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Windows 7 Look and Feel in Windows Server 2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services/XenApp


The default Windows Server 2008 R2 desktop environment differs from the Windows 7 look and feel with a more basic desktop. To enhance the user experience without over utilising Aero features that would compromise bandwidth utilisation the following Custom Visual Effects can be enabled:

- Smooth edges of screen fonts
- Use visual styles on windows and buttons

This will replace the square Start button with the Orb used in Windows 7.


Install the Desktop Experience feature:
servermanagercmd.exe -install Desktop-Experience

Restart the server

Set the Themes service to Automatic and start the service:
sc config Themes start= auto
sc start Themes

Add the following registry entries to the user profile:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]



[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Appearance]


As per CTX124407 the following registry entries may also be required for seamless applications:
(courtesy Jeremy Saunders)


"Personalize" option is missing when we right-click desktop on a Windows server 2008 R2


Optimizing Windows 7 for FlexCast Delivery

Windows Themes Not Applied Using Seamless Mode


Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 RTM
Citrix XenApp 6.0

Created: 1st August 2010
Updated: 13th August 2010

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