Windows Server 2008 "Aero Enabled" Workstation Edition

Last week Dell shipped me a new Vostro 1700 notebook which I promptly upgraded from Windows Vista Business edition to Windows Server 2008. In this blog post I'll show you how to setup Windows Server 2008 in a Workstation configuration.

Windows Server 2008 installed without an issue although I could not find out how to install Windows Media Player 11 and attempting to download the player referred me to a download for Windows XP 64-bit instead. To install Windows Media Player 11 within Windows Server 2008 you simply have to go to the Server Manager and install the Desktop Experience. Included with the Desktop Experiance feature is the Windows Media Player 11, desktop themes, and photo management tools from Windows Vista.

Desktop Experiance

The following screen shot shows the Desktop Experiance option within the Add Features Wizard. By default however some of these features are not enabled and you must manually enable them. Windows Vista included the new Aero Theme which I must admit I really like and so I began looking at how I could enable this theme within Windows Server 2008. To enable Aero you must first enable the Themes Service within the Windows Services control panel applet, changing its startup setting from Disabled to Automatic.



Once the Windows Themes service is running you can right click on the desktop and select Personalize, and then choose the Theme link.


Theme Settings

You'll notice however that the graphics are set at this point Windows Vista Basic without the Aero Glass support that is enabled by default within Windows Vista on appropriate graphics hardware. If you have an appropriate graphics card within the machine you can enable Aero Glass within Windows Server 2008 by again right clicking on the desktop and select Personalize, and then choose the Windows Color and Appearance link and then change the Color scheme to Windows Aero.

Appearance Settings

When selecting the Windows Color and Appearance link again you'll see the updated version of this form from Windows Vista.

Aero Appearance Settings

With all of these changes in place you'll now have the visual effects from Windows Vista enabled within Windows Server 2008 as the following screen shot shows.


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anonymous's picture


anonymous's picture

Great stuff, thanks!

anonymous's picture

Nice tips, thanks a lot

anonymous's picture

Thanks for this. Appreciate it

anonymous's picture

Adam I love windows server 2008 on my laptop, but i really misses 'offline files', any suggestions of how to enable it. I found the 'offline files' services but when i try to enable it i get an error...

Please help, hate to go back to Vista, curse of this little problem.

anonymous's picture

Tnx alot ;)

anonymous's picture

Awesome - just what I was after thanQ


anonymous's picture

I'm loving it - Great post thanks Doug...

anonymous's picture


anonymous's picture

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, YOU ROCK I needed something better than the desktop version


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