see Windows Vista as an option. If you don’t you’re probably running your Server through Remote Desktop Connection – which unfortunately just doesn’t work the Vista theme!